When you continually wake up throughout the night, you can almost be sure that you will feel tired and unproductive the next day. But could trouble sleeping also make you more susceptible to dementia later in life? A new study suggests just that.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that disrupted sleep appears to be associated with the build up of amyloid plaques, the proteins that experts call a "hallmark" of Alzheimer's disease. Trouble sleeping seems to cause these plaques to build up in people who do not have any memory problems.
"The association between disrupted sleep and amyloid plaques is intriguing, but the information from this study can't determine a cause-effect relationship or the direction of this relationship," said study author Dr. Yo-El Ju.
Although researchers cannot claim a causal relationship, they noted that people who woke up more than five times per hour were more likely to have amyloid plaque build up than those who didn't wake up as much throughout the night. People who spent less than 85 percent of their time in bed sleeping were more likely to have Alzheimer's markers than those who spent that much time in bed sleeping.