How often do you find it hard to fall asleep but wake up after only a few hours of sleep? Nothing is more unpleasant than poor-quality sleep that causes a constant state of fatigue during the day. But this is not the only negative effect that poor-quality sleep has, recent studies have shown that people who do not sleep enough are more likely than others to suffer from dementia at old age.
What is dementia and how does it manifest itself?
Dementia is a condition that manifests itself through the loss of cognitive abilities such as thinking, the ability to remember or to show reasoning following a logical thread. The disease can have many forms, such as Alzheimer's, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia or vascular dementia. These conditions manifest themselves by reducing the ability to remember and to memorize, through the development of language deficiencies, visual perception, through the impossibility of solving simple tasks or of concentration and attention.
Each of these types of dementia may, in one way or another, be influenced by sleep problems. Insufficient sleep can cause inflammation of the brain that promotes dementia or reduce the metabolism of the brain, such as the ability to eliminate debris, which will cause neuronal cell loss. Also, an irregular sleep pattern can cause atrophy of important areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus, which controls important cognitive processes, from motivation and emotion to learning and memory.
How can we prevent dementia?
Proper management of the sleep pattern and of the number of hours allowed for the recovery of the body is one of the factors that reduce the risk of dementia. Improving sleep quality is essential in this process, which is why a few simple measures can have a significant long-term impact.
- Too little or too much sleep can affect your health - specialists recommend that adults between 25- and 64-years should sleep between seven and nine hours per night, while people over 65 should sleep up to eight hours per night.
- Short periods of sleep during the day can help the brain - a short period of 10 or 20 minutes can have a positive effect on the brain, restoring the energy level and the ability to focus on the activities to be performed. Due to the short period, the brain does not enter into the intense sleep cycle, thus allowing to restart the activities with increased efficiency.
- A predictable sleep pattern helps the brain - people who wake up and go to sleep while observing the same daily program reduce the chances to develop brain disorders in time.
Caring for one's health is a complex phenomenon. Sleep quality is one of the main factors that influence the quality of life, but an instrument such as a private health insurance brings important benefits to the owner. With its help, the beneficiary can access preventive medical services that can lead to the diagnosis and treatment of the conditions before they reach an advanced stage.