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In recent years science is confirming what we all inherently know about sleep: It hurts our brains when we don’t ...
In recent years science is confirming what we all inherently know about sleep: It hurts our brains when we don’t get enough.
According to a study published in the October 2013 edition of the journal Science, a vital function of sleep is to clean toxic proteins that accumulate in our brains while we are awake. Similar to a personal computer, the brain can only perform this necessary clean-up procedure during sleep.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are linked to protein build-up in the brain, suggesting that there may be a connection between lack of sleep and certain neurological ailments.
A study from 2010 published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), showed that just one night of sleep reduced from eight hours to four hours resulted in less glucose tolerance (insulin sensitivity) by 19 to 25 per cent.
Another study, led by Lisa Rafalson at the University of Buffalo in 2009, showed that over a six-year period, individuals who slept under six hours per night were 4.5 times more likely to develop abnormal blood sugar levels than those those who slept more. Research published in the November 7, 2013 volume of the journal Nature suggests that the brain plays an important part in regulating glucose and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Finally, a meta-analysis in 2010 by British and Italian researchers found that over a 25-year period, people who slept less than six hours a night were 12 per cent more likely to die than those who slept six to eight hours. The data came from 16 studies involving a total of 1.5 million people. Yet, was it lack of sleep that caused the fatal health problems or was poor sleep a symptom of poor health?