Sleep is one of the most important components in our daily lives and researchers have long known how vital it is when it comes to our overall health and wellbeing. The biological process of “brainwashing” that occurs while we sleep is crucial in filtering out toxins and helping boost cognitive function. But what if poor sleep became more than just a string of unpleasant symptoms – what if it was connected to the risk of developing dementia later in life? The latest research suggests the two are connected, so optimizing your overnight cycle could make all the difference in preventing this condition.
As we hit the cozy confines of our beds each night, our mind gets ready to enter into an almost suspended-like state, allowing the body to become fully relaxed. This is when the stage is set for the “brainwash” to begin. During this time, our brains clear out toxins as well as sort through information we stored during the day, consolidating it for use in future moments. Without adequate sleep, however, this process stalls – leading to poor concentration, fuzzy thinking, and bouts of forgetfulness.
Though many of these symptoms might be considered as nothing more than minor irritants, failing to optimize your sleep can lead to a few more serious side effects. Studies have found a direct correlation between poor sleep quality and increased levels of beta-amyloid proteins found in the brain – proteins that have long been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In fact, scientists suggest that the lack of sleep might eventually cause certain areas of the brain to shut down, leading to younger onset of this serious condition.
While the exact causes of sleeplessness may differ from person to person, a few steps can help anyone to improve their deep sleep behavior. First of all, developing healthy sleep habits is crucial. Cutting back on caffeine (especially in the evenings) and creative meal timing can go a long way toward promoting better sleep. In addition, reducing screen time shortly before bed can help to reduce the effect of blue light, which is known to suppress the release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
In addition to these behavioral techniques, there are a few more proactive measures you can take to garner more restorative sleep. One of the most popular is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which has been proven effective in treating a variety of acute disorders like depression, OCD and schizophrenia. TMS has a twofold effect – helping to clear out toxins as well as increasing neuroplasticity in specific areas of the brain. In addition, supplements containing high doses of melatonin have become increasingly popular, as it helps to promote total system relaxation for improved sleep performance.
It is clear that the link between sleep and cognitive functioning goes far beyond immaturity and late-night snacks. In fact, the implications of this connection have given rise to a whole new range of preventative healthcare measures designed specifically to aid those suffering from troubling sleeping habits. However, with the advice of a trained physician and a few lifestyle changes, anyone can get back on track – thus helping to reduce their risk of potentially severe neurological diseases.