Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

March 9, 2014

ED VASICEK: Cutting back sleep has unhealthy side effects

Deficit can lead to dementia, deviant behavior

(Continued)

“What this means is that if you want to have strong self-control, you need to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. My research shows that sleep on a given night predicts unethical behavior the next day, through the causal mechanism of self-control. A colleague of mine found that losing as little as two hours of sleep (sleeping six hours instead of eight) led to deviant behavior at work the next day, again because of the effects of sleep on self-control.”

Getting enough sleep — and the right kind of sleep — may be an important factor in Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to Melanie Haikin of Forbes magazine, “When you sleep, your brain undergoes a mop-up process that removes waste products linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia, according to new research published yesterday in the online version of Science.

“A team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) used high-tech imaging to look deep into the brains of mice and discovered that the brain functions differently while asleep than awake, ridding itself of accumulated proteins at a much faster rate ...

“Led by Maiken Nedergaard, M.D., who co-directs the URMC’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine, the researchers discovered that a waste-draining system they call the ‘glymphatic system’ is ten times more active during sleep than while awake. This nocturnal cleaning system removes proteins called amyloid-beta, which accumulate into the plaques that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”

The pace and distracting technologies of modern life demand more of us than we have time to offer, and our attempts to cut the corners have consequences. Gravitating toward fast foods, less sleep and biting off more than we can chew (and the consequential stress) is a dangerous proposition.

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@gmail.com.

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