Dr Liz Coulthard is an Associate Professor in Dementia Neurology at University of Bristol. Liz leads the ReMemBr group comprising of neurologists, psychologists and researchers based at Southmead Hospital.  

In this talk, Dr Liz talks about the process of sleeping and how it may be important in preventing the onset of dementia. Sleep is a very active process, one that is complementary to being awake. During the slow-wave stage of sleep, natural brain oscillations may be responsible for the filtering of toxins from the brain. One such toxin is amyloid, a protein which has been unequivocally proven to accumulate during dementia. By improving our sleep, we may be able to reduce the amount of amyloid and therefore reduce our risk of dementia.

Dr Liz’s top tips for increasing the quality of your sleep

  • Sleep in a dark, quiet room
  • Limit the amount of interruptions during your sleep
  • Go outside during the day - sunlight kick starts the hormones required for healthy sleep
  • Physical activity early in the day – this can help re-train biological rhythms in the brain leading to better sleep.
  • Don’t eat or drink too much just before going to bed – especially caffeinated or alcoholic drinks!
  • Don’t get stressed out before bed – don’t stress about lack of sleep!