Tabitha Blog

Tabitha Blog
bed

Poor sleep quality may increase dementia risk

Less REM sleep tied to increased risk of dementia; five ways to increase your REM sleep

A recent study has tied dreamless sleep to increased risk of dementia.

The American Academy of Neurology released the study in a recent issue of “Neurology®.” They set out to discover which stages of sleep may be linked to dementia and found a correlation among individuals with less rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Of the five stages of sleep, REM sleep is the stage of dreams, increased brain activity, higher body temperature and a quicker pulse. Of the people in the study, those who developed dementia had a lower percentage of REM sleep, specifically a nine percent increase in risk for every percent reduction in REM sleep.

Study author Matthew P. Pase, PhD, of Swinburne University of Technology in Australia said in a press release that the next step is to determine why lower REM sleep predicts a greater risk of dementia.

“By clarifying the role of sleep in the onset of dementia, the hope is to eventually identify possible ways to intervene so that dementia can be delayed or even prevented,” Pase said.

People cycle through five stages of sleep multiple times per night, according to PsychCentral.com:

  1. Theta – 5-10 minutes
  2. Wave Sleep – 20 minutes
  3. Transitional Sleep
  4. Delta Sleep – 30 minutes
  5. REM Sleep – up to 60 minutes

REM sleep starts about 70-90 minutes after falling asleep, and the average adult has five to six REM cycles per night, according to The National Sleep Foundation.

Recent research has also pointed to a link between sleep apnea and dementia. Sleep-disordered breathing repeatedly wakes a person, preventing them from reaching the deep REM sleep that clears the brain of amyloid plaque.

Researcher Megan Hogan of Wheaton College in Illinois told the Washington Post, “During sleep … your brain has time to wash away all the toxins that have built up throughout the day. Continually interrupting sleep may give it less time to do that.”

So, what can you do to increase your REM sleep? Here are some tips to help you get better quality sleep:

1.    Stick to a sleep schedule.

Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night to keep your body in rhythm.

2.    Plan a consistent bedtime routine.

Relax, read a book, take a bath. Avoid screen time (television, computer, tablet or smart phone) for at least 30 minutes before bed to allow your brain to calm down.

3.    Keep your room dim, cool and quiet.

Turn your phone to “Do Not Disturb,” and reduce light and noise. A box fan or white noise machine can help prevent night waking. The fan may also help keep you cool—the ideal sleep temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees.

4.    Don’t eat or drink before bed.

Avoid caffeine within four hours of bedtime and eating or drinking alcohol within two. If your body is busy digesting, it is more difficult to fall asleep.

5.    Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep nightly.

If you sleep an extra 60-90 minutes a night, you add an additional REM sleep cycle. Because REM sleep stages get longer as the night goes on, that last hour of sleep is critical.

6.    Take a nap.

If you can, add another sleep cycle with a 60-90 minute nap in the day. It’s another opportunity to clear out toxins in your brain that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

7.    Exercise daily.

Vigorous exercise has been proven to increase quality of sleep, regardless of time of day. At the very least, take a walk in the daylight, which will also help maintain your circadian rhythms.

Overall, more REM sleep has been linked to feeling more refreshed, having better memory and now a lower risk of dementia. We can all benefit from improved quality of sleep.

Tabitha offers memory care and help for those in all stages of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. From home care, adult day services and living communities, Tabitha has the answers to all your aging questions. Contact a Continuum Navigator today.

News Feed

There’s no cure for memory loss, but some studies show that lifestyle changes may help keep your memory sharp. Consider increasing or adding the following foods for a brain-healthy diet.

Adults who engage in exercise decrease their risk for and even lessen the symptoms of heart disease, osteoporosis and other illnesses. Consider small, simple ways you can stay active with this health tip.

Less REM sleep tied to increased risk of dementia, plus five ways to increase your sleep quality to combat the risks.

Tabitha's Health Tip this month includes information about recovery therapies and rehabilitation. Read more about how therapists work together to help clients bounce back.

Tabitha hosted a select group of retired Lincoln pastors, missionaries and their wives at the annual Amazing Grays Luncheon March 16 at Tabitha Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Tabitha in Crete Resident Assistant Britany Kalkwarf was honored with Leading Age Nebraska’s 2017 Excellence in Care and Service Award. Read more.

Tabitha, Nebraska’s industry-leading Senior Care provider, offers grief groups and hospice volunteer training throughout the month of April in Lincoln, York, Grand Island, and Nebraska City, NE. Learn more.

Tabitha recognized a select group of donors and volunteers who give extraordinarily in the pursuit of outstanding, compassionate care for Nebraska Seniors. Organizations and individuals were honored during Tabitha’s annual Into the Blue luncheon March 7 at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln. Read more.

Tabitha prepares for "March for Meals" month-long fundraiser and the Tabitha 10K and 2-Mile Run April 7, 2018, to benefit Tabitha Meals on Wheels. Read more.

As we age, our bodies go through a number of changes. In this health tip, we will discuss changes in sleep and in your skin, and what you can do to manage these changes as they occur.

Tabitha honors the 10-year anniversary of Dr. Heather Fago, medical director of Tabitha Hospice. Dr. Fago works with clients, their families and physicians to develop customized care plans and provide ongoing review of the hospice program in Tabitha’s central and west regions.

Tabitha is proud to partner with the Lincoln Track Club to present the Tabitha 10K and 2-Mile Run/Walk on Sat., April 7, 2018. Making manageable changes in your lifestyle can have a big impact on your health, so start your year off right by setting a goal to sign up and participate in Tabitha’s Walk/Run!

Tabitha is pleased to welcome Alan Uden as chief financial officer. Read more.

Tabitha Meals on Wheels has been honored with a generous donation of a 2018 Subaru Outback from Subaru of America in partnership with Meals on Wheels America. Read more.