First of all, you must be asking yourself what the heck are beta-amyloid proteins and why should you care. Well, researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine reported that beta-amyloid proteins destroys synapses before they clump into plaques that, in turn, lead to death of neurons. As a result, they are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
Most of all, Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by wholesale loss of neurons and synapses. As a result, there is significant deterioration in brain functions such as, for example, the ability to remember. Especially relevant, synapses are the connections between neurons and they are important to storing memories, processing thoughts, emotions, planning, and ordering how we move our bodies.
Above all, beta-amyloid protein is a molecule that collects between neurons. And, it tends to bunch up into small clusters to form plaques that collect between neurons. As a result they disrupt cell function.
Moreover, studies suggest that sleep helps clear beta-amyloid out of the brain. And a lack of sleep increases beta-amyloid levels in the brain. In fact, studies have demonstrated that after a night of sleep deprivation (in this case, 31 hours without sleep), beta amyloid levels, in the brain, increased by 5%. And, these increases occurred in brain regions such as the thalamus and hippocampus. Furthermore, these regions are especially vulnerable to damage in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Especially relevant, scientist at University of Rochester demonstrated that cerebrospinal fluid moves through the brain along channels that surround blood vessels. Furthermore, this system helps remove beta-amyloid proteins from brain tissue. Most of all, much of this removal happens during sleep.
Above all, this flushing of brain toxins, takes place in all five sleep cycles over the 8 hour period. As a result, if you are unable to get that amount of sleep, you end up with an excess of beta-amyloid plaques still in your brain. Unfortunately, the effect of sleep losses are cumulative and the beta-amyloid plaques build up in your brain. As a result, many years of frequent sleep deprivation likely results in the onset of Alzheimer’s as you get older.
Moreover, not getting adequate sleep has other bad outcomes. And the infographic below enumerates these outcomes.
So the bottom line is that it’s really important to get your 8 hours of sleep every night.