Good LIVES MAGAZINE BETTER SLEEP CAN MEAN BETTER HEALTH
Brain health and better sleep have been in the news, and with good reason. Without adequate sleep, we are more susceptible to colds, flu infections and more likely to develop health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and depression. Most of us need seven to eight hours' sleep each night, and if we don’t get it our physical and mental health can suffer. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea can have devastating effects on our general wellbeing and have even been linked to diseases such as dementia. Professor Elizabeth Coulson, from the Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Queensland, says that this could be because sporadic pauses in breathing cause a reduction in blood oxygen levels, potentially resulting in nerve damage.
Signs of sleep apnoea
The first and most common sign is usually observed by our partners when they tell us that we snore or make gasping or choking sounds while we are asleep. You might notice other symptoms such as: • Constant tiredness • Poor concentration • Morning headache • Depressed mood • Night sweats • Weight gain • Lack of energy • Forgetfulness • Sexual dysfunction • Frequent need to go to the toilet at night. If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnoea, contact your GP who will arrange for further tests. There are a range of treatment options available.
Want to improve your sleep? The good news is that we can take action to improve our brain health through the science of sleep. The Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health offers these great tips: Avoid alcohol and caffeine drinks after 6pm Use the bedroom for sleep and intimacy and not studying, working or watching TV Avoid long daytime naps Try to get up at the same time each day Avoid excessive time in bed If you can’t sleep, stay out of bed until you feel sleepy again.