Friday, May 1, 2015

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential to our health. A deficit can compromise your immune system, cause inflammation, lead to memory loss and weight gain, hamper reflexes and decision-making skills. Lack of sleep can increase the risk of chronic diseases and type 2 diabetes. In fact, women who logged six or less hours of sleep had a 62% higher risk of developing breast cancer.

Researchers report that, during sleep, our brains flush out toxins that build up when we're awake. The restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the byproducts of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness.

The brain includes a network of passageways between the cells that control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. These passageways undergo dramatic changes during sleep. Sleep increases the circulation space by 60%, allowing room for unnecessary byproducts to be flushed from the brain.

Nearly every neurodegenerative disorder is associated with a buildup of toxic proteins. Researchers suspect the accumulation of these proteins kill neurons and lead to dementia. Sleep appears to support the brain's innate ability to identify and dump these damaging proteins.

In our fast-paced lives, sleep may be the first thing we sacrifice to "get more done". Prioritizing regular sleep hours can be good for your mind and your body. In addition, when we are well-rested, we are more likely to use positive communication in important relationships. We are nicer when we aren't tired!

Get Some Sleep, Stay Active and Enjoy Your Food!

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