Staying up late at night could make your health go for a toss! No, we are not just referring to a messed up sleep and body cycle. Losing just one night’s sleep could also lead to development of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are sleep deprived, the signs would definitely show up on your body.
The study, published in the journal Neurology, found that when young, healthy men were deprived of just one night of sleep, they had higher levels of tau in their blood than when they had a full, uninterrupted night of rest.
Tau is a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease. This protein is found in neurons that can form into tangles. It gets accumulated in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It can start to develop in the brain decades before symptoms of the disease appear.
“Our exploratory study shows that even in young, healthy individuals, missing one night of sleep increases the level of tau in blood suggesting that over time, such sleep deprivation could possibly have detrimental effects,” said study author Jonathan Cedernaes, from Uppsala University in Sweden.
The study had two phases and included 15 healthy, normal-weight men with an average age of 22. They all reported regularly getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep per night.
For each phase, the men were observed under a strict meal and activity schedule in a sleep clinic for two days and nights.
Other than this, blood samples were taken in the evening and again in the morning.
For one phase, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep on both nights. Whereas, for the other, participants were allowed to get a good night of sleep the first night followed by a second night of sleep deprivation.
As per the findings of the study, men had an average 17% increase in tau levels in their blood after a night of sleep deprivation compared to an average 2% increase in tau levels after a good night of sleep.
“It’s important to note that while higher levels of tau in the brain are not good, in the context of sleep loss we do not know what higher levels of tau in blood represent,” said Cedernaes.
The researchers reveal that when neurons are active, production of tau in the brain is increased.