Taking a sleeping pill every night before bed can slash the levels of Alzheimer’s linked proteins in the brain, new research has found.
Scientists at Washington University, Missouri conducted a small study using a drug used to treat insomnia on 38 people to see whether the nightly medication could reduce their levels of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The study found that those who took the the highest dose of the medication –suvorexant, a prescription medication sold under the brand name Belsomra – had amyloid levels that were up to a fifth lower than other participants the next day.
In the study, scientists used 38 participants aged 45 to 65 with no cognitive impairments.
The 38 were then split into three equal groups and took either a high dose of the drug (20mg), a low dose (10mg) or a placebo medication.
Each participant was given their pill at 9pm and then allowed to fall asleep at a specialist lab in St Louis, Missouri.
Participants then had their spinal fluid sampled and tested every two hours for 36 hours to check levels of amyloid and tau proteins.
The first dose lowered levels of both amyloid and tau in the high-dose group.
Poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, however scientists are not urging people to start popping a nightly insomnia tablet every night as further research is required.