Thursday, April 13, 2017

Get your sleep, live forever

We're all gonna die.
As we age we have increasing difficulty in getting enough good sleep. A common belief is that older people just don't need as much sleep.

Not so fast, sparky. What's true is that the aging brain has trouble generating the kind of slow brain waves that promote deep curative sleep, as well as the neurochemicals that help us switch stably from sleep to wakefulness.

Sleep researchers say poor sleep is linked such conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke. That's in addition to the cognitive decline in things like memory.

We now that getting older means a greater likelihood of disease, and now we know that sleep is an integral part of this. So what to do?

People turn to pills, but, “Don’t be fooled into thinking sedation is real sleep. It’s not,” says Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience.

The article quoted here doesn't offer a lot of help on what to do. What can't hurt, however, is allowing enough time to get a full night's sleep; curbing practices that make it harder like eating late and watching TV, and getting enough exercise during the day. Alcohol disrupts good sleep. As does worry.

I don't think there's a single bullet, but a combination of what we know to be best practices may be the best practice.

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