Daytime Drowsiness May Be a Warning Sign of Alzheimer's

Excessive sleepiness during the day may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease according to a new study published by JAMA Neurology.  In the study, 283 seniors without dementia had their sleep patterns tracked and had their brains scanned for beta amyloid deposits over the course of seven years. Beta amyloid is a sticky protein that originates in the fatty membrane surrounding nerve cells and clump together to form plaques. An accumulation of plaques can block synaptic signaling and trigger inflammation that devours brain cells. 

The study authors found that 22 percent of the study subjects encountered issues with daytime sleepiness and this cohort showed increasing levels of amyloid in their brains. The amyloid buildup in their brains progressed more quickly and the areas of the brain with the most significant buildup were the anterior cingulate and cingulate precuneus. High levels of amyloid in these two regions of the brain are associated with Alzheimer’s. 

The study was not able to determine if sleep disruptions are responsible for amyloid buildup or the amyloid deposits were responsible for disrupted sleep. What has been established is the connection between a lack of restorative sleep and Alzheimer’s disease. A number of earlier studies have also linked poor sleep or lack of sleep to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease; one reason for this is because your brain’s waste removal system only operates during deep sleep.

This is bad news for the nearly 40 percent of adults who get six hours of sleep or less an evening. This is the same percentage that reported falling asleep unintentionally during the past month. This kind of sleep debt is a recipe for health problems down the road, and an increased risk of dementia is just one potential side effect.

To achieve more restful, rejuvenating sleep, I suggest you read through my full set of 33 healthy sleep guidelines for more details, but there are several easy changes you can implement immediately.  Sleep in as close to complete darkness as possible, and keep your room at a cool and comfortable temperature. I also recommend wearing blue blocker sunglasses while indoors and getting plenty of sunlight exposure in the morning and at noon. Refrain from consuming excessive caffeine and do not use an electronic device within an hour of going to bed. 

An important step toward creating an oasis for sleep is sweeping your room for electromagnetic fields (EMFs) using a gauss meter. These run from $50 to $200. Some experts even recommend pulling the circuit breaker for your entire house before bed to kill all the electrical power. 

These steps may sound extreme, but keep in mind that EMFs can disrupt the pineal gland and the production of melatonin and serotonin, and may have other negative effects as well. A much easier step is to turn off your Wi-Fi, permanently if possible, but definitely at night. Depending on how your house is wired, you can also pull the circuit breaker for your bedroom only. Another common sense strategy is to avoid running electrical cords under your bed.   

I recommend that you avoid sleeping with your head against a wall that contains unshielded electric wiring and/or electric meters, and circuit breaker panels. Pay attention to what is on the other side of the wall. A thin layer of wood and plaster provides little protection from televisions, computers, wireless routers or stereos on the other side. For this reason I suggest that you move your bed 3 feet away from interior walls. You should also consider installing an EMF faraday cage canopy over your bed to shield against microwaves.  All of these steps can minimize electric and magnetic fields. 

If you have your cellular phone in your room it simply MUST be in airplane mode if it is within 30 feet of your bed or you will be blasted with microwave radiation all night long. For better sleep hygiene I use a talking alarm clock for the visually impaired in place of a bright alarm clock. It can be positioned safely outside of visual range and far away from your bed. 

This list of lengthy precautions may seem difficult to implement across the board, but examined individually most of them are practical for almost any setting.  The importance of protecting yourself from the danger of electromagnetic fields cannot be understated. Nonionizing cellphone microwave radiation has been linked to a host of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s and also infertility. Such conditions are skyrocketing in prevalence but can be addressed with proper EMF remediation.
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