A good night’s sleep is something that we all value, and need. The importance of sleep to our health cannot be underestimated. Not only does it recharge our batteries, but it also has the function of providing information on our overall state of health. Researchers have found that our sleep can help identify those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and potentially slow its onset. Furthermore, the research shows that snoring devices could also prove very effective.
Sleep is one of the most important elements of our lives. By having a good night’s sleep, we tend to see a boost in our mood, increased energy, and strong productivity.
Moreover, sleep has the effect of regulating the health of the brain by removing waste material and toxins that build-up over a period of time.
But sleep can actually be a luxury for some people. For instance, snoring and sleep apnea are examples of sleep disturbances, which can have health consequences. Therefore, researchers often study sleeping patterns in an effort to learn more about the effect sleep has on health.
A team of researchers from the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas and Texas A&M University worked in tandem to complete a study. The study focused on the relationship between a person’s breathing rate during sleep and resulting cognitive function . Moreover, it also looked at the impact of snoring, and a snoring device.
The researchers were interested in the impact sleep had on cognitive function. When cognitive function declines, a person may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, which is a severe form of dementia. Statistics show that 1 in 14 people over 65, and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80, have Alzheimer’s Disease . The vast majority will exhibit some cognitive decline.
Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, there are several issues that can develop. For instance, stress, mental health conditions, obesity, diabetes and a shorter life expectancy .
Snoring is an area that the researchers also took into account. Snoring is very common. Statistics show that up to 57% of adult men regularly snore, while up to 40% of women regularly snore . While snoring is rarely anything to worry about, it can be a sign of underlying problems.
The research undertaken was published in the journal Geriatrics . The study involved 18 individuals aged 55-85 that had a history of snoring. Roughly a third of them were considered to have a mild impairment in cognition. Another third had Alzheimer’s Disease .
The researchers tracked the sleep of the 18 participants . The participants slept at home as normal, albeit with portable recorders collecting data on their breathing rate, snoring and heart rate. This data would then allow the researchers to see the impact breathing rate has on snoring, heart rate and cognition .
As an adjunct to the study, specialist clinicians from the University of Texas’ BrainHealth Center assessed the memory, attention and cognition of the participants . Once completed, these areas were all pulled together to draw conclusions.
The researchers found that the breathing rate of each participant was an important tool to interpret the results. The maximum breathing rate during uninterrupted periods of sleep acted as a means of separating healthy individuals from those with impaired cognition .
These results suggest that breathing rate is crucial, and is worth analyzing throughout adulthood. The researchers noted that the results provided three groups. These were those considered “healthy”, those considered mildly cognitively impaired, and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Texas A&M University Professor Emet Schneiderman, commented . He said “we saw three distinct patterns amongst the groups of people, meaning we can look for a breathing pattern that might predispose individuals to having dementia” .
myTAP Oral Appliance
The researchers also analyzed the myTAP oral appliance. This is a device that is placed in the mouth at night . The intention is to prevent snoring.
For four weeks, the study participants wore the device. They found that snoring decreased . This had an impact to the extent where there was no difference in the cognitive function of those previously deemed as “healthy”, and those with mild cognitive impairment . This is very promising for those who suffer from mild cognitive impairment.
The researchers stated that this finding could “make significant changes” for those with mild cognitive impairment, as it could potentially “slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease” . As this is a condition that affects so many people, it is very promising.
For those that wish to avoid medicines, a snoring device like the myTAP appliance could be an excellent option. Sleep medications are not only addictive, but they send mixed signals to the brain, which results in poor quality sleep .
This research certainly does not suggest that Alzheimer’s disease can be cured or reversed. However, it does seem to suggest its onset can be slowed. Therefore, the snoring device could prove to be excellent for those that are cognitively impaired.
Researcher Namrata Das commented . Das said that this snore device “could help individuals sleep better, reducing mental health symptoms caused by poor sleep before they get serious decline in neurocognitive symptoms” . Overall, there are a range of benefits.
1) This is an example of a dental device which could make many improvements to the quality of life to many people. Looking at your oral hygiene routine, what devices do you think could help you?
2) Oral health continues to be linked to physical health. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure you attend regular check-ups!
What we offer at Taradale Dental
It is important for dental problems to be addressed early. Any oral-based problems will be identified at check-ups. This helps to prevent the problem getting worse. If and when further treatment is needed after a check-up, our patients receive a clear treatment plan.
The best way of avoiding extra treatment is to have strong oral hygiene. This includes brushing our teeth at least twice a day, flossing regularly, and getting a dental check-up at least twice a year. Avoiding sugary foods and drink and not smoking also helps.
 Schramm, P., Das, N., Schneiderman, E., German, Z., Hui, J., Wilson, D., Spence, J. S., Moura, P., & Chapman, S. B. (2021). Snoring Remediation with Oral Appliance Therapy Potentially Reverses Cognitive Impairment: An Intervention Controlled Pilot Study. Geriatrics. 6 (4): p107-116.
 NHS Choices. (2021). Alzheimer’s Disease. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/alzheimers-disease/. Last accessed: 4th December 2021.
 NHS Choices. (2021). Why lack of sleep is bad for your health. Available: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sleep-and-tiredness/why-lack-of-sleep-is-bad-for-your-health/. Last accessed: 4th December 2021.
 Pacheco, D., & Rehman, D. (2020). Is Snoring Harmless?. Available: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/is-snoring-harmless. Last accessed: 4th December 2021.
 Center for BrainHealth. (2021). Dental device for snoring may slow onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Available: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-12-dental-device-onset-alzheimer-disease.html. Last accessed: 4th December 2021.