Does poor sleep cause dementia?

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It makes sense that after a night of poor sleep, we might not be thinking as clearly the following day. But what about engaging in poor sleep habits throughout our lifetime? Could that put us at risk for long-term cognitive impairments, such as dementia?

Even in people who don’t seem to be cognitively impaired, poor sleep seems to correlate with subtle changes in the same brain proteins that are used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The question is why.

Possible explanations

There are several explanations, which are not mutually exclusive and could all be true:

  • Sleep is biologically important for reducing or clearing harmful neurodegenerative proteins from our brains. Exciting new studies in mice have suggested that sleep may clean the brain of amyloid beta, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

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Sleep apnea: Do you have it?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which your breathing is repeatedly obstructed or restricted fully or partially for periods of 10 seconds or longer while you sleep. Although millions of people have sleep apnea, most don’t know it because the symptoms happen while they’re sleeping.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the brain sends the signal to the muscles and the muscles make an effort to take a breath, but they are unsuccessful because the airway is blocked and prevents a good flow of air.

Sometimes the bed partner or a family member of a person with sleep apnea will tell them that they snore. While snoring is a good indicator of obstructive sleep apnea, there are other symptoms they should also be aware of.
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7 Tips For Proper Use of Your CPAP Machine

CPAP machineMore than 28 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is usually treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. That means there are a lot of CPAP machines out there. As with any machine, there can be problems. Here are a few tips to make sure that you and your CPAP machine get along well.

  1. Leaking mask

If the CPAP mask begins to leak during the night, pull the mask gently forward to allow the mask cushion to reset, and then allow the mask to settle on your face.

  1. Dry, stuffy nose

If you are experiencing a stuffy nose:

  • Increase the heat setting on your CPAP heated humidifier.
  • Use saline nasal spray or mist before going to bed to help moisten nasal passages.
  • Contact your physician if nasal dryness or stuffiness persists.

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