According to the CDC, almost half of the adult population—an estimated 70 million Americans—doesn’t get enough sleep. But making sure you get your 40 winks is crucial. Research shows that failing to get enough sleep is detrimental to your overall health, and especially the health of your noggin.
Confirming the intricate relationship between sleep and brain functioning, a new study published in the journal Current Biology found that our brains don’t simply tune out while we doze; rather, they are quite busy organizing and storing away memories of events. The researchers discovered that sleep activates a slew of electrical pulses and neurons in the brain that process information from the day and balance out hormones, enzymes, and proteins in the body. In fact, an earlier study found that long-term sleep deprivation can even kill off these neurons over time. So you’re not just snoozing—you’re improving your mental health, boosting your immune system, and repairing your body.
Furthermore, a lack of quality z’s can take a toll on your waistline. Numerous studies have explored the ways in which sleep deprivation leads to numerous health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. All compelling reasons to hit the hay earlier tonight.
So how much shuteye do we really need? The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults log at between seven to eight hours of slumber, while children and teenagers need even more than that. Your brain has a 24/7 job, so give it what it needs. The best thing you can do is sleep on it!
Tune in below to learn more about the fascinating link between sleep and cognitive functioning: