Can A Lack Of Enough Proper Sleep Cause Dementia?

By Natalie Taylor-Hayes | Monday Monday Staff -    2018-03-02

When we toss and turn all night, we get up with brain fog. If we forget a few details that day, we chalk it up to grogginess. Can lack of sleep actually cause dementia?

sleeplessness cause dementia

What did you do yesterday? If you give a can an accurate accounting of your activities from sun up to sun down, it may be because you slept well last night. 

During sleep, our brains transfer short-term memories into ones stored for longterm recall. 

Thus, some studies suggest if we rest well in the night, we’ll more easily remember what we did that day. But if we toss and turn, we may forget those sweet moments spent with the grandkids.

Other studies claim that we forget merely from lack of focus caused by sleeplessness. If this is the case, the memories were stored but we were too groggy to bring them up. We may remember later, once we’ve had a nap or slept through the night.

The American Academy of Neurology says those who get less REM, or dream-sleeping, may be at risk for dementia later in life.

Dream sleep is when our eyes move, our bodies become warmer and our heart rate quickens. Our brains can often be deprived of this critical stage of sleep.

As medical science continues to study the correlation between memory loss and the amount of sleep we obtain, we can take measures to improve both.

Jot it Down Before Lying Down

sleeplessness cause dementia

Try keeping a simple journal. Jot down a few sentences that will trigger your recall in the morning. If you spent the day at the zoo with your grandkids, commit a few of those memories to paper. 

If you learned some important information that day, put it into a quick outline.

Then go about your normal bedtime routine. Sleep in a dark, quiet and cool atmosphere free of TV and computer screens. 

In the morning, check your entries from the night before. Can you add more detail to each event or conversation? If so, maybe it was due to adequate dream-sleep. 

Memory loss and dementia are something we don’t have to take lying down if we get a good night’s sleep in the first place. 

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