Sleep Deprivation and Early Onset Alzheimer’s

Many of us experience sleepless and restless nights, as well as those where it is difficult to stay asleep. The majority of people who have trouble sleeping usually combat their night by having an extra cup of coffee or shot of espresso the next day. While a rough’s night sleep occasionally happens, chronic sleepless nights may be linked to early onset Alzheimer’s.

Sleep Deprivation, Alzheimer's

How sleep deprived are you?

During a study at the University’s School of Medicine, researchers separated mice into two groups. The first group was put on an acceptable sleep schedule while the other group was given additional light, reducing their sleep. After the eight-week study was complete, the group of mice whose sleep was impacted had significant impairment in memory and ability to learn new things. The sleep deprived group of mice also showed tangles in their brain cells. Researcher Domenico Pratico stated, “This disruption will eventually impair the brain’s ability for learning, forming new memory and other cognitive functions, and contributes to Alzheimer’s disease.”

Though sleep does get more difficult as you get older, there are small changes you can make for improved sleep. Here are seven tips from Doctors for a better night’s sleep.

7 Tips for Better Sleep

1. Stick To A Sleep Schedule – Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends, holidays and days off. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle and helps promote better sleep at night.

2. Pay Attention To What You Eat And Drink – Don’t go to bed too full or hungry. Your discomfort might keep you up. Also limit how much you drink before bed to prevent getting up in the middle of the night for the bathroom.

Beware of nicotine, caffeine and alcohol as well. The stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. And even though alcohol might make you feel tired, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.

3. Create A Bedtime Ritual – Doing the same thing each night tells your body it is time to wind down. Examples include taking a warm shower or bath, listening to soothing music or reading a book. These activities can ease the transition between feeling awake and tired.

4. Get Comfortable – Create a room that makes you want to fall asleep. For most people, this means a dark and cool environment. Also, finding bedding that is best for you. Whether you prefer a soft or firm mattress, choose what feels the best.

5. Limit Daytime Naps – Watch out for naps. While it may be hard to resist closing your eyes on the couch or during a break, daytime naps can interfere with nighttime sleep. If you decide to take a nap, limit your sleep to 10-30 minutes in the afternoon.

6. Include Physical Activity In Your Daily Routine – Exercising regularly can promote a deeper sleep and help you fall asleep faster. If you exercise close to your bed time, you may experience feeling energized into the night. If this happens, consider working out earlier in the day if possible.

7. Manage Stress – If too much is on your plate, your mind may be racing as you try to rest. When you have too much going on, try reorganizing, setting priorities and delegating to help you relax. Having a poor night’s sleep won’t help your stresses tomorrow.

Getting a good night’s sleep not only impacts your day-to-day life, but it can have an impact on your memory, ability to learn and can lead to the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Following the seven tips for improved sleep from the Mayo Clinic can help you ward off the early signs of Alzheimer’s and better your daily life. To track your memory and how well you are retaining information try the MemTrax tests and start monitoring your results today.

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