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Tired? How Chronic Sleep Issues Affect The Brain

No matter how many hours you’ve been in bed, you find yourself continuing to hit that snooze button to get a few more winks in before you have to start your day. You drink multiple cups of coffee just to get by, and you dream of your bed at 2pm. You toss and turn all night. You have trouble falling asleep. You have trouble staying asleep. You’re an insomniac.

If any of these issues describe you, you may have chronic sleep issues. Chronic sleep issues seep into your daily life, causing fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, issues with weight, and has now been linked to a decline in cognitive function.


A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that lack of sleep increases amyloid beta, a protein linked to Alzheimer’s. Researchers posit that when levels of this protein are frequently high, they may collect into plaques in the brain. The brains of Alzheimer’s patients are dotted with these plaques, which likely impair with adjacent neuron function, causing long term damage.

The amyloid beta protein is a byproduct of normal brain activity, and is eliminated throughout the day. At night, the brain produces much less of the protein, reducing the chance for build up. Without proper rest, the brain continues to produce the protein at a rate that accumulates over time.

Researchers point out that the occasional all nighter isn’t something to worry about. The concern is the long term sleep disturbances and sleep issues that are keeping you from getting enough sleep regularly. They also point out that further studies are needed to determine if eradicating sleep problems reduces risk of Alzheimer’s.

However, if you find that you’re not getting adequate rest, we can help. Our doctors can work with you to identify the reason for your sleep issues, and help you get better sleep. Your brain needs it! Call us at 604-575-7275 or contact us to book a consultation.

Read the study here.