Sleep - Too Little? Too Much?

Florence Cardinal Health Guide
  • Sleep is one of the necessities of life along with water, food and air. But just how much sleep do we need? What is too much? What is too little, and how does sleep affect our health?

    A new study, reported in Science News, explains that Alzheimer's is linked to lack of sleep. Plaques of Alzheimer's increase in the brains of mice and also inĀ  the spinal fluid of people during wakefulness. These plaques destroy brain cells and lead to Alzheimer's disease.

    Peter Meerlo, a neuroscientist at the University of Gronginen in the Netherlands says, "This is the first experimental study that clearly shows that disrupted sleep may contribute to the disease process." Dr. Meerlo also warns that this could become a vicious circle if sleep loss leads to Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's leads to more sleep loss.

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    It's a well known fact that sleep deprivation can lead to both mental and physical health problems. But is there such a thing as too much sleep?

    Researchers at Warwick Medical School in the UK report that too much sleep is as dangerous as too little. In fact, people who increase the hours of sleep from seven hours to eight or more were more than twice as likely as likely within the ensuing 11 to 17 years.

    One of the increased risks of too much sleep is the development of dementia, especially in people over 65.

    So, it seems to live a longer, productive life, it's necessary to set a happy medium, and that medium isn't eight hours as previously thought, but seven hours of sleep, and that includes daytime naps as well as nighttime sleep.

    In sleep, as in all things, it seems we must use moderation.

Published On: September 30, 2009