We’ve known about the link between sleeplessness and aging for a long time now. Those afflicted with dementia in particular can suffer from insomnia, or even a reversal of the normal day-night sleeping cycle. Doctors still don’t know what it happens – but there’s no question that it does happen. However, until recently, no one had been able to detect a causal link between bad sleep and dementia. Recent studies do seem to suggest that link – even when taking into account heart health, medication and other factors.
Dr. Kristine Yaffe of University of California, San Francisco explains this research while in Vancouver:
Clearly, getting a good night’s sleep is important, whether we’re talking about someone with Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, or their worn-out caregivers. When you’re rested, you’re less accident-prone and more able to do the things you want to do – so it’s a key element of a good quality of life.
Avoid Bad Sleep Habits and Get a Good Night’s Rest
Don’t oversleep. You had trouble sleeping, so the most common-sense solution seems to be to just hit that snooze alarm a few extra times (or shut it off entirely). Instead, all you’re doing is resetting your sleep schedule. You’re better off getting up at your usual time.
Exercise. A heavy workout in the afternoon works well to put us in the right state by the time bed-time rolls around. Get your blood pumping during the day and sleep better at night.
Don’t Nap. Instead, do exercise. Napping just upsets your sleep rhythm.
Set a bedtime schedule and stick to it. After a little while, your body will just know when you need to sleep, rather than making it a guessing game.
Relax. We’ve all had nights when we’re too stressed out to sleep well. Worrying about something at 3 am never helped anything. Don’t be taking care of business or finishing up your taxes after dinner.
Cut down on the caffeine. No coffee or tea late in the afternoon for you.
Sorry, no alcohol, either. Drinking may help you fall asleep, but it will be a fitful, uneven sleep – which defeats the purpose. You didn’t really need that drink, anyhow.
Don’t use sleeping pills. Wait – that’s why they’re there, right? Well, they’re not meant to be used for your regular sleeping regimen. They can cause unpleasant side effects like temporary amnesia, slowed reaction time, dulled thinking and worse.
Adopt just one or two of these tips and see how sleep improves!