There’s a lot of health and wellness advice going around now that the new year is finally here. This article in the Huffington Post about making sleep a priority caught my eye.
But this morning on my commute to work, I heard a story on my radio about sleep – specifically sleep and aging – that really got me thinking much more seriously about the quality of my sleep. I must admit that in my continuing efforts to forestall the inevitable aging process, I have been paying close attention to all the information out there about how lack of quality sleep can make you look older on the outside, for example how poor sleep can cause premature skin aging. But this story is about the importance of sleep to aging well on the inside…inside our brains that is.
Jeffrey Iliff, a brain scientist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland has been conducting research that shows that changes in sleep habits as we age may actually be setting the stage for dementia. Pretty scary stuff.
Apparently, during sleep a remarkable cleansing process takes place in the brain (at least this is what was found in the mice that were studied). During deep sleep, the cerebrospinal fluid that is normally found outside the brain begins to recirculate back into and through the brain and helps clear out the toxins that contribute to the development of plaque, the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. This is suggestive of one significant way that lack of quality sleep may contribute to Alzheimer’s.
This research has yet to be safely replicated in humans but you can read about this fascinating study for yourself.
Just one more very important reason to make sure you are getting the quality sleep you need.
For more about sleep, aging, and the brain check out these articles:
Here’s wishing you a Happy New Year…and great sleep!
Blogger: Deb Chapman