The relationship between sleep and memory has always been scientifically proven since long. Good sleeping habits and hours leads to good memory. A new, recent research demonstrates this truth beyond doubt, especially in elders.
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found a link between sleeping hours, memory and old age. Slow wave sleep plays an important role in carrying the memory from hippocampus (short term memory storage device of the brain) to pre-frontal cortex (long term memory storage device). The study conducted by Bryce Mander demonstrated that in older adults, memories may be getting stuck in the hippocampus due to the poor quality of deep ‘slow wave’ sleep, and are then overwritten by new memories. So, the memory data is erased in the short term storage device, with fresh memory data and the data would not reach the long term memory storage device at all. The research study was published in Journal of Nature Neuroscience.
So, the goal in elders is to improve sleeping habits and sleeping hours in elders, so as to enable them to have a better memory.
Here are a few tips.
Assign them some work. Though they may not be physically fit to do all the routine work, let them be physically active. Assign them some simple works which they can do on their own. It keeps them busy. It will show their importance and contribution to the household. Hence, it will boost their confidence and keeps them away from depression.
Do not expect them to multi-task – We have already learnt that multitasking is not a great way to boost productivity even in young people, leave alone the elders.
Make sure that they enjoy their daily routine. – Make sure to add fun value to their life. After all they spent the good part of life to make sure that you are having fun in your life. It is time to give it back.
Make sure their room is dark at night. – Keeping the room dark at night ensures good amount of melatonin production in brain, which causes normal sleep. If the room is well lit at night, it depletes the melatonin production.
No coffee or tea, 3 hours before they go to bed – Caffeine is not recommended, three hours before sleep. It stimulates and excites the brain, which delays sleeping. It is also ideal if they can limit tea or coffee to not more than 2 cups a day.
Follow these sleep tips –
20 tips for a better sleep
Arrange for Ayurveda therapies – Oil treatments like Shirodhara (dripping oil over forehead, while the patient lies flat on the treatment table) and Abhyanga – general body massage really help to relax the body and mind. It causes them to sleep naturally without any oral medicines. Though Shirodhara is a costlier treatment, Abhyanga – massage is quite cheaper. However, nothing is costly when compared to good health of your elders. Right?
It will be ideal if they have 7 days of Shirodhara treatment, at least once in three months and Abhyanga twice or thrice a week.
Give them good Ayurvedic supplements for rejuvenation, sleep and for memory. Just consult an Ayurveda center near you and things will be good to go.
Early morning and evening walking – Physical activity, fresh oxygen help them to keep themselves fit and sleep better.
Give them good Ayurvedic supplements for rejuvenation – Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Sarpagandha, etc herbs helps to get good sleep. But for this decision, you will need to consult an Ayurveda doctor, because BP, Diabetes, other health complications, other allopathic medicines that the patient is taking, etc.. all these factors should be kept in mind, before deciding on the right Ayurvedic medicine / supplement.
Make them tutors for their grand children. No one loves elders better than their grand children. So, if you give the task of tutoring kids, then it will stimulate elders’ brains and also makes learning, a lot fun for your kids.
Make them join Facebook – According to preliminary research conducted in Arizona university, in elders more than 65 years old, who learn to use facebook, it increases their cognitive function. This suggest that men and women older than 65 who learn to use Facebook could see a boost in cognitive function (ability to process thoughts).