Not all sleep is equal.
And this research could be vital to helping people with age related mental decline.
Research shows that deep non REM sleep activates brain activity that cleans the brain of proteins and toxins responsible for Alzheimer’s and mental decline.
Lighter and shorter sleep times can be a common problem with people as they get older.
And sleep deprivation is becoming increasingly evident as being a predictor of age related mental illness such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
This latest research suggests why…
The brain has a previously unknown system (called the Glymphatic system) that uses cerebral spinal fluid as a cleaning agent and this system works primarily during deep sleep.
Without this deep slow wave brain activity (low delta/epsilon range), potentially harmful proteins and toxins build up in the brain.
Certain anaesthesia medication have also been shown to restrict this deep slow wave sleep and therefore could be a cause in itself of a loss in cognitive ability.
The current understanding is that this interference of the Glymphatic system may in fact be a cause of the progression of Alzheimer’s and that manipulating sleep to include more deep slow wave non REM sleep may halt or even reverse the progression.
Potentially.., increasing the amount of Delta brainwave activity alone may have the same beneficial result as sleep in that range.
Great to see research in this area discovering new links.
And great to find another benefit of slow wave brain activity.