Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Cleaning Out Your Brain

“Contrary to the current dogma, therefore, what is referred to as Alzheimer’s disease is actually a protective response to, specifically, three different processes: inflammation, suboptimal levels of nutrients and other synapse-supporting molecules, and toxic exposures.”
                                              --Dale Bredesen, MD, The End of Alzheimer’s

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You probably take a shower or a bath every day.  If you live in the tropics, like me, you may bathe 2 or 3 times a day.  A shower always makes you feel fresh and recharged.

What about your brain?  Did you ever think about what you can do to keep it clean, fresh, and recharged?

“Deep sleep is like a power cleanse for the brain,” according to Lisa Genova, neuroscientist and author of Still Alice, from a TED talk in April 2017.  Dale Bredesen, MD, author of The End of Alzheimer’s, also believes in the power of adequate sleep for protecting brain health. 

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Getting a good night’s sleep is important.  It certainly tops the list of my favorite activities!  On the infrequent nights when I can’t turn off my brain and I get only a few hours of sleep, I just don’t function well the next day. What we do know is that while we sleep, our brain does its housekeeping work.  Those who do not get enough sleep also are at higher risk for being at an unhealthy weight.d

Here are 5 tips for good sleep hygiene:
  1. Have a regular bedtime most of the time. 
  2. An hour before bedtime, power down yourself.  Turn down lights and turn off media.  Use this special quiet time to read or listen to music.
  3. Do not keep your cell phone right next to your bed.  Keep it at least 10 feet away from your head, and ideally, in another room.  This is especially important for kids. 
  4. Eat dinner at least 4 hours before sleep. Eating a meal right before sleep will interfere with sleep and prevent your brain from doing its housekeeping work. 
  5. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep (adults).  Kids need more. 

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With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.