Health and wellbeing expert Dr Michael Mosley says a daily pill you can only get on prescription – or online – could help you sleep and help protect against dementia. Dr Mosley has written a new book explaining how to ‘fix’ bad sleep in four weeks.
Writing in MailOnline Dr Mosley said: “Forget doing crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word search or reciting the alphabet backwards, one of the most powerful ways to protect yourself against dementia as you get older is by ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. We have known for some time that when we are in deep sleep, our body begins to do essential repairs, and fluid is released in our brains which helps wash out toxins that have been linked with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Last year, new research found that deep sleep is so important that even a small reduction can lead to a big increase in dementia risk. What makes this even more worrying is the fact that our sleep quality naturally tends to drop off with age.”
Dr Mosley’s new book, 4 Weeks To Better Sleep, includes a whole plan for ensuring you get better sleep – including how to beat insomnia, how to stay asleep through the night, how to get deep sleep and how to stay asleep for longer. He explains how much sleep you need and why.
He said: “If you are wondering, what is the single most important change you can make to maximise your chance of getting more deep sleep? Well, it is to establish and stick to a regular sleep schedule — going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.”
Dr Mosley says that means you should avoid weekend lie-ins, ditch ultra-processed food and try a diet high in oily fish as well as fruit, vegetables and nuts.
Dr Mosley also says a good dose of natural light during the day will help you sleep at night, as well as ditching your phone and other screens before you reach the bedroom.
He also recommends taking melatonin – a hormone produces by the body that is released in the evenings to help sleep. The body produces less melatonin as you get older.
The pill can be difficult to get hold of in the UK, although it is available over the counter in the USA. Dr Mosley said: “You can only get melatonin on prescription. It is perfectly legal to buy online, but there is no guarantee of quality, so be careful. Studies show that a 2 mg dose is safe for people over the age of 55 to take around one to two hours before bedtime.”
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