Can sleeping on the back lead to Alzheimer’s?

An investigation says so.

The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease recently published a study that looked at two groups of people:

people with neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s) and people without. What the study showed is that people who slept more than 2 hours a night on their backs, face up, were more likely to fall into the Alzheimer’s group. In this study, everything was taken into account. Think about things like age, gender and even whether people had sleep apnea.

Although this is not proof that sleeping on your back can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, it does confirm a recent study among animals with similar results. You may remember that I have written before about the combination of sleep and Alzheimer’s and the role that sleep plays in this difficult disease. During phases 3 and 4 of sleep we see that the brain is rid of APOE, a protein that accumulates in the brain and keeps neurons in a hold.

I wouldn’t run to the store right now to buy a new pillow, but if you, or someone around you, is showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, it’s important to look at the sleeping pattern.

Are the connections in the brain slower when you’re a night owl, like me? New research says: YES

In a recently published study in the journal SLEEP, researchers looked at the brain function of humans in resting mode and linked it to the cognitive capabilities of night owls and early birds. This was what came out of the study:

Volunteers who described themselves as early birds were the least sleepy and had the fastest response rate in early morning testing and scored significantly better than the night owls. Night owls, on the other hand, were less sleepy and scored a higher response rate at 8 p.m. Although not much better than the early birds, it does show that night owls perform less in the morning.

Interestingly, the brain connections in the areas that can predict better performance and less sleep in the early birds were significantly higher at all times. Something that may indicate that the resting brain connection of night owls is weaker all day long.

This is certainly not the best news I read that day, but it does show how your habits play a major role in how you perform on a daily basis.

Is it possible to stand in a room with frozen nitrogen can lead to better sleep? The answer: maybe!

You may have seen some of these newfangled health treatments. One of my personal favorites is Cryotherapy. Here you step into a room (more like an upright tube) and only wear socks. Then the room fills with super cold nitrogen for the next 3 minutes.

This causes your body to get very cold very quickly!

We all know that ice prevents swelling, but does this “freezer” help you get a better night’s sleep? We’ll know soon.

A brief history of Cryotherapy, as read in Sleep Review:

Cryotherapy was developed by Dr. Toshiro Yamauchi in Japan in the 1970s to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Cryotherapy is used to relieve inflammation, arthritic pain and fibromyalgia related pain.

According to the summary to be published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Issue 51:5, only a single patient – someone who had previously reported sleeping disorders – experienced improvements in her sleep pattern. The other two patients who had not reported any sleep, pain or anxiety disorders saw no changes in their health.

Unfortunately, the scope of the test was too small to draw far-reaching conclusions. The researchers are, however, in the process of gathering a larger research group in order to find a possible solution for people with sleep disorders.

What do we do with all this information? My suggestions:

  1. Do not lie on your back when you are sleeping.
  2. If you are a night owl, as I am myself, you don’t have to change your life pattern. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
  3. Keep it cool, take a look at Cryotherapy and get some rest!