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Using Sleep to Prevent Cognitive Decline & Alzheimer's Disease

There is already plenty of evidence piling up in the research confirming sleep as essential to human health and vitality. The recent discovery that sleep is the primary way we remove waste metabolites from the brain has added a new and interesting hypothesis for explaining the biological necessity for sleep and the diseases that may be created through its dysfunction.

Similar to the function of the lymphatic system, the GLYMPHATIC SYSTEM (hence the name) is a series of vascular tunnels or pathways in the brain used specifically to remove debris accumulated in the central nervous system. This allows for elimination of potentially hazardous, neurotoxic waste to accumulate, such as beta amyloids, the primary cause of Alzheimer’s Disease.

I previously wrote about how this system is driven by cerebral flow and the need for adequate hydration. Yet what is most vital, however, is being in the SLEEP state for the systems tunnels to open for fluids to start flowing 🌊💫

Sleep activates our brain’s plumbing system, by irrigating any debris through its pipes. In fact, sleep deprivation (cutting back from 7 hrs to 4), reveals increased levels of those neurotoxic beta amyloids in the brain. A staggering 60% of Alzheimers patients suffer from at least one serious sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea. More and more evidence continues to suggest that disordered sleep contributes to cognitive decline and the development of Alzheimers pathology. This finding is important because it suggests poor quality sleep may be the missing link that could allow for early detection of AD. If poor sleep plays a causal role in Alzheimer’s development, then improving poor sleep may be a novel way to treat or even prevent the disease.


Get tested for Sleep Apnea

It is estimated that at least 20% of older adults suffer from sleep apnea of which 80% go undiagnosed.


Concentrate on getting GOOD SLEEP

* Establish a bedtime routine

* Go to bed at the same time each night for 7 TO 9 hours

* Keep your bedroom cool 60 to 67 degrees, quiet, and media free

* Do something relaxing before bed non electronic ~ read a book, take a warm bath

* Designate the bedroom as a sleep or sex only zone

* Use white noise or ear plugs

* Avoid caffeine after noon if you are sensitive

* Limit liquid intake 2 hrs before bedtime

* Try 2-4 oz of tart cherry juice with natural melatonin

* Boost Melatonin prior to bedtime with 1 to 2 mg high quality supplement

* Use light to manipulate your circadian rhythms

Sleep is a crucial part of mind body health and our vitality. It turns the switch on to our glymphatic pathways, allowing us to irrigate and clean out the cobwebs so we can be consciously engaged in our wakeful hours💡🕸

Invest in your nightly bedtime routine, get the quality sleep you mind and body needs, and never underestimate your own inherent ability to heal from within 🧠💤😴🌀

Sweet Dreams,

Kristin xo


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