Sleeping during the day could increase the risk of neurological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleep allows our brain to cleanse itself: it eliminates during the night through the glymphatic system all the residues accumulated during the waking period. In a study published at Nature Communications, researchers showed that this cleansing mechanism is not only related to the phases of sleep or wakefulness, but also to our biological clock. This means that while we take a nap, we alter the rhythm of the glymphatic system and this can have consequences on neurological health.
Alteration of the circadian rhythm
The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that regulates various functions of our body, including the sleep and wake cycles. To understand the effect of daytime sleep on the brain, the researchers anesthetized mice during the day, when they normally sleep. The experience showed that their glymphatic system continued to function normally. This means that the activation of this system is necessarily linked to our internal clock, and in humans, daytime sleep would not allow it to function properly.
“Circadian rhythms in humans are set in a cycle of waking up during the day and sleeping at night,” says Lauren Hablitz, the study’s lead author. “People who rely on napping during the day to regain sleep, or who work at night, are potentially at risk for neurological disorders. According to her, this significantly increases the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleeping during the day is bad for your health
People who are forced to sleep during the day for professional reasons are exposed to other health risks. This can lead to mental disorders, reduced cognitive performance, obesity, and heart disease. Disruption of biological rhythm can also promote breast cancer.