Vital Element of Brain Health: Quality Sleep

In honor of November being Alzheimer’s Awareness month (alz.org), HealthyReader will be posting four articles regarding vital elements for brain health that are recommended to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is the last in the series; all things need their beauty rest.

Quality Sleep

How do you feel when you don’t get a good night’s sleep? I know I’m more irritable, less patient and have a hard time concentrating on the tasks I need to accomplish throughout the day. If sleep deprivation is something you experience regularly, it could possibly put you at a greater risk of developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep nightly and provide these tips to help achieve that:

Create and keep a schedule: going to bed and waking up at the same time every day (yes, that means no sleeping in on the weekends!) to help set your circadian rhythms.

Think twice about that nap: although usually a great way to recharge, naps can actually make insomnia worse. If you do nap, keep it to a brief one – about 15-20 minutes – and do it early in the afternoon.

Keep the TV and PC out of the bedroom: there’s only two things that you should do in bed and neither are watching TV, working the laptop, or using an iPad. The light of these devices suppress melatonin which can delay sleep.

Develop a bedtime ritual: the routine will signal your body and mind it’s time to sleep.  A warm bath, a hot cup of tea, and writing in a journal can help relax you and get the worries of the day off your mind.

Sleep is critical for memory formation and the ability to recall them, but having problems getting a good night sleep is quite common. Give these suggestions a try and let us know if you find they work for you or share any additional tips you might have for us and our other readers to get that much needed shut-eye.

 

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