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  Life   Health  05 Oct 2017  Sleep is key to improving health mentally and physically

Sleep is key to improving health mentally and physically

Published : Oct 5, 2017, 2:19 pm IST
Updated : Oct 5, 2017, 2:19 pm IST

Find also out how poor sleep can lead to dementia.

Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Representational Image. (Photo: Pixabay)

Dementia is becoming a public health concern worldwide.

Dr Dean Sherzai And Dr Ayesha Sherzai, authors of a new book The Alzheimer’s Solution, explain sleep can be your best defence against the disease and how not enough of rest could lead to it, in a report by the Daily Mail.


Even though several studies over the years have stressed on the health benefits of sleep, it has still become a public health concern. Sleep improves your overall health many studies over the years have revealed.

A brain well rested

As you get older good quality sleep is crucial to cognitive function and to your well-being in life. Seven to eight hours of sleep is a must to get rid of the toxins as well has unhealthy thoughts and memories. When you’re asleep, "the brain undergoes its routine repairs, and the regeneration of neurons and their supporting cells can occur".  Chemicals released during this state also help boost one's immunity and calm inflammation. A well-rested person is also less prone to the flu and has lower risk of cancer.


Poor quality sleep

Less sleep leads to "brain atrophy and shrinkage" and destroys healthy neurons. Experts also warn the experience of "brain fog" after a bad night's sleep is the same in Alzheimer’s disease. Not enough sleep also affects your ability to function, focus and retain memory when you are awake. Sleep deprivation can also make it difficult to perform simple actions and cause you to make poor decisions. For older people, poor sleep quality can affect hand-eye co-ordination, increase the likelihood of falls and car accidents.

Sleep and food

Less sleep can also cause weight gain. Your body may start to crave food high in fat, trigger the release of appetite-stimulating hormones. Studies have also shown a link between poor sleep and the body's ability to process insulin.  These factors can contribute to developing type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to dementia.


Waking up refreshed in the morning is the best sign you are getting enough sleep. To protect you brain and improve your sleep, here are a few tips from the report to help get you to a better you.

1. Get into a routine: Sleep at the same time each night and wake up at the same time in the morning, including weekends. This will help your brain to know when to be alert and when it is time for rest.

2.  Stop eating late in the night: Consume food three hours before bedtime. If your digestive system is working to process the food, you will be unable to sleep well.

3. Say no to coffee, alcohol, citrus juices close to bedtime:  More than two glasses of wine will disturb your sleep cycle and caffeine stays in your body for at least eight hours. Citrus drinks can cause heartburn and bladder issues.


4. Physical activity: Go for a good walk in the morning, as it will help you stay awake during the day. Avoid any physical activity before bed. Exercise is also known to improve sleep quality.

5. Soft light at night: This will help your body to relax.

6. Avoid all gadgets: Tune away from your phone, laptop, TV or video games. Before bedtime your brain needs to get calm in order for the mind to relax.

7. Don't nap in the day: It may make it difficult to get a proper night's sleep.

8. Stay away from noise and sound: Both can have an impact on your sleep cycle.

9. Avoid certain food before bed: Sugary foods can interrupt your ability to relax. Fatty foods can cause heartburn and   indigestion. Spicy food can upset the stomach.


Tags: mental health, health, sleep, dementia, food, type 2 diabetes, brain, physical activity, exercise, coffee, alcohol