Right now, I am in the middle of reading the New York Times bestseller Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD. This is an incredibly informative book with absolutely brilliant supportive science that really explains what is going on when we are sleeping.
Over the past several years I’ve emphasized the critically important role that sleep plays, not only in terms of cognitive health and functionality, but with respect to general health as well. Quoting from Dr. Walker’s book: Continue reading
By: The Dr. Perlmutter Team
What does it mean to have a healthy brain?
It means having a brain that is readily capable of performing all of its vital functions. This includes basic functions, like regulating the involuntary functions of the autonomic nervous system, and higher-level functions, such as facilitating cognition and decision-making, and coordinating fine and gross motor skills. While the brain is necessarily an incredibly complex organ, the process of neuroplasticity, which describes the brain’s ability to undergo physical and chemical changes in response to stimuli, affords us a significant degree of control over the health of our brain. In other words, the lifestyle choices we make today have a very real impact on our brain’s current and future health; whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how we live our lives.
As stated above, neuroplasticity can work for or against you. While the natural process of aging more or less handles the “working against you” side of that equation, it is completely within our abilities to harness the power of neuroplasticity to maintain or improve overall brain health. Taking an active role in improving the health of the brain can help fortify the body from some of the most debilitating chronic illnesses we face — the likes of Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, science has shined a light on numerous factors that have the potential to mitigate the effects of aging and improve overall brain health. To that end, I wanted to highlight six of the most effective ways you can maximize your brain’s potential.
We live in a very light polluted world in comparison to that of our very recent ancestors. Estimates now indicate that close to 99% of both Americans and Europeans are exposed to “light pollution.” Not only are we excessively exposed to light in modern times, but the type of light accounting for this exposure is changing rapidly. As we move away from incandescent lights in favor of light emitting diode (LED) technology, we are seeing an ever-increasing exposure to a particular part of the light spectrum – blue light, that has been associated with some worrisome effects in terms of human health.
I, like many of you, have often wondered about the notion of drinking a cup of coffee after the evening meal. People often say things like, “I can’t drink coffee after 4PM or I won’t be able to sleep,” and this seems to make sense. Others, like myself, can enjoy a coffee after dinner seemingly without any consequences, as far as sleep is concerned.
To help shed some light on this issue, researchers publishing in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently reported the results of study in which individuals consumed 400mg of caffeine 0, 3, or 6 hours prior to their normal bedtime. These folks were compared to a similar group of people who received a placebo. Sleep was measured by self-reporting as well as through the use of a portable sleep monitor. Continue reading