Studies of mice with plaque buildup in their brains slept poorly, which suggests trouble sleeping may be an early Alzheimer’s warning sign. What’s more, brain pathways involved in the act of daydreaming or introspection in people who have chronic daytime sleepiness are the same pathways affected by Alzheimer’s. So a lack of ability to let your mind wander, or go into “default mode,” may be an early precursor to this memory-stealing disorder.
“We are very interested in exploring these new observations to understand who is at risk and who is protected from Alzheimer’s,” said study author Randy L. Buckner, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at Washington University in St. Louis.
Obviously not everyone with poor sleeping habits is destined to get Alzheimer’s disease, however.