By Eve Whittenburg, Writer/Editor, SkinnyMs.
An average of eight hours of sleep has always been the recommendation by doctors and scientists; any less than that and we are likely to feel groggy and sluggish during the next day. Why? Following recommendations and advice is much easier when we know exactly why and how that advice will affect us. Why is sleep good for us?
As with the rest of your body, your brain repairs itself while you sleep. Much like a tune up on your computer, your brain mends and sorts all the information it has taken in throughout the day as you sleep. It makes sure that information is retained and stored exactly where you need it for future reference. These repairs come in set stages during your sleep cycle, which is why is it important to get a certain amount of sleep each night. This is also why teachers always warn against all-night cramming for exams. You won’t remember much from an all-nighter with a sleep-deprived brain.
In a sleep study at Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers found that lack of proper sleeping patterns among the elderly led to a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. The study’s participants showed less coordination in their default, or resting, mode. This same default mode in the brain is involved in the introspection process, or your mental and emotional processes.
It seems the old eight hour recommendation holds true. Not only will a good night’s sleep help you feel better during the day, but it can guard against Alzheimer’s. While this research is still in early stages, the researchers assert that even missing a couple hours out of your regular sleep cycle can seriously hamper your mind’s and body’s performance.