9 Surprising Reasons to Get More Sleep

From the WebMD Archives

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8. Better memory. Feeling forgetful? Sleep loss could be to blame. Studies have shown that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. If you don't get enough sleep, it seems like those memories might not get stored correctly -- and can be lost.

What's more, some research suggests that sleep decreases the chances of developing false memories. In several experiments, people were asked to look over a series of words. Later they were tested on what they remembered. People who didn't sleep in between were much more likely to "remember" a word that they hadn't actually seen before.

9. Stronger immunity. Could getting enough sleep prevent the common cold? One preliminary study put the idea to the test. Researchers tracked over 150 people and monitored their sleep habits for two weeks. Then they exposed them to a cold virus.

People who got seven hours of sleep a night or less were almost three times as likely to get sick as the people who got at least eight hours of sleep a night. More research is needed to establish a real link; this study was small and other factors may have influenced the results. Still, you can’t go wrong getting eight hours of sleep when possible.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on December 27, 2011

Sources

SOURCES:

Ronald Kramer, MD, Colorado Sleep Disorders Center, Englewood; spokesperson, American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Jodi A. Mindell, PhD, author, Sleep Deprived No More: From Pregnancy to Early Motherhood -- Helping You and Your Baby Sleep Through the Night; director, graduate program in psychology, St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia.

Thomas Roth, PhD, director, Sleep Disorders Center, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit.

Frank Scheer PhD, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Harvard Medical School, Boston.

American Diabetes Association. 

Barret-Connor, E. Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, July2008; vol 93: pp 2602–2609.

Cohen, S. Archives of Internal Medicine, Jan. 12, 2009; vol 169: pp 62-67.

Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine.

National Sleep Foundation. 

Scheer, F. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 17, 2009; vol 106: pp 4453-4458.

Taheri, S. PLoS Medicine, December 2004; vol 1: p e62.

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