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Peaceful Sleep: A Potential Weapon Against Dementia

A curse for the aging brain.

Dementia is a collective term that widely includes a decline in the cognitive abilities of a person.

It causes a loss of memory, impairs thinking and decision-making capabilities.

It alters how a person behaves towards a certain situation and grossly affects interpersonal relationships.

Peaceful Sleep: A Potential Weapon Against Dementia

In the advanced stages of the disease, the person often fails to perform his daily tasks without getting aid. This becomes a grave reality to deal with, both for the patient and his immediate caregivers.

Peaceful Sleep: A Potential Weapon Against Dementia

Factor inducing the condition.

Dementia is caused by defects in brain cells. A certain protein deposit around the brain cells hinders its proper functioning. 

This condition is medically termed Alzheimer’s disease. A closer look at it implies that Alzheimer’s disease is the cause of dementia.

Dementia itself is a collective term referring to the symptoms of the cause.

How vulnerable is the elderly population?

Presently, there are 5.8 million dementia patients in the United States. It is estimated that 14 million people will be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in America by 2060. 

This poses a higher threat to the African-American and the Hispanic proportion of the citizenry. Such disparity rises because of the higher prevalence of cardiac diseases and diabetes among the populace.

Also, women are more susceptible to the disease than men owing to their general longer life span.

Early signs provide critical cues.

Dementia is a gradual degenerative condition that creeps in slowly through the years. Oftentimes it’s the insignificant things that hold the cue. Like, forgetting a password or name. Not remembering to pay the bills or losing some important document or keys.

These signs are shrugged aside both by the person and his kindred ones. Such ignorance prevails owing to a lack of awareness and also a sense of disbelief that dementia cannot come in their family.

Hence, it is highly important to notice any anomaly in our close one’s behavior and address it before delays.

A ray of hope amidst the disparity.

There is no preventive medication to curb the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The present medications used by doctors are mainly aimed at managing the symptoms. 

The latest study published in Nature’s Communication journal suggests that sound sleep can be a potential cure to manage brain functions during the progression of the disease.

The study shows, those in the age group of 50 to 60 years, slept less than 6 hours, had an increased chance of developing dementia.

There has been a long-standing contradiction on the role of sleep in the onslaught of dementia. Some studies suggested Alzheimer’s disease alters sleep patterns. Thus, it is accountable for the loss of sleep among the patients. At the same time, the recent study held a contrary view. 

As stated by the Alzheimer’s Association scientific program and outreach director, Claire Sexton, this alteration of sleep pattern and its connection to Alzheimer’s disease has been a point of debate for a long time.

There has been a theory stating prolonged sleeping hours can also promote the initiation of dementia; however, such theories did not have any scientific backup.

Assistant professor Kristen Wilckens, at the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, suggested the need for more extensive studies to deduce the role of sleeping hours in the progression of dementia.

She suggests considering the quality of sleep along with its duration since that also holds a significant impact in framing the cognitive performances of the brain.

Although this study holds its limitations, it doesn’t fail to imply the importance of sleep for healthy living. The American community can take inspiration to steer towards a holistic lifestyle taking inspiration from the study.

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