The sleep position to avoid – it may increase your risk of dementia2020-05-14
Everyone needs to get enough sleep to help the body to function properly, according to the NHS. But, when you get your head down for a good night’s rest, you should always sleep on your side, it’s been claimed.
Getting good quality rest is crucial. Without enough sleep, you’ll probably wake up feeling grumpy and irritable.
The way you sleep could be influencing your quality of rest, and choosing the right sleep position is very important.
You should avoid sleeping on your back, or on your stomach, as it may raise your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life, scientists revealed.
Your brain can effectively remove brain waste when you sleep on your side, according to researchers at Stony Brook University.
The brain needs to get rid of this waste. If it builds up, it raises the risk of some neurodegenerative conditions.
One of those conditions is Alzheimer’s disease, warned the scientists.
Sleeping on your side is the most common posture for getting a good night’s rest.
It’s believed that humans have evolved to prefer sleeping in this position, to help the brain clear out its waste.
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But, it’s still not entirely clear exactly why sleeping on your side helps your brain to get rid of waste.
“The study adds further support to the concept that sleep is a biological function to ‘clean up’ the mess that accumulates while we are awake,” said Dr Helene Benveniste.
“Many types of dementia are linked to sleep disturbances, including difficulties in falling asleep.
“It is increasingly acknowledged that these sleep disturbances may accelerate memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
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“Our finding brings new insight into this topic by showing it is also important what position you sleep in.”
Meanwhile, falling asleep on your stomach could also increase the risk of some other problems, warned the National Sleep Foundation.
People that sleep on their stomach tend to put added pressure on their muscles and joints.
That can lead to irritated nerves, and you’ll likely wake up feeling numb and tingly.
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If you often struggle to fall asleep, it’s a good idea to try winding down before bed. That can include any way of relaxing the body, including reading a book or lying down quietly.
Some people find that having a warm bath before bed helps them to fall asleep faster, while others prefer writing a to-do list.
It’s important to keep to regular sleep hours, as this programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine, said the NHS.
The bedroom should be sleep-friendly, and a relaxing environment. It should be dark, quiet, tidy and kept at a temperature between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius.
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