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These days, I don’t sleep nearly as well as I used to. And I certainly can’t shrug off the effects of a restless night as easily as I once did. But aside from being annoying, I’m often left worrying after hours of tossing and turning – could my disturbed sleep be a sign of something more sinister? Perhaps it is an unfortunate consequences of ageing.
Or, as the latest scientific findings suggest, it may in fact be a sign that my brain is not as healthy as it could be. It is well known that those with neurological, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s sleep badly.
Lifetime - Insomniacs - Brain - Damage
It has long been believed that lifetime insomniacs are much more likely to suffer irreversible brain damage.
Some studies estimate that the lifetime risk of dementia rockets by a third among those who suffer with poor sleep on a long-term basis.
Pills - Decline - Life
We also know that those who pop sleeping pills regularly are more likely to suffer cognitive decline in later life.
There’s no doubt that poor sleep and Alzheimer’s go hand in hand. But so far, science has failed to reveal the cause of this relationship.
Build-up - Nights - Brain - Risk - Alzheimer
What comes first? Does a build-up of sleepless nights cause the brain to rot? Or are those at high risk of Alzheimer’s more likely to struggle with sleep?
Now, a pioneering British study aims to find out. The Mail on Sunday has been granted exclusive access inside a cutting-edge sleep laboratory at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Weeks - Scientists - Participants - Mail - Sunday
Over the next six weeks, scientists will host 40 participants (well, 41, counting Mail on Sunday Deputy Health Editor Eve Simmons, who was also brave enough to volunteer her brain for the experiment).
After being genetically tested to determine their risk of Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – they will be divided into two groups.
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