One of the books I have been reviewing is “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program” by Gary Small, MD, and Gigi Vorgan, author of “The Memory Bible.” While our genes may affect our chances for developing Alzheimers, it seems there are measures we can take that can also make a positive difference. One of these, less talked about than mental and physical exercise, is sleep.
Dr. Small states that sleep is far from a passive state for mind and body. The brain’s memory centers consolidate the day’s experiences for recall and even problem solving, perhaps to the point of greater efficiency than our awake, conscious efforts. “Getting a good night’s sleep is an important way to improve your memory ability and reduce chronic inflammation,” (p.143). It is this chronic inflammation that is believed to have a role in neural degeneration and the memory loss that accompanies a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s as well as other dis-ease states.
An important part of our lab test results can be the blood markers for inflammation. We may need to make plan with our doctors for improving this condition. In addition to dietary, medical, and lifestyle interventions, learning to sleep better is a part of shoring up our defenses and maximizing physical, mental, and emotional energy into our later years.