Cut your stroke risk overnight

There's nothing quite as scary as a stroke.

It can happen anytime... anywhere... to anyone, often striking without any warning.

One moment, everything's fine.

The next, your world has changed forever -- because stroke is not only one of the nation's leading causes of death, it's also a top cause of disability in seniors.

So of course it's scary.

But today, I'm going to take some of that fear factor out of the equation and help even the score -- because you CAN cut your risk of stroke, and the latest research shows how.

Sleep better!

Odds are, you're not sleeping as well as you should. Don't worry; you're not alone. Sleep disorders are among the most common health problems in the nation, especially among seniors.

Some folks have trouble falling asleep. Others can't stay asleep. And millions more face problems DURING sleep.

Each of these conditions can increase your risk of suffering a stroke -- and afterward, those same sleep problems can mess up your recovery.

The biggest risk factors are "sleep-disordered breathing" (SDB) conditions such as room-shaking snores and sleep apnea, the condition where you stop breathing in the night.

The new study finds strong links between SDB conditions like apnea and ischemic stroke, or the classic blockage in the flow of blood to the brain responsible for nearly nine out of 10 strokes.

Problems with breathing during sleep were also linked to hemorrhagic stroke, or a "rupture" in a brain artery. They were even linked to "mini" strokes, although to a much lesser extent.

While SDB conditions had the biggest link to stroke, other sleep problems such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and over-sleeping also boosted the odds.

And all of these sleep problems can lead to a more difficult recovery afterward.

The analysis of 29 studies involving 2,343 stroke victims doesn't show why these sleep problems can worsen stroke recovery, but it's pretty easy to figure out.

Your brain was designed with a pretty handy built-in repair kit, and it's far more precise than anything a surgeon can do. It's amazing, really -- because your brain can rewire its connections and sweep out bad cells in an effort to fix the damage and regain control.

But these repairs only happen when you're asleep.

If you can't fall asleep... if you wake up too much or too early... or if your sleep is interrupted by pauses in your breathing... the brain can't fix itself, and you're left with lasting damage or even disability.

So whether you've had a stroke or are just looking to avoid one, gain control over sleep problems.

The biggest one is apnea -- and while the study finds a CPAP oxygen mask can help limit the damage, I've got a solution that's far more permanent.

Lose some weight.

Apnea is almost always caused by weight gain, and dropping a few pounds will usually ease or cure it.

There's also one more thing you can do. It's simple, easy and won't cost you a dime -- and you can read all about it for free right here.