I always knew that a good nights sleep is beneficial for my health and as they stress in Ayurveda that sleeping by 10-10:30am is key to detoxification and rejuvenation, but what I did not know is the relation between cognitive health and sleep.
As I am reading this great book called “ The Alzheimer Solutions” by 2 amazing doctors Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, it became even more factual and scientifically proved that sleep is key to our healthy lifestyle. It is also stressed by Arianna Huffington in her book “ Sleep Revolution “ which states how we are underperforming as a society because of sleep deprivation.
Having a member of my family who suffered from Alzheimer’s, I became interested in how to prevent this disease which is growing at a rapid rate in the world. Cognitive decline is not something normal nor necessary but why is it happening.
As the facts say only 5% of Alzheimer is genetic and the other 95% is lifestyle related.. Shocking… so what is it that we can do to avoid cognitive decline. Nutrition, stress reduction, sleep, mental and social activity, and exercise are all key to keep our brain alert and fully functioning.
So what happens during our restful sleep ?
Restorative sleep is the deep sleep, the dreamless sleep that allows the brain to restore every night. The brain, when we sleep has 2 functions: to detox and to consolidate memories. The numerous research shows that when we sleep the brains removes toxic proteins from its neurons. This action can only happen when we are asleep. So if we don’t get enough sleep this toxicity increase in the brain and will impair our ability to think, be creative, process problems, and will eventually lead to decline in our cognitive ability.
Sleep deprivation is also associated to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. So why can’t we just sleep and detox? If sleep deprivation is so bad for us, why are millions staying up and working like maniacs?
Sleep is affected by many factors in our lives so if we just change some habits and become healthier, maybe we can get that good night sleep. Sounds better to me than just taking sleeping pills or suffering by staying up all night.
Most research say we need between 7-9 hours of sleep. The ability to sleep is affected by our lifestyle and here are some recommendations to help get a better night sleep and lead a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise: research has shown that people who exercising daily, have better restorative sleep
Give mindfulness a try: Research shows that people who practiced mindfulness had 91% better sleep. So why not try a few mindful exercise… so many apps are available fro free to help incorporate this habits in our daily lives. My favorite is Headspace.
Breathing: Breathing is associated to relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system which also helps in getting a good night sleep. so a few simple breathing exercise before sleeping could not be that hard to do.
Eat a Healthy diet: I cannot stress on the diet enough, and this is something I do for a living as a health coach. Sleep 3 hours after you eat, reduce sugar in your diet, reduce saturated fats are just a start. I will write a whole blog on nutrition and sleep coming soon.
Unplug and stay away from blue-light at night: Blue light affect the secretion of melatonin… take that iPad away from your bed..
Turn down your room temperature and wear socks.
Have a Good night…read the “ The Alzheimer solution” your brain will thank you…