Can you avoid Dementia by sleeping better?

All too rarely nowadays do you come across a true epiphany. That real ‘ah ha’ moment. The exposure of a truth so startling, that the implications fundamentally change the way we see a subject. Forever.

In October last year I had that experience while watching a TED talk by Assistant Professor Jeff Illif from Oregon Health and Science University in the US. Iliff and his research team had reported the outcomes of their research in early 2014 and Illif then presented the outcomes in a TED talk in October 2014. It is one of the most compelling presentations I have ever seen. Simply brilliant. You can watch it below.

Believe me, you will never think of Sleep in the same way again!

In essence Illif and his team uncovered the role sleep plays in keeping your brain healthy. As you may know, the body has a circulatory system that brings nourishment to the cells in your body, including of course, your brain. The brain, despite being only a small percentage of your body mass still manages to consume 25% of all the body’s energy.  The body also has a system that removes the waste from these same cells – another set of vessels – the lymphatic system. These two systems work in tandem, one bringing food, the other removing waste.

But Illif and his team had a remarkable and bleedingly obvious moment of insight. There is no lymphatic system in the brain.

So if there’s no lymphatic system, how on earth does the brain get rid of the waste it generates? After all 25% of all that energy must generate considerable waste? So how does it dispose of the waste? What an intriguing idea.

But that isn’t the epiphany. Wait for it.

Illif and team investigated exactly what the brain did to clear waste and discovered that through an elegant design solution, the brain flushes cerebral spinal fluid into the brain using the outside of the blood vessels, in effect using the same system for two different purposes. This is an anatomical design solution that is unique to the brain.

But here’s what changes everything.

This unique function?

That flushing mechanism?

It only does it WHEN YOU ARE ASLEEP!

In other words, when you sleep your brain cleans itself. If you don’t sleep – well, or long enough,  it won’t.

So what impact can poor sleep have?

A recent study highlighted one of the issues linking Alzheimers dementia to Sleep Disordered breathing. Does the impact of poor sleep impact the flushing mechanism? No doubt Illif and his team are now investigating this. But it certainly rings true to me. After all, we’ve all heard people say “you’ll feel better after a good night sleep” and “You’ll wake up feeling better”. Maybe there’s more to those sayings than first thought?

So why is this relevant to Rhinomed? Well, the question we asked, is what can we do about improving your sleep and sleep quality? After all millions of people with their wearable technology trackers are now measuring and tracking sleep quality. But what do they do if they want to improve their sleep? How do I ensure my brain cleans itself thoroughly?

In a trial (n=118 couples) conducted late in 2014 Rhinomed’s Mute technology was found to radically improve sleep quality in users – good or excellent sleep quality jumped from 21% of respondent to 57% of respondents when using Mute. So simply put, wearing Mute not only improves breathing (and reduces snoring) people report sleeping better and waking up feeling more refreshed.

As Illif and his team have shown us, anything that improves sleep is good for your brain.

I invite you to trial this for yourself. Trial Mute and let me know what you think. Does it improve your sleep quality? Are you waking up feeling better?

Sleep well.