Worrying About Getting Dementia – Is there a Way to Prevent It?

“Insufficient sleep across the lifespan is significantly predictive of your development of Alzheimer's disease pathology in the brain...”

Matthew Walker Ph.D., Newcastle University, Sleep Scientist

Ever wondered, ‘how will I know?’ I feel like I have a poor memory all the time, constantly forgetting where I just put down my phone, where I left my keys, where I put my shoes? And I’m not even middle aged yet. I think this is a fear we all have, losing our memory, sudden dementia, Alzheimer’s, especially when we know someone who’s gone through it, or have heard of someone dealing with their loved one going through it. I find myself obsessively Googling it. And don’t get me wrong, I know dementia is a lot worse than simply forgetting your keys. That in fact, it’s more like having your keys in your hand and not knowing what they’re for, but that doesn’t stop me from obsessively worrying about one day getting it and how I might prevent it.

PAY ATTENTION TO THE SIGNS

According to Aging Care, the disease starts out slowly. The symptoms caused from dementia can include anxiety, hallucinations, fear, loneliness, nightmares, and confusion. “One may experience memory problems and forgetfulness.” And a person might’ve had dementia for up to 10 years before being officially diagnosed. But most of all, and what freaks me out the most, is that memory loss CAN be a sign. This is especially true if you:

  • Struggle to remember recent events, although you can easily recall things from the past
  • Find it hard to follow conversations or programmes on TV
  • Forget the names of close friends or everyday objects
  • Struggle to recall things you have heard, seen, or read recently
  • Regularly lose the thread of what you are saying
  • Find yourself putting objects in unusual places – such as your keys in the fridge
  • Feel confused, even in a familiar place, or get lost on familiar journeys
  • Find that people start to notice or comment on your memory, or lack thereof

I mean, I think I can check off at least half the list, although it might just be due to lack of sleep and stress. But then when you go down the Google rabbit hole you start to realize that lack of sleep is a huge factor in the onset of dementia.

WHAT THE STUDIES SAY

A study published in the journal Science Advances last week, found “chronic sleep loss prematurely ages the brain’s immune cells and may lead to cognitive problems, including dementia later in life”. The study also concluded that bad sleep speeds up the aging of brain cells.

“In essence, study participants who had better sleep had ‘younger’ and less activated immune cells and this led to protection ‘against the negative effects of Alzheimer’s disease pathology on cognition…I think it adds one more reason to try and sleep better.” — Dr. Andrew Lim, University of Toronto associate neurology professor.

BUT IS THERE A WAY TO PREVENT IT?

“I think that sleep may be one of the most significant lifestyle factors that determines your risk ratio for Alzheimer's disease.”

Matthew Walker Ph.D., Newcastle University, Sleep Scientist

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is one of the leading causes of death around the world, at least 44 million people live with dementia, and at this point in time there is no cure. But some studies are measuring the likelihood of one losing their memory versus keeping with the help of quality sleep.

“Getting a good night’s sleep is something we should all do…Our brains need time to recover from the stresses of the day…this and other data suggest that it may even help delay and slow down the disease process if it has begun.” Washington University School of Medicine

SLEEP IS THE BEST MEDICINE

When you Google ways to sleep better you’ll most likely come across articles that list the top tips for restful sleep. And they’ll list off things like:

  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks at night
  • Keep the bedroom dark
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid screens an hour before bedtime

And they’re all great advice. That said, there’s one tool out there that is designed to help improve sleep and it’s called a Weighted Blanket.

An Important Investment

Sleep: More Protection for your Brain than a Helmet!

I recently got my hands on a Weighted Blanket and I can’t praise it enough. What a game changer! Wrap yourself in one and I swear you’ll find your sleep transformed. It’s like being embraced in a loving hug, a warm and cosy cocoon that puts you to sleep and keeps you asleep until you wake up the next morning a fully formed butterfly ready to take on the day. 

If sleep is the one thing that’s going to keep you quick witted and alert then investing in it and giving a weighted blanket a try seems like a no brainer. I’ve done the Googling for you and made a list of what I think are the top 5 weighted blankets in the UK. Not only are they all a great price, but the top one has a 30 night’s sleep guarantee, which means if you don’t feel like it’s helping you in all the ways it should, you can simply return it.

TOP 5 WEIGHTED BLANKETS IN THE UK

Kudd.ly Blanket £49 (SleepBo’s  #1 Choice!)

We can’t get enough of this blanket!

With it’s lush and velvety touch, Kuddly’s weighted blanket is made to form to your body, providing the perfect cuddle on the couch and in bed. Filled with BPA-free glass beads, Kuddly is designed for comfort, relaxation, and sleeping. Plus, it’s machine washable and comes in two amazing colors—a soft grey and luscious blue!

One happy customer stated: “Bought one for my partner who has restless legs and fibromyalgia – she slept better than she has in years with it last night… have had to buy another one for the child who can get anxious… so defo a big thumbs up from us here!”

(see what other happy Kuddly Customers had to say)

KOALA BLANKET £89.99

Using its deep touch technology that calms the nervous system, the Koala blanket helps stabilize your stress levels, increases your relaxation and improves your sleep. Made from bamboo and cotton, the Koala blanket is eco-friendly, durable, and competitively priced. With its two sided cover, you can use the silk eco bamboo side on those warmer nights, or the ultra-soft minky side on cooler days.

One customer stated: “…I’ve been using my blanket for nearly a week now and it has totally transformed my sleep. For months now, I have had great difficulty sleeping, a new and unusual experience for me. I have tried natural and medical remedies to no avail. But now, I am sleeping so much better…”

YnM Weighted Blanket £89

The YNM is our third choice for its moisture-wicking management and bamboo viscose properties, providing all year round comfort. Plus, there are two extra layers of durable and breathable fabrics ensuring there a nore leaks of beads, or breaks in the blanket. It also allows you to pick the weight you want and comes in a variety of colours. That said, it’s on the pricier side.

One happy customer said: “I suffered from insomnia for most of my life and it has affected work, not being able to get up in the morning, every morning, and now always having a horrible day is completely fixed. I am off to sleep within minutes of getting into bed with this blanket. It is very heavy to hold and rather cumbersome to put on my bed, but stays in place once on. Would highly recommend purchasing!”

ZZZNEST Weighted Blanket £89

ZZZNEST uses 7 layers of fabric and small diamond tight stitching to prevent movement of the beads in the blanket, allowing for the most comfortable and sound sleep. Targeting disorders like RLS and anxiety, ZZZNEST promotes calmness and restfulness, allowing you to sleep much more soundly. Its beautiful grey colour is bound to compliment any room.

A customer states that: “Fantastic product … Comfortable and soft feel … Weighted but not heavy … Almost feels like you’re being held and gives a sense of comfort to anxiety sufferers like myself. It helps relax the body, I would recommend this to anybody, Fast efficient delivery … Thank you very much!!!”

Bedsure Weighted Blanket £89

This 15lbs weighted blanket triggers hormones that calm and soothe you, helping you achieve a deeper sleep. Its unique seven-layer process ensures maximum softness without feeling the filling on the inside. Bedsure is composed of breathable fabric and filled with comfortable glass beads. This weighted blanket will surely help you sleep better and feel much calmer.
A Happy Customer Says: “This blanket is brilliant! At first use, it is very heavy and trying to lift it up with your leg whilst in bed is very hard work if you are the kind that likes to ‘stick a leg out’ but after a few days, you get used to the weight. I will say, I sleep much sounder since I purchased this and getting to sleep no longer takes hours just minutes. If you have sleeping problems then this is marvellous!”

More about Kuddly, Sleepbo’s recommended weighted blanket:

“My Kuddly blanket arrives yesterday, beautifully packed with pretty bow. It's heavy and is taking a while to get use to as a fibromyalgia sufferer but although I slept for a shorter time last night I slept better according to my Fitbit app!!!”

Nikie D. (a happy Kuddly customer)

“I love my Kuddly so much! Great for pain and insomnia 💙.”

Eruanne J. (a Pain-Free Kuddly customer)

“I suffer from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome & find when I'm really sore it just helps ease pain as well, definitely worth this fantastic price”

Alison T. P. (a relaxed Kuddly customer)