Sleep for better brain health

Live Well

Is your memory not as good as it used to be?

Are worries of dementia or Alzheimer’s plaguing you?

Did you know that sleep plays a key role in keeping your brain working efficiently? Although sleep seems like a period of inactivity, it is anything but.

As you get older, sleep can easily become elusive. Bathroom trips, night sweats, restless legs and everyday stress can effect the quality and quantity of your sleep. But your sleep is as important as food and water. And great sleep keeps your brain sharp.

As you sleep, your brain is actively working to maintain neural pathways that enable you to learn, create new memories and consolidate what you have learned in the day to your long term memory.

A new and exciting discovery is the ability of the brain to clear out toxins. While you sleep, the brain shrinks and opens up spaces, allowing the accumulated “garbage” to drain out through the brain’s lymphatic system. “Taking out the garbage” means the removal of B-amyloid protein which is a precursor to the plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. According to Russel Foster, a professor of neuroscience at Oxford University, sleep-deprived Individuals have higher levels of beta-amyloid than those who have slept normally. He says, “ I wouldn’t say sleep disruption causes Alzheimer’s but it is probably a contributing factor.”