Even Alzheimer’s Disease is linked to poor sleep.
Did you know that “sleeping well” is not only good for energy, immunity and mood but also prevents Alzheimer’s?
Professor Maiken Nedergaard, a Danish neuroscientist, published an article in Scientific American in 2016, pointing out that sleep time is the most active and efficient time for “brain detoxification”. If the detoxification process is hindered, toxic waste products such as amyloid produced during the brain’s working process can accumulate in or around nerve cells, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
The phenomenon of mutual influence between sleep and immunity, which was discovered as early as the last century, has been more thoroughly understood in this century.
The leading German neuroscientist Dr. Jan Born and his team have proved through research that the immune system has two different performances during night sleep (from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. the next day) and during wakefulness: The deeper the Slow Wave Sleep (SWS), the more active the immune response to anti-tumor and anti-infection (increased concentrations of IL-6, TNF-α, IL-12, and increased activities of T cells, dendritic cells and macrophages) while the immune response during wakefulness was relatively suppressed.
The quality of your sleep is not under your control.
The importance of sleep is unquestionable, but the problem is that sleeping, which seems to be the simplest, is even more difficult for many people. This is because sleep, like heartbeat and blood pressure, is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and cannot be controlled by individual will (consciousness).
The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The former is responsible for “excitement (tension)”, which mobilizes the body’s resources to cope with stress in the environment; the latter is responsible for “suppression of excitement (relaxation)”, whereby the body can rest, repair and recharge. The relationship between them is like a seesaw, one side is high (strong) and the other side is low (weak).
Under normal circumstances, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves can switch freely. However, when some reasons (such as illness, drugs, work and rest, environment, stress and psychological factors) destroy the adjustment mechanism between the two, that is to say, it causes an imbalance in which the sympathetic nerves are always strong (easy to tense) and the parasympathetic nerves are always weak (difficult to relax). This disorder of regulation between nerves (poor switching ability) is the so-called “neurasthenia”.
The impact of neurasthenia on the body is comprehensive, and the most noticeable symptom is “insomnia”. Difficulty in falling asleep, insufficient sleep depth, frequent dreams and easy waking up (poor sleep), insufficient sleep time, and easy interruption of sleep (difficulty falling back to sleep after waking up). It is a manifestation of insomnia, and insomnia is just the tip of the iceberg when neurasthenia leads to dysfunction of various organs.
Sympathetic nervous system (red) &
Parasympathetic nervous system (blue)
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
In the 1970s, it was proved that Ganoderma lucidum has a sleep-promoting effect on the human body.
Ganoderma lucidum can improve symptoms related to insomnia and neurasthenia, which was initially proved through clinical application as early as 50 years ago (details in the table below).
Learn from the clinical experience of Ganoderma lucidum to help sleep
In the early days, due to the limited resources of animal experiments, there were more opportunities to verify the efficacy of Ganoderma lucidum through human experiments. Generally speaking, whether Ganoderma lucidum is used alone or in combination with western medicine, its effectiveness in correcting sleep disorders caused by neurasthenia and solving sleep-related problems such as appetite, mental power and physical strength is quite high. Even patients with stubborn neurasthenia have great opportunities.
However, the effect of Ganoderma lucidum is not fast, and it usually takes 1-2 weeks, or even 1 month, to see the effect, but as the course of treatment increases, the improvement effect will become more obvious. Some subjects’ existing problems such as abnormal hepatitis indicators, high cholesterol, bronchitis, angina pectoris, and menstrual disorders can also be improved or returned to normal during the course of treatment.
Ganoderma preparations made from different Ganoderma lucidum raw materials and processing methods seem to have their own effects, and the effective dose does not have a certain range. Basically, the dosage required for Ganoderma preparations alone should be higher than expected, which can also play a complementary role when used in combination with sedative sleeping pills or drugs for the treatment of neurasthenia.
A few people may experience symptoms such as dry mouth and throat, blistering lips, gastrointestinal discomfort, constipation or diarrhea at the beginning of taking Ganoderma lucidum preparations, but these symptoms usually disappear on their own during the patient’s continuous use of Ganoderma lucidum (as fast as one or two days, as slow as one or two weeks). People with nausea can also avoid discomfort by changing the duration of taking Ganoderma lucidum (either during or after meals). It is speculated that these reactions are likely the process of individual constitutions adapting to Ganoderma lucidum, and once the body adapts, these reactions will naturally be eliminated.
From the fact that some subjects continued to take Ganoderma lucidum preparations for 6 or 8 months without any adverse effects, it can be concluded that Ganoderma lucidum has a high level of food safety and long-term consumption is not harmful. Some studies have also observed in subjects who have been taking Ganoderma lucidum for 2 months that symptoms that have already improved or disappeared gradually within 1 month after discontinuing the use of Ganoderma lucidum.
This shows that it is not easy to make the disordered autonomic nervous system work normally and stably for a long time after the disorder is corrected. Therefore, continuous maintenance may be necessary under the premise of both safety and effectiveness.
Experience tells us that taking Ganoderma lucidum to improve sleep requires a little more patience, a little more confidence, and sometimes a little more dosage. And animal experiments show which Ganoderma lucidum preparations may be effective and why. Regarding the latter, we will explain it in detail in the next article.
1. The Brain’s Waste-Disposal System May Be Enlisted to Treat Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Illnesses. In: Scientific American, 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-brain-s-waste-disposal -system-may-be-enlisted-to-treat-alzheimer-s-and-other-brain-illnesses/
2. T cell and antigen presenting cell activity during sleep. In: BrainImmune, 2011. Retrieved from: https://brainimmune.com/t-cell-antigen-presenting-cell-sleep/
3. Wikipedia. Autonomic nervous system. In: Wikipedia, 2021. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/autonomic nervous system
4. The relevant references of Ganoderma lucidum are detailed in the table notes of this article
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★ The original text of this article was written in Chinese by Wu Tingyao and translated into English by Alfred Liu. If there is any discrepancy between the translation (English) and the original (Chinese), the original Chinese shall prevail. If readers have any questions, please contact the original author, Ms. Wu Tingyao.