A study at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital is investigating how sleep affects the brain, according to a Global News report.
Dr Andrew Lim says his research has already linked lack of sleep, or sleep fragmentation, such as waking up in the middle of the night, to stroke and cognitive decline in older patients.
“What we found was those with the most fragmented sleep also had the smallest volumes in the frontal lobes, which is an area of the brain that’s important for higher thought. Waking up a lot at night seems to be associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease over time.”
For the next two decades, Lim will try to quantify that link in one of the biggest sleep studies ever undertaken.
”What we’re doing, is we’re asking for up to 4,000 volunteers in Ontario to take devices home to measure their sleep in their own homes. And then take a look at damage to – to the brain, and then to long-term cognitive outcomes.”