What a week it has been. As many of you know I was in Hong Kong last week and I have been recovering ever since. Even with my jet lag prep (which worked very well) just the act of sitting on a plane for 16 hours, was exhausting, and difficult. That said I have had a chance to look at some very interesting studies this week. Come on over to my blog where you will learn:
- How insomnia is related to cognitive decline and dementia
- How mushrooms in your morning coffee can help with stress and sleep
#1 Insomnia – cognitive decline and demention
Insomnia is a topic that I try to cover regularly for everyone, and this study was exceptionally interesting. If you read my previous blog (INSERT LINK) then you may remember that a proposed mechanism for the association of primary insomnia and dementia was the idea that there was a buildup of a group of proteins involved in neurodegeneration. These proteins are present in the fluid surrounding brain cells, and during sleep, their clearance from these areas is increased. Therefore, the lack of a routine sleep-and-wake cycle may cause the buildup of these proteins and possibly lead to the faster onset of cognitive decline.
This Taiwanese study (published in BMC Psychiatry) analyzed the medical records from a national health insurance database looking at people who were diagnosed with primary insomnia (not due to a drug addiction or medical issue) and looked at what happened to them over the next 3 years. Here is what they found as reported by Medical News Bulletin:
The results showed that during the three-year follow-up period, 2.54% of patients with primary insomnia developed dementia compared to 1.34% of patients without primary insomnia. They statistically adjusted the data for age, sex, region and concurrent illnesses, and found that overall those diagnosed with primary insomnia were about twice as likely to be at risk for dementia. They also looked at how this compared across different age groups and rather surprisingly found that younger patients diagnosed with primary insomnia were more likely to develop dementia. This may support other research suggesting that changes in sleep patterns earlier in life have a more profound impact on a person’s health.
Of course, 3 years as a follow up may not have been enough time to really asses what is going on here, but the fact still remains that we continue to see an association between insomnia and other serious neurodegenerative disorders.
If you’d like to learn more, this article will give you more information and link to the other studies.
#2 Mushrooms in coffee
I was reading an article in Fast Company, about daylight savings prep, and the author mentioned drinking mushroom coffee. While I am starting to learn more about the benefits of certain mushrooms (adaptogens) I found a linked article about what happened to a reporter when they drank mushroom coffee for a month and was intrigued. The author reported switching to Mushroom Coffee after trying to get off regular caffeine.
Mushroom coffee, I learned, is just regular ground coffee with powders from medicinal mushrooms (it doesn’t taste like mushrooms at all, and the prep is the same as regular coffee). You can get it virtually anywhere but the author bought a brand at Whole Foods that contained a blend of certified organic and fair-trade 100% Arabica coffee with endurance-boosting cordyceps, calming chaga, and lion’s mane mushroom extracts.”
Here was what they reported: “With mushroom coffee, I feel energized and alert without feeling anxious, restless, or experiencing an accelerated heart rate. I feel grounded, too, and even find myself sleeping quite well, even on days when I have a cup of coffee at 3 or 4 p.m., which usually would have sabotaged my 10 p.m. bedtime and delayed my ability to fall asleep until well after midnight. I also don’t seem to have any digestive discomfort, another side effect I experienced while I was a regular coffee drinker. Even though the medical community needs more clinical trials to come to a research-backed conclusion, I’ve come to a verdict.”
This could be something we can all think about using in the future. The basic science on mushrooms states medicinal mushrooms are:
- Gut friendly
- Contain high levels of anti-oxidants
- Can reduce the effects of stress by supporting our adrenal health
An 8 ounce cup will still contain about 50mg of caffeine ( which is about ½ what we see in normal coffee.
After doing some research myself, I settled on Four Sigmatic mushroom coffee. I got in touch with them and if you want to try it, just click the link above and enter the code thesleepdoctor at checkout and you’ll get a very nice 10% discount.
Last week a few of you asked me to talk more about the Chilipad and the connection between body temperature and sleep. I’ll definitely do more on this topic and will probably create a video around it soon. In the meantime, you can watch this intervie I did about it with the founder of the company at CES this year. This is a great product that is really helping people control their temp during sleep cycles and it is especially helpful for women going through menopause.
Most popular Facebook post this week: Optimal Sleep Temperature and The Role of Thermoregulation
Most popular Twitter post this week: Bright Light Triggers Your Brain to Stay Awake
In the Media:
That’s it for this week, I hope your week is fantastic and I’d love to hear from you about what topics you’d like me to write about, so let me know!
Dr. Michael Breus