Worried you’re not sleeping enough? It’s a valid concern, seeing as you’re making your brain eat itself.
There’s nothing fun about being tired. Maybe if it’s a result of having been out late having a great time, there’s an upside, but once the morning hits, it’s generally bad news. You feel edgy and wish that every cup is a coffee cup, helping you count the hours until you get to hit the hay and crash.
Besides generally avoiding feeling grumpy and uncomfortable, there are numerous medical reasons for getting enough rest at night.
Here are 4 reasons to tuck in early and get enough shut-eye:
1) To Keep on Learning
It’s hard to focus without enough sleep. Why? Researchers have just recently figured that out.
Sleep and brain scientists from the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recently conducted a study that proved why deep sleep is so important for humans. Basically, when we go about our day awake, life alerts the nerve connections in our brain.
Our synapses are excited and for new connections, and it’s only once we finally fall asleep that they relax.
Related: 5 Ways You Can Sleep ‘Smarter’
If you don’t fall asleep, the nerve connections stay fully excited and our brain can’t make the changes it needs to, that result in ‘learning’. The roads are blocked off and it’s only once we sleep that our brain can finish the process.
2) So Your Brain Doesn’t Eat Itself
This sounds crazy, but apparently it’s true. A recent study has shown that when you become tired, certain cells called astrocytes act like vacuums in your brain. The guys clean up the mess left over when the nerve connections in your brain break apart.
How do they do it? By eating the brain cell debris. Yum.
The vacuuming that astrocytes do is a good thing…but if you truly don’t want your brain to resort to eating itself, go to bed.
3) To Prevent Alzheimer’s
Diseases that cause dementia are still a big mystery to the medical world. You can read all sorts of advice in any given week advising you how to avoid it. Do crosswords, stay social and active, eat the right vegetables, be happy, the list goes on.
Truth is, no one really knows what causes people to lose their memories and the ability to learn, and there’s likely a large genetic component to developing something like Alzheimer’s. So, take the following advice with a large grain of salt.
Researchers have found that if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain starts to display “ominous signs of activity that leads to Alzheimer’s.”
4) To Save Your Heart
If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re making your heart work overtime. Lab tests have shown that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night are about twice as likely to die of heart disease or stroke, than those who get more.
Scared yet? Hopefully not enough to give you nightmares. If so, you can always check out these tips on fighting off insomnia.
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