Taking A Sleeping Pill Every Night Could Slash Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s
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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.

The medication used in the study is also not yet approved for use in the UK.
The researchers from the university said: “These results are very encouraging. This drug is already available and proven safe, and now we have evidence that it affects the levels of proteins that are critical for driving Alzheimer’s disease.”
“We’re not quite there yet – at this point, the best advice I can give is to get a good night’s sleep if you can and, if you can’t, to see a sleep specialist and get your sleep problems treated,” the study’s senior author, Dr Brendan Lucey added.
“I am hopeful that we will eventually develop drugs that take advantage of the link between sleep and Alzheimer’s to prevent cognitive decline.”

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