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Sleeping on Your Side May Reduce Dementia Risk

Sleeping on Your Side May Reduce Dementia Risk

Could your sleeping position help protect your health? According to researchers at Stony Brook University, sleeping on your side may allow your brain to remove neurotoxins much more efficiently, compared to collecting shut-eye on your back or stomach.

The waste removal process that occurs as you snooze is critical to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases later in life. A build-up of the neurotoxin beta-amyloid in the brain is specifically considered to an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found evidence earlier this year that neurotoxins are forcefully pushed through the brain at a fast pace through our spinal column, encouraging us to get the proper amount of sleep to take advantage of process.

However, Dr. Helen Benveniste and her colleagues say that humans and animals may already have the natural instinct to help their brains clear metabolic waste that build-up during the day, as the side sleeping position is the most popular way to snooze.

“The study therefore adds further support to the concept that sleep subserves a distinct biological function of sleep and that is to ‘clean up’ the mess that accumulates while we are awake,” explained Dr. Maiken Nedergaard.  “Our finding brings new insight into this topic by showing it is also important what position you sleep in,” she explained.

Published in the Journal of Neuroscience, the research team reviewed data on anesthetized rodents in 3 positions: on their side (lateral), supine (up) and prone (down).

Their findings have opened the door to more research to stress the importance of sleep quality and body posture in the fight to reduce the risk of dementia. Protect your brain with 7-9 hours of quality sleep tonight to reap the benefits of a healthier future.

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