Sleep Disturbances and Dementia

A Good Night’s Sleep is Good for the Brain

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

Sleep Disturbances

One of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s dementia is sleep disturbances. However, research suggests that these sleep disturbances may have been there for a long time before the patient showed dementia symptoms.

Sleep Apnea

Several recent studies show that many people with Alzheimer’s suffer from sleep apnea and this recurring phenomena, whereby they stop breathing every night (choking spells), which temporarily cuts off blood supply with oxygen to the brain, actually may lead to brain damage and the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) Issued a Health Advisory Warning

Based on these studies, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) issued a health advisory warning on June 3, 2018, stressing that poor or insufficient sleep may lead to Alzheimer’s dementia. In fact, the AASM states that if early intervention is taken to correct sleep disorders like apnea, then it is quite possible that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be delayed or prevented.

Lack of Sleep Leads to Buildup in Brain of Beta Amyloid Plaque

Other studies show that years of sleep deprivation and poor sleep patterns lead to an accumulation of beta amyloid proteins that form plaques in the brain. The theory is a good night’s sleep may wash out the beta amyloid proteins from stocking up in the brain.

Sleep Deprivation and Disturbances may be the cause of Alzheimer’s Dementia

Research suggests that sleep deprivation and disturbances may be what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Ronald Chervin, AASM past president, says that anyone who cares about the health of their brain should make sure they are getting a proper good night’s sleep. Also, those who are suffering sleep disturbances should go to their doctor or get an appointment to go to a sleep lab.

Doctors Should Check Patient’s Sleep Habits

The current president of the AASM, Dr. Ilene Rosen, says that doctors should inquire more about their patient’s sleep habits and if they sleep excessively during the day, have heavy snoring or sleep that does not leave them feeling refreshed, then they should be sent for testing at a sleep center.

National institutes of Health (NIH) Recommendations

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) held the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2018: Path to Treatment and Prevention and based on what was shared at this conference published recommendations including more research to understand the links regarding sleep/circadian disruptions and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and to find new ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Royal suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township NJ

Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township NJ has a very special impaired memory care unit which you can read more about in our blog from May 29, 2018.


If you or your loved one suffer from any kind of sleep disturbances you should go to a proper accredited sleep lab to be tested and if a problem is found, then you can begin intervention that will help you get a better night’s sleep and also may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. Even if your loved one already has been diagnosed with dementia you should do this.


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