05 March 2009

Sleep - set your alarm for 7 hours exactly

I have been reading about the effect of sleep on brain health. There has been some interesting research conducted at Warwick University Medical School that shows that 7 hours seems to be about the right amount for most adults. Consistently less sleep results in memory loss and a slow down in our brain's ability to process information. Our minds go through all the information we learn in the day and saves the important stuff. Sleep allows that process to happen and provides recuperation - so if we don't have enough of it, how can we retain the learning from each day's events?
Interestingly, according to the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, too much sleep is as harmful as too little with some startling statistics on mortality - men who sleep for longer than eight hours a night are 24 per cent more likely to die early, and women who sleep longer were 17 per cent more likely to die early. What a sobering thought - probably won't be able to sleep knowing that!
What else can you add about the the effects of sleep on the brain?

1 comment:

  1. I find that if I get very tired I struggle to convert my thoughts into speech. I can think quite clearly but find that as I am speaking I will get words wrong. Most of the time I am aware of it and can compensate by speaking more slowly, but sometimes I inadvertently change the meaning of what I am saying be saying the wrong word. For example, if talking about two alternatives I might mix them up by referring to each in the wrong context.

    These symptoms are similar to a very mild form of Aaphasia, which is a condition where people struggle with both the production and comprehension of language. Interestingly, some people report similar symptoms associated with diabetes and drunkenness.

    Since the area of the brain that is essential in speech is located in the cerebral brain (the part known as Broca’s area) it suggests that tiredness, like drunkenness, affects the cerebral brain first.


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