Not getting a good night's sleep might be linked to shrinkage of the brain's gray matter over time, new research suggests. Faster deterioration of three parts of the brain was seen in mostly older adults who had poor sleep quality, though not necessarily too little sleep. Sleep difficulties included having trouble falling asleep, waking up during the night or waking up too early.
Recent studies show poor sleeping habits cause both brain damage and brain shrinkage, and may even accelerate onset of Alzheimers disease.
Previous research published in the journal Science revealed that your brain removes toxic waste during sleep through what has been dubbed the glymphatic system.
Poor Sleep Can Lead to Brain Shrinkage
According to recent research published in the journal Neurology, lack of sleep may affect the size of your brain. A total of 147 adult volunteers underwent MRI scans to assess the link between sleep and brain volume.
As it turns out, sleep problems like insomnia can have a distinct impact on your brain over time, causing it to shrinkand shrink more rapidly, compared to those who sleep well. This effect was particularly significant in those over 60. According to the authors:
Poor sleep quality was associated with reduced volume within the right superior frontal cortex in cross-sectional analyses, and an increased rate of atrophy within …
How to get that good night sleep? Doctors suggest getting into a routine bedtime ritual when hitting the sack. Stick to a regular schedule of going to bed and getting up at the same time, regardless of weekends or holidays. Make sure to get regular exercise during day and make sure to leave tablets and mobile devices out of the bedroom. While scientists of this week’s study are not sure if brain shrinking causes loss of sleep or the other way around, one thing is for sure – past research has already shown that losing all that brain volume will leave you stupider.
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