Deep Sleep Protects Against Alzheimer’s

Dur­ing deep sleep, the brain appears to wash away waste prod­ucts that increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

A host of new research stud­ies sug­gest that this stage of sleep — when dreams are rare and the brain fol­lows a slow, steady beat – can help reduce lev­els of beta-amy­loid and tau, two hall­marks of the disease.

“There is some­thing about this deep sleep that is help­ing pro­tect you,” says Matthew Walk­er, a pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­science and psy­chol­o­gy at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Berkeley.

The research comes after decades of obser­va­tions link­ing poor sleep to long-term prob­lems with mem­o­ry and think­ing, Walk­er says. “We are now learn­ing that there is a sig­nif­i­cant rela­tion­ship between sleep and demen­tia, par­tic­u­lar­ly Alzheimer’s disease.”

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