How to sleep more and prevent Alzheimer's disease
Updated: May 14, 2020
Did you know that lack of sleep increases your likelihood of developing an Alzheimer’s disease?
“People with Alzheimer’s disease have clumps of two sticky proteins – beta-amyloid and tau – in their brains. One night of sleep deprivation increases beta-amyloid levels in people’s brain.”
A recent study from Uppsala University of Sweden told that 15% of Alzheimer’s disease cases may be related to sleep disruption.
“After the sleepless night, the men had an average 17 percent increase in tau levels in their blood, compared with a 2 percent increase after a good night’s sleep.”
Lack of sleep could be one of the worst bad habits you could develop.
It's only a small study, but it adds to “growing evidence” that lack of sleep is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease in the future. Also, these participants were healthy young men, “with an average age of 22”.
Breaking bad habits are hard enough. Getting a good night’s sleep when we want is a struggle for everyone. The constant influx of videos, apps, and digitized content at our fingertips create infectious temptation and demand that override our neurology.
So what do we do about this?
Many neuroscience experts have recommended promising brain hacks that could work in your favour (Canadian). We've done the research and gathered the best protocols for you to try. Are you ready?
1. Write down the bad habit in detail
First, write down your bad habit in detail.
For example: I can’t sleep early. I keep watching YouTube videos on my phone instead of sleeping.
Writing down the details of the problem allows “The Reticular Activating System(RAS)” in your brain to better filter out white noise and sends more accurate message into the cerebrum. Those bits of information are then converted into subconscious thoughts and emotions.
What messages get through? The ones that matter to you the most. If you’re focused on planning to sleep earlier and more, your RAS would pass the information that’d make the effort more easier. For example, useful apps or awesome blog posts with cool brain hacks :)
2. What’s the trigger?
While RAS can create awareness and urgency of the problem, you should figure out the trigger that triggers your behaviour, aka, emotional action. Everyone's different, but here are a few common triggers that you may have not thought about. See which one is right for you!
1. Charging phone next to bed (might lead to screen time in bed)
2. Drinking caffeine and eating late
3. Late screen time (phone or laptop) at least 1 hour before bed
4. Other: Think of any actions prior to the bad habit
Studies have shown that most people fit into one of these categories. If you're #04, try writing it down as detailed as possible. The trigger must be a specific situation or action that leads to the bad habit.
3. Solution Time
Your brain has fully understood the bad habit, the trigger, and now wants a solution. To be honest, this is the easiest part. The hardest part was using the brain energy to figure out the complex steps. The objective of the solution is to either replace or reduce the frequency of the bad habit. It’s ok to fail at them multiple times. Actually, expect to fail at least once. But that’s ok. Let’s not assume all solutions to work right off the bat. You’re not a machine.
With that out of the way, here are some common solutions to try out.
1. Move phone to the living room and charge.
2. Drink hot water before bed as a good trigger.
3. Turn off all devices at least 1 hour before bed (The last hour could be used for exercise, shower, reading etc…).
4. Other personal remedies.
4. Boost those brain chemicals(naturally!)
Last but not least. Every time you finish one of the steps above, immediately(I mean, immediately) engage in celebrations yourself. It could simply be “Yes! I did it!” or a fist pump. This can increase the level of not only dopamine, but oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin. Not in any particular order, but they help you be more motivated, relaxed, and focused at the same time. Who knew that a reward doesn’t have to be a sweet box of chocolate?
Let’s recap this process.
1. Define the bad habit in detail.
2. Define the trigger that stimulates the bad habit.
3. Try out multiple solutions to remove/replace the trigger.
4. Celebrate each step with a fist pump or “Yes I did!”
- Remember to do this immediately after each step.
Important: The above process based on neuroscience is more important than the actual methods.
Sleeping more doesn't make you lazy. It's also not as easy as some people make it out to be. So at least for this weekend, try going to sleep earlier. Define the problem, trigger, and solutions that you haven't seriously thought about. Supercharge your brain.
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New Brain's take
Hope you liked our first blog. We’re planning to bring together proven triggers and solutions from real-life people. We’re also developing a neuroscience app called braintingle to help you break bad habits and discover unique situations that you can refer to. Once the official app is launched, more data would be available to provide more accurate triggers and solutions for your convenience.
Please don't hesitate to email us anytime for feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or participate in our Reddit!
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