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Restless Sleep Could Result in Dementia, Alzheimer's

People who experience fragmented sleep may have a higher risk of developing dementia, a recent study showed.

Researchers from Stanford University published a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal documenting their study on sleep continuity and its effects on the brain.

“Sleep continuity is one of the main factors affected in various pathological conditions that impact memory including Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive deficits,” Dr. Luis de Lecea, lead researcher of the study said, according to the Times of India.

Many claimed that deep sleep was needed for the retention of memories by the brain.

Analyzing their hypothesis on lab rodents, the team found that disrupting the sleep of the animals made it difficult for them to recognize familiar objects whereas in contrast, uninterrupted sleep led to better memory.

Those addicted to alcohol were purportedly more susceptible to have fragmented sleep as well, along with those who had sleep apnoea, a common disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing – although both claims were not proven yet.

British Sleep Society Former Chairman Dr. Neil Stanley commented that he was not sure if sleep affects the degeneration of the brain or the degeneration of the brain affects sleep, according to News Tonight.

“Regardless of the total amount of sleep or sleep intensity, a minimal unit of uninterrupted sleep is crucial for memory consolidation,” the study concluded.

In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, Dr. Michael J. Breus suggests on WebMD: cutting back on caffeine; avoiding alcohol, which may cause disturbances in sleep; relaxing before bedtime; regular exercise; avoiding heavy meals before bedtime; restricting nicotine; and avoiding napping and watching TV in bed.

What do you do to ensure a better sleep? Share your comments below.

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