Three scientific reasons to prioritize sleep

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – We hear it all the time: get your sleep.

It’s good for your health. But the question is why? Below are just a few reasons to prioritize your shut-eye, according to science.

Sleep keeps your brain sharp

Without proper sleep, brain plasticity — or the brain’s ability to receive, adapt and process information — is compromised. This is why a poor night’s sleep is often followed by forgetfulness and an overall feeling of fogginess the next day. Additionally, researchers at Boston University found during sleep the fluid in the brain and spinal cord, called cerebrospinal fluid, washes out and eliminates metabolic waste that accumulates in the brain.

Lack of sleep is linked to chronic illnesses

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of sleep is linked to a higher risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Duration and quality of sleep are linked to blood sugar levels. Optimizing both sleep duration and quality can help improve blood sugar control in people with Type 2 diabetes. Heart disease is also common among people who don’t get sufficient sleep, specifically hypertension, stroke and coronary artery disease, all of which put a person at risk for premature death.

Sleep is good for mental health

A complex relationship exists between sleep and mental health. According to the Sleep Foundation, sufficient sleep, specifically REM sleep, facilitates “the brain’s processing of emotional information.” When we don’t get enough of it, positive memories can get distorted, which is harmful for emotional health. This can result in anxiety, depression and overall poor quality of life.  


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