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June 29, 2011 • Brain Health, Healthy Living

Sleep Vital for Brain Health

The importance of optimal sleep in terms of health and quality of life cannot be overstated.  Inadequate sleep has been consistently linked to a growing list of modern day ills including weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, emotional disorders and metabolic syndrome.  According to a new study, it appears to be a major “brain drain” too.  Researchers gave a battery of cognitive (brain) function tests to over 5000 middle age adults who had their sleep patterns monitored over the preceding 5 years.  Those reporting a decrease in sleep duration over the 5 year period to less than 7 hours of sleep a night scored lower on the brain function tests.  Researchers equated the magnitude of mental decline as equivalent to 4-7 years of brain aging vs. those who maintained optimal sleep patterns.  (Sleep, May 2011)

Based on the latest info from the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans gets less than 7 hours of sleep a night.  For optimal health and brain power, adults should strive for 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.


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