The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) has released a report which summarises recommendations for the public, in particular for people aged over 50, about getting better sleep for improved brain health. Older people are advised to aim for seven to eight hours of sleep daily. Practical advice to help achieve this target include:
- Avoiding tea and coffee after lunch.
- Avoiding daytime naps longer than half an hour.
- Getting-up at the same time every day.
- Exposure to natural sunlight during the daytime.
- Avoiding alcohol as an “aid” for sleep.
- Avoiding dinners less than three hours before going to bed.
- Not viewing electronic screens after going to bed, including tablets, phones or laptops.
- Avoiding over-the-counter sleep preparations.
- Wearing socks in bed for warm feet.
- Not allowing pets in the bedroom.
- Avoiding arguments before going to bed.
The panel of experts organised by Age UK and the American Association of Retired Persons suggest there is evidence that poor sleep may increase the risks of heart disease, obesity and diabetes (in addition to a less than sharp mind).
The GCBH report also offers advice to help people with dementia (and their carers) having trouble sleeping, both during the daytime and the night-time.
Sleep tips: Avoid afternoon coffee, over-50s advised. London: BBC Health News, January 11th 2017.
This relates to:
Global Council on Brain Health (2016/7). The brain-sleep connection: GCBH recommendations on sleep and brain health. Washington [USA]: Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) / American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), January 2017.
International research into the effects of sleep deprivation:
Walsh, F. (2017). How lack of sleep affects the brain. London: BBC Health News, June 26th 2017.
Ten charts which help understand the potential dangers of insufficient sleep; also some interesting international comparisons and historical variations:
Schraer, R. [and] D’Urso, J. (2017). 10 things to know about sleep as the clocks go back. London: BBC Health News, October 28th 2017.
Recommendations for Minimum Sleep Patterns: Planned Healthy Lifestyles Advice?
There is some evidence that sleep hygiene can help protect against dementia, diabetes and depression.
Ministers may advise on how much sleep people need. London: BBC Health News, July 13th 2019.
Related information and quiz:
Gallagher, J. Buchanan, R. [and] Gill, V (2019). Body clock: what makes you tick? London: BBC Health News, July 12th 2019.
Rocking Motion Improves Sleep Quality?
Ives, L. (2019). Rocking like a baby promotes better sleep in adults. London: BBC Health News, January 25th 2019.
Tests in NHS to Identify Sleep Apnoea Double?
“NHS data shows that 147,610 sleep diagnostic tests were carried out last year – compared with 69,919 in 2007-08”.
Rhodes, D. (2017). Sleep disorder testing carried out by NHS doubles. London: BBC Health News, June 20th 2017.
Possibly of interest, regarding Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) and the possible link with brain changes, cognitive impairment and dementia.