Is Losing Sleep a Sign of Alzheimer’s?
Are you aware that lack of sleep is a marker of the early onset of Alzheimer’s? Every four seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Increasing at an alarming rate in India, it is the major cause of dementia that mainly affects the elderly.
All About Alzheimer’s Disease
A progressive and irreversible brain disease that slowly affects the memory, eventually worsens the ability to carry out day-to-day simple tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia that progresses over time from forgetfulness to brain impairment. It affects more than 50 million people worldwide.
Beginning with memory loss, angry outbursts, disorientation, confusion and behavioural changes, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s eventually leads to difficulty in speaking, swallowing and walking. Because of its deteriorating nature, it leads to dementia, i.e. decline in mental ability that interferes in daily life. A few behavioural changes signifying the onset of dementia are:
- Frequent changes in mood
- Difficulty in completing daily tasks at home or work
- Losing track of the date, time and place
- Misplacing things often
- Inability to recognize familiar faces
- Withdrawal from family and friends
Is Alzheimer’s Curable?
Currently, there is no cure for the disease, but there are medicines that help alleviate symptoms, improve cognitive abilities and delay functional decline. Early diagnosis of its symptoms is the way to slow progression, retaining the ability to carry out daily tasks with ease.
Experts believe that Alzheimer’s is not limited to old age, but its symptoms can be detected early, even in middle age. A few lifestyle changes can have a considerable impact on preventing the disease and also help in slowing down the progression of dementia.
Here’s is a list of simple brain-healthy lifestyle habits that you can easily adopt:
Get Good Quality Sleep
Research claims that losing sleep or disturbed sleep patterns fuels brain protein that is linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Establishing a sleep schedule with no gadget chatter or glow, alleviates sleep quality, thereby flushing out the toxins in the brain and reinforcing natural circadian rhythms.
Stimulate Your Mind
The key is to try something new once in a while. Learning new things challenges the brain, which further helps in improving cognitive functions and stimulates brain power. Try including brain teasers or strategy games like puzzles, crosswords, scrabble or take up a new hobby, be it learning a new language, an instrument or cooking as it strengthens the mind.
Try Stress Management
Breathe! Persistent stress takes a toll on the brain that hampers the nerve cell growth and causes shrinkage in the key memory area. With the hustle and bustle of daily life responsibilities, self-care usually takes a back seat. Make sure to give some time for leisure activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
Care for Your Heart
Scientific studies indicate that maintaining cardiovascular health lowers the risk of dementia by a third, including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Therefore, keeping a check on the blood pressure can keep your brain healthy for long.
Be Socially Active
Developing a social life and maintaining a strong network of friends is a way out of isolation as we get older. Connecting with people face-to-face is a step in the right direction to boost cognitive functions. Try altering your daily routine by joining a club or social group and frequenting your visits to parks, museums, yoga classes among other public places.
Regular Exercise Is a Must
Brain stimulation with regular exercise reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 50%. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week for maintaining brain health, balance and coordination. Choose activities that you really enjoy- you can even start with a 20-minute walk daily.
Opt for a Healthy Diet
Alzheimer’s disease causes inflammation and insulin resistance that injures neurons and inhibits communication between brain cells. Adjusting eating habits helps in regulating the metabolism, thereby protecting the brain. It’s important to cut down on sugar, refined carbs and include more food rich in antioxidants and vitamins like green leafy vegetables, berries, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.
By: Navreet Kaur | on 2020-09-21