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.
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.
Sleep is crucial for our health and well-being, and research shows this. Most adults need 7 to 9 hours every day to function properly, but many people don’t get all they need. In celebration of World Sleep Day, March 18, 2016, the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center is offering a few tips to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Instead of counting sheep, look at how you may be sabotaging your sleep and then strive to change your habits.
The University of Michigan’s multidisciplinary neuroscience team is made up of more than 70 nationally recognized neurologists and neurosurgeons. Leading the way in brain, spine and nervous system care for close to 100 years, patients have access to services that can be found at only a handful of places as well as cutting-edge treatments with the latest research. Neurology and Neurosurgery at the University of Michigan Health System have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report numerous times for excellence in patient care.
Heart attacks occur most often on Monday mornings, but research shows a 25 percent jump in the number of heart attacks occurring the Monday after we spring forward for daylight saving time, compared to other Mondays during the year.
Many of us will stay up late this Sunday night to watch the Super Bowl (It’s projected to end around 10:30 p.m.). Even though we’ll be cheering on the couch past the time we’re normally in our bed, those job, school, and family obligations will still require most of us to wake up early on Monday.
The good news: it’s possible to avoid cheating yourself on sleep while catching the big game.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is an uncomfortable sensation that gives a person the urge to move their legs. This sensation has been described in many ways; sometimes it can feel like a pain, a tingling or a “creepy-crawling” sensation. It is important to know that RLS happens when a person is awake, not asleep, although many people with RLS may move their legs while asleep. And it gets worse or occurs predominantly at night.
About 14% of people in the U.S. have restless leg. Some people feel that it is difficult to explain to their doctor and may not seek treatment. It is, however, a real sleep disorder that has consequences when it interferes with a person’s quality of life.
With RLS, everyday activities such as sitting down to watch TV in the evening or riding in a car or plane can be difficult. Continue reading →
The link between sleep and athletic performance is not anecdotal. Studies show that sleep deprivation can decrease athletic performance, and extending sleep can improve athletic performance.
Sleep and timing
The same system that times sleep and wake (the circadian rhythm) also times peak performance, which can have ramifications for competition times and travel across time zones for competition.
In NFL games after 8 p.m. on the east coast, west coast teams are twice as likely to beat the point spread than east coast teams. This may be due to the fact that during late games, west coast teams (whose body clocks are still set on Pacific Standard Time) are playing closer to the peak time of physical performance.
After long-haul travel (6+ time zones) military personnel and elite athletes demonstrate reduced sprint speed, jump velocity, jump height and strength for up to 4-6 days. This is likely due to jet lag, where there is misalignment between the local time and the internal body clock, which disrupts sleep and physical performance.
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