There may be no area with more pessimism and lack of understanding by the conventional medical community than in the area of memory. One of the most frequent responses to problems with memory – Well what do you expect at your age? There is an expectation that mental decline is part of getting older. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
There are a number of specific steps you can take to preserve your memory and that includes reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. One of them is sleep. Most people underestimate the importance to every single part of our existence of a good night’s sleep. Sleep regulates our weight, stress reduction, immunity, inflammation and metabolism. We know that weight gain is a byproduct of lack of sleep. But more important than worrying about how we look is the fact that weight gain is associated with shrunken brains and lack of sleep is definitely associated with decline in memory and thinking processes.
As people get older insomnia is more frequent. As many as 40% of older adults can’t get a good night’s sleep because of chronic illness, sleep apnea or difficulty staying asleep. Others simply do not allow enough time for sleep.
Here are some recommendations for getting better sleep:
- Eliminate caffeine alcohol and tobacco all of which interrupt sleep
- Turn off electronics by 10 o’clock at night . The stimulating effects of looking at an illuminated screen as well as the suppression of your own natural melatonin combine to interrupt sleep.
- Keep your bedroom as a place only for sleep and sex. Remove the television from your bedroom.
- Allow sufficient time for sleep
If you follow the above recommendations but still have poor quality sleep or wake up fatigued, see your doctor to discuss sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
Sleep is not something to scrimp on . Your future brain health depends on it!