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Ask The Sleep Doctor: Sleep and Appearance, Sleep and Alzheimer's and Sleep and Hyperactivity

Sleep doctor ready to answer questions

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Can lack of sleep contribute to one’s appearance? My 35-year-old daughter sleeps only a few hours per night. She has many facial wrinkles and appears far older than her age. Could the two be linked?

Answer:

Yes, it is during sleep that we regenerate skin, especially between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., when we experience the majority of our deep sleep. This is because that is when we produce the majority of growth hormone. Growth hormone is intimately linked to tissue regeneration. It is not unusual to see premature aging in those who get insufficient sleep. We believe this is in part due to the inhibition of growth hormone.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Is there any truth to the relationship of sleep apnea to Alzheimer's disease?


Answer:

Several recent studies seem to be showing that. In most of these studies, the deposition of beta amyloid and tau protein, both of which have been implicated in Alzheimer's, seems to be accelerated in sleep apnea. As of now, the evidence would seem to favor a cause and effect relationship.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My 8-year-old is hyperactive and aggressive towards other children in class. He also has trouble focusing. I brought this up with our pediatrician who wanted to know if he snores. I told him he does and he wants him to have a sleep test for sleep apnea. Does this make sense?


Answer:

Yes, your pediatrician is correct. In children, sleep apnea can present with just those symptoms. In fact, frequently children with sleep apnea are wrongly assumed to have ADHD. The sleep study should help to resolve the issue.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My husband has Parkinson’s. Recently he’s been having rather violent dreams where he kicks and punches. Could this be due to his medications?


Answer:

Unlikely. It sounds like your husband is manifesting REM Behavior Disorder. In this condition, people can actually move while dreaming and act out their dreams. Normally, during dream sleep we cannot move. This is common in Parkinson’s. I would discuss it with your neurologist. There are treatments for it. In the meantime, take precautions so that neither you nor he is seriously injured.

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is Board Certified in Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, and Internal Medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website www.AnswersForSleep.com which offers a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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4 comments on “Ask The Sleep Doctor: Sleep and Appearance, Sleep and Alzheimer's and Sleep and Hyperactivity”

  1. Why can't I stay asleep no matter how long I've been up or how tired I am? My max sleep time is 3-4 hours on average. I often go 24 hours or more without sleep. I can fall asleep immediately. Have tried sleep hygiene, melatonin, all kinds of drugs/treatments to no avail except Nyquil Sinus that will get me 6-8 hours of sleep waking up groggy and feeling like my head is stuffed with cotton. Sleep study was 1.7 hours of sleep. Desperate for good sleep. Recently, I have been awoken by severe headaches that are either in the middle of the interior of the head or at the back interior. Help figuring this out please. Next steps?

  2. My 11 year old had a sleep test and the results show she has severe sleep apnea. My question is " Why would Dr ask me if she ever had bed bugs?"
    My answer was yes I believe 3x, we found out who cared for her overnight had bedbugs so I haven't allowed overnights there anymore. It's been over a year now. Is there something with having been bit by bedbugs have anything to to with future sleep issues? Thank you, T.H.

  3. Every single month like clockwork, in early afternoon my male friend/roommate (67) will suddenly start speaking to me in a tone of voice reserved for small children. This is followed within by hyperactivity, vomiting, and finally insomnia that same night that, coupled with extreme hyperactivity, will last for 3 days (down from a high of 6 days a few years ago when he was taking care of his mom with dementia). During this period he will also act as though HE has severe dementia. This has been going on for some 8 years now and I don't get any sleep either due to watching him 24 hrs a day during this time period in order to make sure he doesn't injure himself. Any ideas on what the cause is? His mom has been gone for 5 years now and the only difference is it's 3 days instead of 6.

  4. Dear Dr. Rosenberg
    My 4-year-old son just started pre k, and his teacher is complaining that he doesn't want to take a nap how it's ruled, and it's being a complaint almost daily. When I ask him, he tells me that he is not tired and that he wants to play. This is a significant change because a while ago he slept well with his other teacher, it is also significant that until now at night he did not sleep very well, he woke up several times and had to be ready for school very early in the morning. I think that his sleep pattern has changed, and at that time of day his energy level is high and therefore he is not tired to sleep. I understand that not all children have the same level of energy and at this age they may not require a nap everyday?

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