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7 Surprising Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep

7 Surprising Consequences of Not Getting Enough Sleep

Most of us get a good night’s sleep when it’s convenient. Or when we’re so tired we can’t keep our eyes open. But research and experts argue that a good night’s sleep needs to be a priority, not a luxury.

Here are seven reasons you need to start taking sleep deprivation seriously and get your recommended eight hours of sleep every night. If you tend to toss and turn at night, there are suggestions below on small changes you can make to help you get restful sleep.

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1. It drags down your sex drive.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “cutting back on sleep drastically reduces a healthy young man’s testosterone levels,” One of the many negative effects of reduced testosterone is lowered libido.

2. It can lead you to make tragic mistakes.

The Huffington Post says sleep deprivation played a role in Chernobyl, the Three Mile Island accident, the Challenger explosion, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the American Airlines Flight 1420 crash.

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3. It impairs you as a driver.

According to the CDC, “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013.” These statistics become more even alarming when the article states “an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days.”

4. It makes it hard to lose weight or prevents weight gain.

WebMD reports that “in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.” This certainly isn’t helpful for weight loss, and additional studies support the idea that if you want to get slim, you need to get sleep.

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5. It can lead to serious health problems.

Healthline reports that “sleep deprivation can lead to higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.”

6. It can contribute to depression.

The National Sleep Foundation says “sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.” This can turn into a vicious circle because depression, in turn, is suspected to interfere with sleep.

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7. It messes with your moods.

A Harvard Med article reports that “University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.” (Here’s the research study’s abstract.)

How to get a good night’s sleep

Hopefully this post has inspired you to strive for better sleep. Experts recommend adults make it a priority to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, here are a few tips:

  • The Mayo Clinic warns that “the stimulating effects of nicotine and caffeine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep.” So you might want to consider passing on a soda at dinner or an evening smoke.
  • Dr. Michael J. Breus of The Huffington Post recommends making your bedroom cool and dark to create a sleep-friendly environment.
  • The National Sleep Foundation encourages you to invest in a comfortable mattress and nice pillows. And it also says to “use your bed only for sleep and sex to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.”
  • Here’s a surprising tip from Kansas State University: “Never oversleep.” The university’s article argues you should get up at the same time every day because “sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle–you’ll be getting sleepy later and waking up later.” Upon further research, I found this opinion to be fairly common. Sticking to a sleep schedule increases the chances your body will be tired at bedtime.

Try these ideas to get a better night’s sleep and to avoid the surprising consequences of not having enough sleep. Your health, your safety, and your sex drive might depend on it.

Featured photo credit: 40+293 Snooze/bark via flickr.com

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Kyle Young

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

More About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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