No matter what age we are, most of us experience the odd memory lapse such as forgetting where your keys are or what you went upstairs to get. Thankfully these moments pass, unlike those suffering with dementia. Today, Daily Mail explains how sleep helps to minimise memory problems and help those with dementia to live as full a life as possible.
If the brain is tired, it affects the memory even for those without dementia. Recently, scientists have found out why. During deep sleep, brain waves move memories from the hippocampus - the area of the brain that is involved in short-term memory - to the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain, where long-term memories are stored.
Getting a good night's sleep can be especially difficult for those with dementia, especially those with Alzheimer's disease who may experience changes to their sleeping patterns. It has not been confirmed why this happens, but it may be related to the impact the condition has on the brain. But there are steps that can make it easier.
One step includes avoiding caffeine - coffee or tea - in the evening. A regular bedtime routine is also important as this gives the body the cues it needs to feel sleepy at set times, making it easier to fall asleep.
Although many people believe a nightcap will help them sleep, alcohol is counter-productive and tends to make you wake in the night. It is a diuretic and, therefore, you are likely to wake up needing to go to the loo. It is also known to reduce the amount of the night you spend in deep, restorative sleep.
For more advice and sleep tips, visit our Sleep Toolkit.