Wellbeing Check-In : Sleep and Longevity

Sleep-deprived? Have you tuned in lately about the emerging studies about people who sleep less than six hours a night in their 50’s and 60’s are more likely to develop dementia in later life.

Not the best news for us insomniacs! 

On the one hand though, how good is it to know that a good night’s sleep could be a contributing factor for our cognitive longevity? On the other hand, for those of us who suffer sleep deprivation, it’s disconcerting to think that not sleeping well can possibly lead to dementia. That said, some say that it could also be the other way around and that developing dementia leads to poor sleep. Whatever the truth, there’s a definite relationship between sleep and dementia that needs to be taken seriously. 

Here’s an extract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/sleep-deprivation-increases-alzheimers-protein – who show that studies have found that losing just one night of sleep led to an increase in beta-amyloid, a protein in the brain associated with impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s said that ‘Beta-amyloid is a metabolic waste product that’s found in the fluid between brain cells (neurons) and a build-up of beta-amyloid is linked to impaired brain function and Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease, beta-amyloid clumps together to form amyloid plaques, which hinder communication between neurons’.

But before you lose any sleep over this disturbing news, here are 10 tips to developing a good night’s sleep, in particular, nose breathing!

  1. Develop a sleep routine – try and go to bed at the same time every night.
  2. Power Down your digital devices at least 2-4 hours before sleep (the blue light emitted from the digitals stimulates the brain and keeps us awake).
  3. Create a soft ambience in your bedroom – low lighting, natural bed linens, candles and relaxing music.
  4. Oxygenation – install an air purifier in your home and/or open a window to allow fresh air.
  5. Exercise daily.
  6. No caffeine after 2pm and no alcohol before bed.
  7. Warm baths or showers before bed can help. Not only do you wash away the day but also the warm temperature is said to retain the heat in our body that induces better sleep.
  8. Reading before bed is relaxing for the brain.
  9. Block-out curtains and eye masks – essential!
  10. Nose breathing! Breathing through the nose is said to improve the oxygen levels in our body up to 30%! Nasal breathing releases nitric oxide (NO) and helps to widen blood vessels that improves oxygen circulation in the body. Nose breathing helps to regulate our body’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels (compared to mouth breathing that expels too much CO2).

Read more about the studies published by the NIH

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