Turns out, sleep is actually that ‘it’ factor in aging gracefully. Never mind what Big Pharma is going to try to sell you, just check out a few natural sleep remedies to prevent cancer. It’s never too late to start.
Twenty six healthy men and women in their 60s, 70s and early 80s were given brain scans to measure the amount of beta amyloid in their brains.
They were then asked to memorise 120 pairs of words and tested on them after eight hours’ sleep.
Brain scans showed that those with the most amyloid in their brain had the poorest quality sleep, defined by lack of the non-REM sleep – the deep dreamless slumber needed for memory storage.
These men and women also did worst on the memory test, the journal Nature Neuroscience reports.
With previous research showing deep sleep to ‘power cleanse’ beta-amyloid from the brain, the researchers believe lack of sleep to be a key part of a vicious circle in which memory gets worse and worse.
University of California, Berkley researcher Matthew Walker said: ‘The more beta-amyloid you have in certain parts of your brain, the less deep sleep you get and, consequently, the worse your memory.
‘Additionally, the less deep sleep you have, the less effective you are at clearing out this bad protein. It’s a vicious cycle.’
Bryce Mander, the study’s lead author said: ‘The data we’ve collected are very suggestive that there’s a causal link.
‘If we intervene to improve sleep, perhaps we can break that causal chain.
‘There’s a new pathway linking Alzheimer’s disease to memory loss and it’s an important one because we can do something about it.’
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