Sleep Matters to Your Health

Early to bed and early to rise really does make a difference according to the latest research.  Check out these sleep facts and give yourself a sleep grade.

1)      Sleep and Memory-

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to storing knowledge gained during the day.   The idea that sleep helps you consolidate memories and store them for the future is well known.  Now, new research shows that getting sleep before you learn is also important.

In a recent study, volunteers who took a 100 minute nap before tackling a big memorization task scored 20 percent higher on the memory exam when compared to people who did not sleep prior to the test.

2)      Sleep and Stress –

To function well, sleep is as important as air, water and food.  But stress can have a negative effect on sleep-wakefulness cycles.  Recent studies show that insomniacs suffering the highest level of sleep deprivation were found to secrete the highest amount of cortisol.  Elevated cortisol, a major stress hormone, contributes to bone loss and suppresses the immune system.

3)      Sleep and Lifespan –

Getting less than 6 hours of sleep is now reportedly linked to a 12% increased risk of premature death.  And surprisingly for adults, getting more than 9 hours of sleep a night is linked to a 30% increased risk of premature death.   Keep in mind that growing teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hours).

So plump your pillow, darken your room and hit the hay.  Your brain and your body will thank you.

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