Optimize sleep

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Goal: Optimize sleep

Approach: Good sleep habits and selected supplements.


We all know how it feels when we have a night, or several, of not enough sleep. What you might not know is that sleep is a critical part of the arsenal of taking out the brain trash - amyloid beta is removed twice as fast during sleep as when awake. Here are some strategies that are worth looking into if sleep is a problem for you.

  • Darken your bedroom as much as possible and ban electronic devices. Some members have found wearing blue blocking glasses at night helps to restore the natural circadian rhythm and release of melatonin, which can be disrupted by artificial lighting. You can also install programs such as f.lux on computers and electronic devices to reduce the amount of blue light reaching the brain.
  • Go to bed before midnight and try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night (preferably 8) without taking sleeping pills. Taking melatonin before bed can be helpful (anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5mg; this can be purchased over the counter). You can take up to 20mg, but if you take too much melatonin, you can awaken in the middle of the night, so work to find the right dose. Dr. Bredesen recommends taking an occasional break to allow your body to continue to make its own, for example skipping one night per week.
  • Rule out sleep apnea.
  • If you awaken and can't go back to sleep in the middle of the night, rule out the many causes including hormonal imbalances (especially low progesterone), depression, stress or GERD. You can try tryptophan (500mg) or 5-hydroxytryptophan (100 or 200 mg) at bedtime. Do NOT take tryptophan if you are on an SSRI.
  • Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime. When you eat, insulin levels increase, which decreases the production of melatonin.
  • Avoid exercising late in the day, so you don't have an adrenaline surge before bed.


References



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