Dementia is the name given to a group of symptoms linked to an ongoing decline in brain function. You could be at risk of the neurodegenerative condition if you regularly sleep on your back or stomach, it’s been revealed.
There are a number of different types of dementia, and the most common in the UK is Alzheimer’s disease.
Diagnosing the condition early could help to slow down the condition’s progress.
Making some small lifestyle changes could lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s in later life.
One of the easiest ways to protect against Alzheimer’s is to regularly sleep on your side, scientists have claimed.
People that sleep on their back or front are more likely to develop dementia, warned Stony Brook University researchers.
It’s believed that sleeping on your side helps the brain to get rid of excess waste material.
It improves the brain’s glymphatic pathway, which is the system that clears out the brain’s waste chemicals.
Humans and animals have both evolved to prefer sleeping on their sides, possibly to help the brain to clear out its accumulated rubbish, they said.
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“Many types of dementia are linked to sleep disturbances, including difficulties in falling asleep,” said researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard.
“It is increasingly acknowledged that these sleep disturbances may accelerate memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our finding brings new insight into this topic by showing it is also important what position you sleep in.
“It is interesting that the lateral sleep position is already the most popular in humans and most animals – even in the wild – and it appears that we have adapted the lateral sleep position to most efficiently clear our brain of the metabolic waste products that build up while we are awake.”
Sleeping on your side is the most common sleep position, according to The Better Sleep Council.
But, you could lower your chances of dementia even further by having a cup of green tea after you wake up.
Green tea protects against cognitive impairment as it contains a group of compounds known as polyphenols.
Flavanols, which are a type of polyphenol, are abundant in green tea, and protect the brain against some of the proteins that may lead to Alzheimer’s.
There’s no certain way to prevent dementia from developing, but there are ways to lower your risk, said the NHS.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet should help to lower your chances of developing dementia.
It’s also important to do enough exercise. Everyone should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.
There are around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia, and the condition affects one in every six people over 80 years old.
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