Alzheimer’s Disease- can you sleep (or meditate) away your risk?

Alzheimer’s dementia (AD) will affect you whether you or a loved one will be diagnosed  with the disease or whether you will be a caregiver. It is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and affects more than 5 million people. We have no cure. Medications currently slow the progression of the disease, but do not stop it or reverse it. For those of you, like me, who have a family member affected with the disease you understand the grief of slowly watching the vibrant human being that you have always known and loved gradually not only forget you, but forget how to perform mundane activities of daily living, such as  dressing, walking, or eating. They are a constant reminder that now, you too, probably have an increased chance of suffering the same fate.

Do not despair! There are many steps that you can take to decrease the likelihood that you will suffer from AD. Sleep and meditation are two important steps.

AD results from a buildup of the protein amyloid-beta in the synapses of CNS neurons. We make amyloid-beta daily, and our brain’s homeostatic “housekeeping” mechanism washes out the amyloid-beta out of the synapses with a healthy flood of CSF during deep sleep.  In addition, meditation has also been shown to produce a similar effect.

You can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. Prioritize sleep and add meditation to your daily regimen. You may not be able to change the genetic cards you have been dealt, but you can affect your physiology… and your future.