1221. The Sleep-Alzheimer's Connection

When you regularly don’t get enough sleep, you’re increasing your risk of getting Alzheimer’s. That’s what researchers out of Edinburgh, Scotland learned after following 8,000 participants for 25 years. They found that those who sleep less than six hours a night had a 30% increase in Alzheimer's by the time they were 70.

Dr. Martin shares two new studies about the importance of sleep for overall health, and particularly in relation to Alzheimer's and aging. He shares tips on making sure you’re getting between 6 and 8 hours of sleep regularly.



Announcer:  You're listening to The Doctor Is In Podcast, brought to you by MartinClinic.com. During the episode, the doctors share a lot of information. As awesome as the info may be, it is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It's strictly for informational purposes.

Dr. Martin:  Well, good morning everyone. Hope you're having a great start to your day. Nice to be on with you live this morning. Okay guys, let's get going. This morning I want to talk about a new study out on sleep and health. Okay? There's actually two of them, okay? There's actually two of them, but both on sleep. Now, if you haven't got a copy of my book, Sun Steak and Steel and Sleep, you need a copy of that. I talk about these things and these things are being confirmed by research. Research is catching up on the importance of sleep. Okay? Now, in the Journal of Nature, yesterday I quoted this journal. It's a very prestigious journal. I just find it to contain almost every issue, some very pertinent studies that I really, really liked and I think they're practical. Okay?

So this is from the Journal of Nature. Just came out, researchers at the Center for Discovery of Brain Sciences in Edinburgh in the UK. They followed 8,000 people for 25 years. I mean, these are long studies, and they found those people who sleep less than six hours a night, they had a 30% increase in Alzheimer's by the time they were 70. Okay? So let me repeat. They followed 8,000 people for 25 years, and they took out other factors and focused in on sleep in these people, and they found that people that didn't sleep at least six hours a night were 30% more likely to get Alzheimer's by the time they hit their 70's. That's significant. We talked about it, isn't that one of the greatest fears is our memory? We talked about yesterday, muscle and memory, muscle and brain. The organ, muscle is an organ, okay? Part of the skeletal system. But the more your muscle works, the better your brain works. And we talked about that, the incident of sarcopenia, which is muscle wasting and the brain. We just put out an email this morning. If you don't get our emails, you should. Go to martinclinic.com and sign up if you're not getting our emails.

Now, let's unpack this study for a bit, because I think it's important that we understand this. I try and keep things as simple as possible. And you know me, I love illustrations. So one of the reasons why when you don't sleep, that that would bother your brain and down the road affect Alzheimer's. Okay? Now, if you're thinking along with me, you're probably already thinking what I'm thinking. Your brain has a self-cleaning oven, okay? What do we call it? Your glymphatic system. Now, we all know about lymphatics, right? Okay, you think of under your arms, ladies, breast tissue. It has its own drainage system. Those lymphatics are right beside your breast tissue. And what do lymphatics do? Well, it's like sewage. It's a separate system in your body that detoxes, okay?

This is one of the reasons I like natural deodorants, okay? Why? Because I don't like the fact that you put aluminum or whatever in your armpits, and I want you to smell good too. I want to smell good, but there's natural deodorants and the reason I say it is you don't want to be clogging up your lymphatics. And by the way, this is just me, and I've been consistent about this for so long. I've always said I can't understand, okay? And again, it's the way we think, okay? And I'm just giving you an alternative view. When doctors find cancer in the lymphatics, they are really concerned. That cancer in their minds is spreading like wildfire. I don't believe that. I don't believe that. Okay? This is just me. It's my opinion. Your lymphatics are there to drain cancer. That's where toxins go.

If you see cancer in the lymphatics, because a lot of women get all their lymph nodes taken out with cancer. And guys, that's a decision you make with your doctor. All I'm saying is that of course, you want cancer cells to end up in your lymphatics. Why? Because your body's going to drain them out of your body. It's a sewage system. Okay? Now, back to the brain, okay? Your brain has its own drainage system. It's called your glymphatic, not lymphatics, glymphatics. Years ago, they discovered that the brain, believe me, I never heard this in school. I heard about the lymphatics in school, of course in the 1970s, but I never heard about the glymphatics in the brain. We didn't know that the brain had a self-cleaning oven. You know me in illustrations, when I think of brain and sleep, I think of the self-cleaning oven. And the only time your brain detoxes is when you're sleeping.

If you're not into sleep, you should be. And I know some people have difficulty sleeping. As a matter of fact, 70% of the population or more complain that they don't sleep well. It can be a real laborious task for people to sleep. I get it. I used to see this in my office for years and years and years, people not getting enough sleep. And in my book, Sun Steak and Steal and Sleep, I talk about the sweet spot for sleep. And this just is based on experience, based on studies, based on putting all that together. And I talked about the sweet spot. Somewhere between six and eight hours of sleep a night is the sweet spot for sleep. Now, back to the study. They found that people that don't sleep, they followed 8,000 people for 25 years. And those people who didn't get in that sweet spot, six to eight hours a night, they had, what did they say, a 30% increase compared to the rest of the population. When they hit their seventies, they had a 30% increase in Alzheimer's. Do you think sleep is important? Yes.

And the first reason is because, look, your brain is headquarters. Think about this for a minute. It's got more mitochondria up there. It's got more battery packs than anywhere else in the body. The heart is second. The first place that has the most battery packs, cells with battery packs, mitochondria is your brain. Why? Headquarters, it's the headquarters of your body. And 25% of all food you eat goes to the brain. 25% of your food. The brain is what, 2% of your body weight? And yet it takes 25%, like the government taxes, and whatever you feed, it goes up into the brain, 25% of it. And because of that, there's so much energy produced in the brain. Well, you can imagine it's headquarters. There's a lot of debris with energy comes waste, right? Go to a manufacturing plant, you're always going to have waste.

And part of waste management is your glymphatic system in the brain. Isn't that interesting? Your brain has its own self-cleaning oven. Problem with that is it only works when you're sleeping. You have to be sleeping for that part to work. You know, get on an airplane and you put your phone in airplane mode. Do you know what that means? You're not getting any data. So your brain goes into airplane mode. It doesn't get any data. You're sleeping, your body's resting, and your body is detoxing. So people have asked me this question, okay, doc, what about a detox? Well, yeah, but you might be surprised by what my detox consist of, okay? Because you can make up potions, you can make up smoothies, you can make up things that they said, let's detox your body. I'm not necessarily against it, but one of the biggest things you can do for detoxing your body, think about it, is going to sleep at night.

Just the fact that you're sleeping, your brain detoxes itself by the self-cleaning oven. You think that's important? You bet your boots it's important. It's important. And when 70% of the population don't sleep properly, that's a big, big problem, isn't it? Okay, so that's reason number one. Why did this research show that people that sleep less than six hours a night, they have an increase when they hit their seventies in Alzheimer's compared to the rest of the population by 30%? Is that significant? It's very significant. It's very significant. Okay, so I talked to you about the self-cleaning oven, the glymphatic system. Man, oh man, you're fearfully and wonderfully made. Your body is unbelievable. What a machine. It's incredible. Okay? Now number two, what happens in the brain, especially at the hippocampus level, that level in your brain, the area in your brain, especially attached to your memory, your memory, Alzheimer's, what a terrible disorder. So you want to sleep one reason why because of the glymphatic system.

Now, I want to bring in a second study done by Harvard, okay? And let me read it to you. This is a second study on sleep. They followed 4,000 people. In Edinburgh they followed 8,000 people for 25 years. I can't get over that. Like you started study and let's run it for 25 years, okay? But anyway, this one is done by Harvard, 4,000 people. And when they slept less than six hours, you see the sweet spot? Harvard says it, the Journal of Nature says it at the researchers in Edinburgh. They said it when they slept less than six hours. Harvard says this, okay, studying 4,000 people, they didn't tell me how long, or at least I didn't read it. One of the things that happens is that your telomeres shrink. Okay? Now let me show you something again, okay? When I think of telomeres, every cell in your body has telomeres. We didn't know that. I didn't know that in school. I never heard of telomeres in school. They're little.

Okay, what am I showing you here? For those listening on a podcast and you can't see what I'm showing. I'm showing a candle. A candle, and at the tip of the candle are wicks. You guys know that, right? That's where you light up the candle. So think of your telomeres as wicks, okay? I like that illustration for me. Every cell in your body has telomeres. They're found in your nucleus, in your DNA. And we can tell by your telomeres and the length of your telomeres as you age, your telomeres shrink. Normal. But what Harvard is saying is that when they measured telomeres, there was rapid aging of the telomeres when people didn't sleep six hours a night, okay? There was rapid aging. Telomeres actually shrunk with a lack of sleep. Wow, that's significant because telomeres, little wick like substances on your mitochondria, your DNA to, they tell you about the aging inside your body.

And so what they said is when people slept less than six hours. There was a decrease in the size of the telomeres, independent of other factors, including aging. There was a shrinkage by 12% of people that didn't sleep six hours. It added nine years. This is what the study said. It added nine years of biological aging. You age quicker, telomeres. Isn't that something? And one of the reasons they said in this study, when I unpacked it, they said this because when you're not sleeping, your cortisol levels are rising and cortisol will shrink your telomeres. Cortisol is a stress hormone. And today the world has changed. My practice changed in the last 20 years of my practice days. I never seen so much high cortisol, the stress hormone. I used to measure it. Crazy what I used to see in the office.

And it's not getting better folks. It's getting worse. Telomeres are shrinking. The glymphatic system, the self-cleaning oven isn't working properly. Your brain can't detox. That affects the energy system in your brain. It affects the mitochondria. And then we find out about telomeres in the brain. And even then telomeres, like I said, I didn't even know about them. I didn't even study telomeres. We didn't know anything about telomeres when I was in school. I love reading about that. Guys, I don't know what to tell you about your body. If you don't believe in God. I don't know what to tell you. This is creation. It's amazing. And I see these things, it takes my breath away. But guys, you need to sleep. You need to sleep.

And I know it ain't easy for so many people, especially if they have pain, especially if they have high levels of cortisol and the cortisol. It's one of the reasons, guys, okay, I just got to tell you this. It's one of the reasons that we created cortisol formula, okay? You name anything, I tried, it took them all. I tried everything with sleep. Melatonin, you name it. Sleep aid. Every sleep aid you can think of people put it on my desk. People talk to me about it. I said, try this, try that. Okay? And after years of discovering what combination of things lowered cortisol, I said I got to aim at something. Okay? I got to aim at the right thing when it comes to sleep. And you better aim at cortisol because that's the consistent marker. If cortisol is high, remember, cortisol works on your circadian rhythm. It's supposed to be high during the day and then it levels out at night to the point as when you're sleeping, your cortisol is sleeping. It's a hormone for the fight and flight, not for the rest and digest.

Cortisol's main purpose. Think about this for a minute. Cortisol's main purpose is to elevate your blood sugar. Why is that? So when you get up in the morning, that's why I don't like people taking their blood sugar in the morning. It's called the dawn effect. Of course, your blood sugar should be higher in the morning. Why? You're waking up, you got cortisol. Cortisol is waking you up, cortisol is getting you ready for the day. First thing it does is elevate your blood sugar. That's a big problem if it's continuing on. What if you are sleeping or supposed to be and you're not and your cortisol is high? Think about it, during the night, your blood sugar's going up at night. It's one of the reasons and you're not sleeping. The other thing that cortisol does, it elevates your blood pressure. Remember, you are supposed to be in airplane mode. Everything. You're not getting any data. Your body is detoxing. The cleaning crew has come in, but you've gone home to bed.

You know those big office buildings? When I see the cleaning crew going in for the night shift, I said, yeah, everybody else is going home. You see, I think of how your body works. You are supposed to be sleeping, and then the cleaning crew comes in and they clean out the brain and they clean out the liver and they clean out the kidneys and they clean out all that debris in your body. They send it into the lymphatic system and your lymphatic drains it out of your body. Okay? So guys, this is what I'm saying. You got to do everything you can to sleep. And one of the biggest low hanging fruits on the tree of sleep is you've got to get your cortisol down. It's not melatonin.

Now, am I against melatonin? No. Do I like melatonin? Yes, but people have the mistaken idea of melatonin because they think, oh, I need melatonin. Yes, but you don't need it in a supplement. How do you get melatonin? You see the sun is out. You don't have to go in the sun to get melatonin. You don't. You just have to have a bright day. Don't put any sunglasses on. And your melatonin, your body makes melatonin, okay? Your body makes it. So on a bright day, why do you think you feel better? Go to the beach. Not today, but if you're in Florida, you can go to the beach, the rest of the world, no, you can dream about the beach, but you can't go there. Well you could, but I don't think you're going to sunbathe okay?

Now, when you get sunlight during the day, your body makes melatonin. When you go to bed at night, make sure there are no lights on. It's one of the reasons. Quit playing with your device, your phone, your smart device, turn off that light because that's messing up your melatonin. When it gets dark at night, guess when you make the most melatonin? That's why I tell people, look, was I against masks during the virus? Yes, a hundred percent. Why was I against them? They don't work. It's silly. You learn that first day in medical school. Mask what? Why does a surgeon wear a mask? So he doesn't spit on you or spit into an open wound? Okay, but for a virus, it does nothing.

Now, was I against masks? Yes and no. I was against the masks that don't work. I was all for vitamin A, which is the mask that protects your face. When people get a virus after a virus, after a virus, they're usually low in two things. One, they're low in vitamin D, and the other one, they're low in vitamin A. Nobody talks about the Rodney Dangerfield of vitamins, and that's vitamin A. Nobody talks about it, but people are very low in vitamin A today because it's a fat soluble vitamin and it's only found in the animal kingdom. It's not found in carrots. That's beta-carotene, it's not vitamin A. It's a precursor to A, but it's not vitamin A pro retinol A, it's not. They're only found in eggs, meat and cheese. Okay? So vitamin A is important. That's your mask. That's the invisible mask that you should be wearing.

But I do want you to wear a mask to bed, not to cover your nose, not to cover your mouth, but to cover your eyes. I wear a mask sleeping. Why? Because we know this about the human body. The darker it is, the better secretion of your melatonin, okay? Not the supplement. Your body's storage system of melatonin. Wear a mask around your eyes, dark, pitch black. The darker, the better secretion of melatonin. The brighter the day, the more you get melatonin coming into your pineal gland, your third eye. And that is really important in terms of storing melatonin. Store it and then secrete it when it's dark. See, your body is so stinking smart.

Again, and I've talked to you a lot of times about I'm not big on the supplement of melatonin, okay? Because first of all, it usually has a shelf like meaning that over time and usually a short period of time for people they find it doesn't work anymore. Well, it wasn't the idea that you should be taking a melatonin supplement. Nature, God gives you melatonin when the sun is out and it's a bright day, enjoy. Take the sunglasses off. These are big receptors. Your eyeballs are big receptors of melatonin. And then when you go to bed at night, pitch black room, pitch black because we want you to sleep. We want you to sleep. Do everything you can to sleep. I mean it, everything you can. And the biggest enemy of sleep is cortisol. The biggest enemy of sleep is cortisol. Remember that. It's that stress hormone. It's why we're up to over 70% of the population have trouble sleeping today. Isn't that crazy? Even kids. Even kids, okay?

Telomeres. Wicks, okay, wicks, the self-cleaning oven, your glymphatic system. Now, I might test you on that. Don't you love teachers that say, close your books and we're going to do an impromptu test? Oh, I hated that. I didn't like that in school. I wasn't good at that. I was a cram, meaning give me 24 hours and I could cram like nobody's business. I was on steroids when it came to memorizing things in 24 hours. I was really good at it. I majored in recess in school. I didn't like school. Oh, it's funny now. And all I do is study all the time. It's funny, as I get older, I don't memorize stuff, so I don't like memorizing so much. But I do love study and I used to hate it as a kid. I don't know if that's just every boy or that was me. I don't know. I just hate it school. But I bring you to classes. But I try and make it fun for you.

Guys, we love you. You have no idea. Tony Jr. and I talk about our audience all the time. We just can't get over it. And on behalf of our staff at Martin Clinic, we thank you for just joining us for these podcasts. We love it. Okay? We love you guys more than you know. Okay, we'll talk to you soon.

Announcer:  You've reached the end of another Doctor Is In Podcast, with your hosts, Doctor Martin Junior and Senior. Be sure to catch our next episode and thanks for listening!

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