Nowadays it seems the busier our lives get, the more we put off getting a good night’s rest. But countless studies tell us that a lack of sleep has been linked to everything from depression, irritability, and poor concentration to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. Now, new evidence points to two more reasons to catch a few more ZZZs at night.
Deep Sleep Defends against Alzheimer’s
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland have determined that too little sleep may be putting people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in adulthood. That’s because the brain uses the hours during deep sleep to “clean house” by getting rid of harmful toxins, including those linked to Alzheimer’s disease. So, when we don’t get enough sleep, those toxins may be allowed to build up in the brain, which can lead to a breakdown in healthy brain function over time.
Too Little Sleep Linked to Overeating, Obesity
A University of Alabama study recently revealed that not getting enough sleep was linked to an increase in “secondary” eating and drinking throughout the day—that is, eating and drinking while doing something else, such as watching television. On average, lack of sleep was associated with 8.7 more minutes of secondary eating and 28.6 more minutes of secondary drinking per weekday (secondary drinking was slightly higher on the weekends). Researchers warn that such behavior leads to an increase in daily calories and may contribute to the risk of obesity and related health problems.