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Everyone is familiar with the mental fogginess, physical lethargy and irritability that comes after a failure to get a good night’s sleep. These symptoms only get worse the longer you continue with a poor sleep pattern, undermining everything from your productivity at work to your personal health. However, as this TED talk by neuroscientist Jeff Iliff points out, there are even more reasons why you need to be careful about whether you’re getting enough sleep.
As it turns out, the very health of your brain may depend on whether you’re getting the right amount of sleep at the right times of day. Iliff presents compelling new research showing that the brain’s ability to absorb and get rid of particular nutrients is intimately connected with restful sleep. The work he discusses not only helps to explain why you might have experienced the specific effects of sleep deprivation mentioned above, but also sheds promising new light on how sleep may relate to the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in older age. As Iliff lucidly clarifies in layman’s terms, the key lies in understanding how a certain waste product is excreted from your central nervous system, and why it can cause damage if it isn’t removed effectively.
If you’ve ever felt proud of yourself for surviving on very little sleep, or praised yourself for being more strong-willed than those who commit to a full eight hours every night, this video will convince you to change your perspective. By ensuring you get enough rest now, you could be securing your future mental health and your chances of staying sharp well into your twilight years.