More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimers disease according to the Alzheimers association.
Now, recent research is linking sleep problems with the brain disease that robs folks of their memory and thinking abilities.
The basic finding is that the more disturbance of sleep that people reported, the more likely that they were going to have pathology in their spinal fluid thats related to Alzheimers disease, said Stephen Rao, PhD of Cleveland Clinic, who did not participate in the study.
Researchers surveyed 101 people at high risk of developing Alzheimers disease who had normal thinking and memory abilities.
Participants were asked about their sleep quality and also provided a spinal fluid sample.
Results show that people who reported having sleep problems had more biological markers for Alzheimers disease in their spinal fluid than folks who did not report sleep problems.
Dr. Rao noted that while the study shows a link between sleep and Alzheimers its a bit of a chicken and egg scenario, in that doctors arent sure what comes first the Alzheimers or the sleep problems.
He said more research needs to be done to be sure.
We dont know what the chicken or egg cause is here, it may very well be that sleeping longer will help us to prevent us from developing or slow down the process of Alzheimers disease but we certainly dont have the definitive answer as yet, said Dr. Rao.