Can’t remember a thing? Your sleep is to blame
The terrifying link between your lack of sleep and memory loss.
Can’t remember the simplest of details – where you put your keys, wallet, phone? Not sleeping well? There’s a clinical link – as highlighted by classically sleep deprived new parents.
Statistically, they sleep for 4.5 hours, and 59% less than the recommended 8 hours in the first 12 months of having their newborn. The consequences? 44% have ‘completely forgot what they were saying’ mid-sentence; and 8% even forgot the name of their own baby’.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
If your sleeping issues become chronic, the memory loss may be so severe that you exhibit signs of alzheimer’s disease (AD): a 40 year longitudinal study found that those with disturbed sleep had a 51% greater likelihood of developing AD.
Another study found individuals with fragmented sleep were 1.5 times more likely to develop AD. However, the pattern is cyclical: evidence shows 40% of those with AD also report insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Whether it’s causative or a consequential factor, the conditions are inextricably linked.
One of the main reasons this happens – both for chronic and acute memory impairment? Accumulation of beta amyloid (aB), a neurotoxin to cause memory loss. Slow wave sleep is required for it’s detoxification.
On the other hand, insufficient slow wave sleep can lead to it’s accumulation: studies show just one night of inadequate sleep increases aB levels by 5% – let alone weeks, months or even years of sleep loss.
As you can see, this is a vicious cycle – thus the aggressive pathogenesis of the AD, memory loss and impaired sleep alike.
If you’re scared, don’t be – just adopt my signature bedtime routine so you are sleeping better, and avoiding memory loss, from tonight.