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Give Yourself a Good Night's Sleep This Season

Experts offer six important reasons why slumber is essential

THURSDAY, Dec. 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- If you scrimp on sleep, you could be setting yourself up for health problems, according to the Harvard Women's Health Watch.

It offers six good reasons to make sure you get enough sleep:

  • To remember. Sleep helps learning and memory. While you sleep, your brain commits new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation.
  • To stay slim. Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way your body processes and stores carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that control appetite.
  • To stay safe. If you don't get enough sleep during the night, you're more likely to feel sleepy during the day, which increases your risk of falls and mistakes such as traffic accidents and work errors.
  • To stay happy. Lack of sleep can result in irritability, impatience, problems with concentration, and moodiness. Sleep loss can also make you too tired to do activities you enjoy.
  • To stay heart-healthy. Research has found a link between serious sleep disorders and hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  • To stay strong.Lack of sleep weakens your immune system.

More information

The National Sleep Foundation has more about sleep.

SOURCE: Harvard Women's Health Watch, news release, Dec. 16, 2005
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