Did you know you are harming your brain when you don’t get your zzz’s?
During the holidays, we try to get to all of the parties and stay out late, not thinking what it could be doing to our body. That sleep deficit you’ve been accumulating has real and dangerous implications for your brain, and not just because it makes you sleepy during the day. Sleeping less than seven or either hours a night has been linked to cognitive decline, memory loss and possibly even Alzheimer’s, new research shows.
Most people think that when you sleep, your brain goes to sleep too. But it turns out that parts of your brain are several times more active at night than during the day. One of them is a newly discovered drainage system which is called the glymphatic system, which is kind of like your city’s sewage and recycling system; its job it to clear out and recycle all your brain’s toxins. One protein very actively recycled during sleep is involved in developing amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. No one is saying that Alzheimer’s is all caused by sleep deprivation, but may be a factor.
Important body functions and brain activity occur during sleep. Skipping sleep can be harmful, even deadly, particularly if one is behind the wheel. Sleepiness can make it hard to get along with others, can hurt scores on school exams, and can have an effect on the court or on the field performance. Remember: a brain hungry for sleep will get it, even when you don’t expect it. For example, drowsiness and falling asleep at the wheel causes more than 100,000 car crashes each year.
This holiday season, take time to get the proper rest you need. Your life depends on it!