Get More Sleep!

Posted December 13, 2018

Sleep is an important aspect of brain health: during sleep, the brain activates cleaning and removes debris. Since 2008, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has been providing grants to researchers who have investigated the impact of sleep to the brain and Alzheimer’s disease. For example, Dr. David Holtzman of Washington University in St. Louis discovered that sleep-deprived mice had increased levels of tau, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. And Erik Musiek is studying the proteins and genes that regulate the body’s circadian clock and its impact on Alzheimer’s disease, while Geraldine Kress is studying the disruptions in the circadian system that occurs prior to the clinical onset of memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease.

One of Dr. Holtzman’s science papers on the subject of sleep is available here

Another sleep project supported by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund comes from the lab of Dr. Erik Musiek at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. Dr. Musiek is studying how modulation of the circadian clock regulates neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour oscillations in biological function. Disturbances in circadian rhythms are a well-described symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Musiek hopes to uncover the proteins and genes regulating circadian clock function that contribute to Alzheimer’s related neurodegeneration.

Read more: The Circadian Clock Modulates Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease via Rev-Erba (Year 1)

Geraldine Kress of Washington University in St. Louis received a foundational grant from Cure Alzheimer’s Fund this year to study how the central clock influences the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Kress’ laboratory is interested in the disruptions in the circadian system that occur prior to the clinical onset of memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more: Central Clock Influence on Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis

Matthew Walker, PhD, is a neuroscientist at Berkeley who studies sleep and has written a book titled Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams and offers key insights into how sleep is the most powerful tool we have for promoting health and well being. This is not work funded by our organization but it does provide important insights worth reading. Some of Dr. Walker’s suggestions:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Keep your bedroom temperature cool at about 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal cooling of your body
  • An hour before bedtime, dim the lights and turn off all the screens.
  • If you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing until sleepiness returns.
  • Avoid caffeine after 1:00 pm and proceed cautiously with alcohol, which is a sedative and can block important REM sleep.