Be a Morning Person To Prevent Alzheimer’s

Be a Morning Person To Prevent Alzheimer’s
A new Alzheimer’s study makes a startling assertion that sleeping late might predispose a woman to Alzheimer’s. The study from the California Pacific Medical Center and published in the Annals of Neurology explains that women with weaker circadian rhythms and who are less physically active or become more physically active late in the day or evening are more likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment than women who live in a natural rhythm. This means women who are more physically active earlier in the day have a better prognosis.

“We’ve known for some time that circadian rhythms, what people often refer to as the “body clock,” can have an impact on our brain and our ability to function normally,” says Greg Tranah, PhD., the lead author of the study. The road to prevention for many people who override their natural rhythm due to technology overload, an unstructured day, or who seem to have an owl’s disposition for late night activity might be to simply get into rhythm.
No one can yet say if people who are less active with sleep disturbances present a cause for dementia or is becoming less active and sleeping into the morning a sign of a brain who has the disease and so is a predictor?

To shift your circadian rhythm if you are out of balance:

  • Begin to go to bed fifteen minutes earlier every night until you normalize your bed time.
  • Set your alarm clock to wake you up fifteen minutes earlier every day until you are in rhythm with sunlight.
  • Consider leaving a window with the blinds partially tilted open to allow sunlight to filter into the room as opposed to those black out shades or heavy drapes which keep your bedroom dark.
  • Shift your exercise regimen, assuming you have one, to the morning. If you don’t have fitness scheduled on your daily planner, start exercising. It is as simple as putting on your sneakers and walking out the door into the light. Exercising large muscle groups during the day will help you sleep better at night. In contrast, exercising at night will rev you up and keep you awake.
  • Create a sleep ritual to help you wind down at night. Be careful of getting over-stimulated with TV shows, an exciting book, going on line or speaking to a dramatic friend. While you are at it, avoid a late dinner and caffeine in the late afternoon.

For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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