Lack of deep sleep could lead to Alzheimer’s disease

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Many studies over the years have proven that lack of sleep causes depression, anxiety, weight gain, and diabetes, among other issues.

Now, scientists are learning more about the link between poor sleep and Alzheimer's disease.

NPR reports that the brain appears to flush out toxins during sleep, so if you're not getting much shut-eye, those toxins can build up and damage the brain.

Scientist Jeffrey Iliff with Oregon Health & Science University says during deep sleep, cerebrospinal fluid, which is usually on the outside of the brain, begins to recirculate back into the brain, which helps get rid of a buildup of toxic beta-amyloid proteins.

Those proteins are believed to trigger Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists from UC Berkeley, meanwhile, recently discovered that those same proteins also cause poor sleep, which creates a vicious cycle of lack of sleep and increased toxins in the brain.

Iliff and his team are now conducting a new, very tricky study, hoping to get a better picture of the human brain as it detoxifies itself during deep sleep.

Participants will have to be able to fall sleep in the cramped tunnel of a loud magnetic resonance imaging machine.

In another study, according to, scientists at the University of Toronto found that deep sleep seemed to blunt the effects of APOE-E4, a gene that triggers Alzheimer's.

It's important to note that just because you don't sleep well doesn't mean that you will automatically join the 40 million people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, but multiple studies show, regular deep sleep can improve memory.

If you can't sleep, California Magazine reports that a sleeping pill is not the answer to deep sleep and could actually make memory problems worse.

Instead, experts say the best way to get deep sleep is regular exercise.

For more ideas on how to fall asleep naturally, check out this article at

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