The purpose of this blog is to promote wellness. In an effort to achieve this we will regularly share our thoughts and analysis on current headlines. While not all health and wellness news can be categorized as “fake news”, they are often very misleading. An entire blog post can be written on this topic (and have been), and there are a lot of websites and blogs that tackle this issue exclusively.
This week’s article, “Poor quality sleep could increase Alzheimer's risk”, reiterates previous research and provides further details regarding the process that puts an individual at risk for Alzheimer’s. There is nothing controversial in the findings, but the new data suggests that sleep quality is more important than sleep quantity. Sleep disruption isn’t just limited to increased risk of Alzheimer’s, either, as suggested by this study. In primary care, most patients are asked how many hours they sleep, and unless they have frequent wakings, they aren’t asked any follow-up questions. There are many ways to encourage better quality sleep, starting with basic sleep hygiene. White noise machines/apps, making the dog sleep on the floor, getting blackout curtains, disabling the flashing lights on the TV/stereo, and avoiding smartphone use prior to bed are some ways to reduce sleep disruptions and improve sleep quality. Smartphone use prior to bed could potentially become the most significant threat to sleep quality and overall health, as suggested by this study.
As a culture we need to place an emphasis on necessary physiologic processes that maintain health. In our culture presently, an emphasis is placed on productivity and self-sacrifice. There are people who claim to need only 4 hours of sleep per night, but they are rare. Most likely, you aren’t one of those people. Only 1-3% of the population can actually sustain health with this much sleep, and they are referred to as short sleepers. These lucky folks are genetically wired to get deep, quality sleep in a shorter amount of time.
This is a topic that deserves more attention. For most people, improving sleep quality can be relatively easy. The benefits of improved sleep quality can affect multiple aspects of health and wellness.
For the insomniacs out there- my apologies for creating content that emphasizes the harms of sleep deprivation. As a former insomniac I can attest to the frustration and anxiety caused by this condition.
*The contents of this blog are not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. If you have a medical condition, consult with a physician.