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New research has found that a lack of sleep could be a factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Getting enough shut-eye is important for lots of areas of your health and a lack of it has been linked to diabetes, depression, heart disease.

However, now researchers from Oregon Health and Science University believe not getting enough sleep could also increase the risk of developing dementia.

Sleep is necessary because it’s the time that the brain processes and clears out toxins that can trigger Alzheimer’s. If these toxins build up, studies on animals have shown that they can build up and lead to damage in the brain.

Previously, it was thought that the link between dementia and sleep was that the build-up of proteins in the brain then affected areas that would lead to poor sleep patterns.

However, researchers now believe the relationship is more complicated than this and it takes the form of a vicious circle, whereby a lack of sleep leads to a build-up of memory-robbing toxins, but the damage it causes can then also lead to disturbed sleep habits in people with dementia.

Previous scientific research has shown that deep sleep can ‘power cleanse’ proteins from the brain, and it’s thought the use of sleep therapies could help delay the onset of the disease, as well as slow its progression in those who already have it.

For more information on the link between sleep and memory, click here.