C16: Alzheimer's Disease

Does the practice of sleeping with the head partially or fully covered by blankets have any impact on the occurrence of Alzheimer’s Disease? The following research which I completed show that there is a significant relationship.

It has been the practice of many to sleep with their head under the covers. Approximately 20 to 25% (my numbers generated through the survey) of individuals will partially or fully cover their heads while sleeping.  It has always been assumed that sufficient air filters through the bedding assuring sufficient oxygen supply. But that is an assumption that needs to be reconsidered. Is it possible that under heavy thick bedding over an extended period of time the content of oxygen will be depleted over the course of the night through rebreathing (the breathing of the same air over and over), and that this depletion causes some level of hypoxia, the lack of oxygen to brain cells? Hypoxia is considered to cause an increase in A-beta proteins, and it is this accumulation of A-beta proteins which has been considered as a significant marker of AD.

To study this possibility, I completed a survey comparing the occurrence of AD against the practice of sleeping with the head partially or fully covered by bedding. The results indicate that there appears to be a significant positive causal relationship. Those who suffer AD practice sleeping with their head covered to a much higher extent than those who don’t.

The following demonstrates this higher occurrence of sleeping with head covered for those who experienced AD. The data indicates the percentages of those who practice head covering while sleeping.

Lucidity

All submissions

Ages 20 and older

60 and older

70 and older

80 and older

Lucid

24.2%

21.9%

17.4%

23.5%

Early Stage AD

32.4%

37.3%

39.1%

34.8%

Middle Stage AD

47.1%

53.6%

47.6%

57.1%

Late Stage AD

47.5%

48.2%

47.2%

52.9%

 

It is clear from these numbers that those who suffer any level of AD practice sleeping with their head covered about twice as much as those who remain lucid.

This data projected that for those 60 and older approximately 16.4% of AD can be considered caused solely by the practice of sleeping with their head covered. Applying the data to those 70 and older, the percent is 11.3%. This suggests that sleeping with the head covered directly causes approximately 13 - 14% of all cases of AD. 

To achieve these numbers the percentage of those who suffer AD but who sleep uncovered is applied to those who suffer AD but who do sleep covered. The difference is then applied to all those who suffer AD. Of course these are just numbers. I could have applied this same procedure to those 50 and older, 80 and older, just 60, just 70, and so on, achieving some higher and some lower results. However, I felt that those 60 and older or 70 and older would be a good representative. 

The methodology of this survey was to invite those who were searching the Internet for information on AD to complete a short survey. This survey queried their level of lucidity (from lucid to late stage AD) relative to their sleeping practice (various levels of covering the head while sleeping: from never, to occasional partial cover, to frequent complete covering). The scope of this survey was not expected to be definitive, but to discover whether there might be a relationship; and that if there appeared to be a relationship, further studies could be undertaken under more strict controls.  I believe the results of this survey of over 500 submissions suggest strongly that there is a significant relationship between sleeping with one’s head covered and the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies are indeed warranted.

There are a number of causes of AD (early onset AD which is genetic in nature, head injuries, poor circulation, inflammation, and yet other undiscovered causes). It is important to add sleeping practices to that story. 

This would be an important discovery since a drug free, cost free change in behaviour may result in the avoidance of this disease for millions of individuals, not to mention that considerable societal savings could be realized. Also, it would be important to discover whether a change in sleeping practices later in life would avoid the disease, delay the onset of the disease, or slow its progress once suffered. 

The percentage of women practicing some level of head covering was approximately 47%, while for men it was only 33%. This difference could account for a significant portion of the reason why women more than men suffer AD. But only part of the narrative. I have not researched this but it is my generalization that women spend more time reading, while men spend more time physically active. This lack of physical activity on the part of women, and continued physical activity on the part of men relative to women, accounts for a significant portion of the cause for the higher incidence of AD in women. It's that simple, and nothing to do with genetics! 

There has often been considered a link between learning disabilities and Alzheimer's. Browse to my research on sleeping with the head covered and learning disabilities, which shows even a more significant relationship to this sleeping practice. Rebreathing caused by sleeping with the head covered may be the observed link between AD and learning disabilities.

The Stanley Theories:
  • that rebreathing is the cause of SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome.
  • that rebreathing, including that caused by sleeping with the head under the covers, is the cause of many learning disabilities including ADHD and Autism.
  • that rebreathing suffered by sleeping with the head under the covers can lead to Alzheimer's Disease.
  • that rebreathing suffered by sleeping with the head under the covers can result in symptoms similar to those of MS.
  • that habitual sleeping practices that result in a kinked or twisted neck can lead to restricted viens and these restricted veins can result in symptoms similar to those of MS.