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Research Links Deep Sleep to Reduced Alzheimer's Risk

By Sandy Schroeder

Sleep is on ongoing focus for research, but the newest findings on deep sleep may point out just how important it can be.

Slow wave sleep, also called deep sleep, is an important stage in the sleep cycle that enables proper brain function and memory.

Scientists say the risk for Alzheimer's may be lowered by getting high quality deep sleep, which depends on getting adequate sleep.

How It Works

Boston University researcher Dr. Laura Lewis says, "The brain waves generated during deep sleep appear to trigger a cleaning system in the brain that protects it against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. Electrical signals known as slow waves appear just before a pulse of fluid washes through the brain, presumably removing toxins associated with Alzheimer's."

The research by Dr. Lewis and her colleagues was recently reported in the journal Science.

How to Increase Deep Sleep

Doctors say you can increase your deep sleep by getting enough sleep. Here are some tips to get the 7 to 9 hours that you need each night.

Create a relaxing sleep ritual - Warm baths, soft music and quiet reading can serve as cues for a restful night.

Go to bed at the same time - Keep the same hours seven days a week, going to bed and waking up.

Avoid afternoon naps - Eliminate naps, even short catnaps, and see if you sleep better.

Erase noise - Use an air filter to screen out toxins and noise.

Exercise daily - Fit in as much exercise as you can, but avoid exercising right before bedtime.

Use light to your advantage - Eliminate blue lights and use light blocking drapes to reduce outside light.

Check your bedding - Make sure pillows and mattresses are supportive and comfortable. If they are lumpy or old, replace them and sleep better.

Evict electronics - If possible, eliminate cell phones, TVs, and tablets. Stop using all electronics about two hours before bedtime.

Avoid stimulants - Avoid alcohol, smoking, spicy food and heavy meals right before bedtime.

Control caffeine - Cut out coffee and teas in the early afternoon.

Reduce stress - Make the effort to solve financial, health, family, or other issues

Create a sublime environment - Eliminate extra furniture from the room and create a soft inviting setting.

Look for ways to relax - Meditation, breathing exercises or yoga poses may help you wind down and let go of the day

Seek help - If sleep persists as an issue, see your doctor to review the issue and find additional solutions.

Getting enough deep sleep will help you feel better every day, and could reduce your risk for Alzheimer's in the future.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Euless, Tex.

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