About 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive form of dementia that affects memory, thinking and behavior. The older you are, the more prevalent the disease becomes; about one in 10 people in Texas age 65 and older have dementia or Alzheimer’s. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but new research shows that deep sleep might help prevent the disease.
The Relationship Between Sleep & Health
Doctors in Texas have long extolled the virtues of a good night’s sleep. Consistent, quality sleep is important for your physical and mental health; it keeps you alert and focused, and protects you from accidents and injuries, memory impairment, poor libido, skin problems and obesity. It is essential for both cognition and memory consolidation, according to a study published in the November 1 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science.
The study found that deep sleep helps clear the brain of toxins that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Cerebrospinal fluid that occurs during non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep removes metabolic waste products from the brain.
Studies have demonstrated a link between poor sleep and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease before, including research published in the medical journal JAMA Neurology in 2018. One study found that people with sleep problems were 1.68 times more likely to experience cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, and 15 percent of Alzheimer’s cases were directly attributable to sleep dysfunction.
One of the best ways of boosting your cognitive health is to remain physically and mentally active. Individuals with hearing loss can lower their risk of cognitive impairment by wearing hearing aids; those aged 66 and older who were diagnosed with hearing loss and treated it by wearing hearing aids are less likely to be diagnosed with dementia or depression, or be injured in a fall, over an ensuing three-year period according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Just a single poor night’s sleep can cause a sharp rise in blood pressure that night, and the effects continue the next day with higher systolic blood pressure readings. This is one potential explanation for the link between sleep problems and heart attacks and strokes. Sleep is obviously important, but quality sleep is what matters most for long-term health. Periods of deep rest cause the body to activate chemicals that lower heart rate and blood pressure.
Texans can improve their quality of sleep by limiting use of electronic devices before bedtime; sleeping in a darkened room and lowering the thermostat so it is set between 60 and 68 degrees, the ideal temperature range to promote good sleep.
If you’d like more tips on achieving a good night’s sleep, contact an ear, nose and throat doctor in Texas.