Science Says The Fountain Of Youth Lies In Our Sleep Patterns

It’s no surprise that the quality of our sleep is important, but researchers are now pinpointing deep sleep as the best natural preventative we have for aging, dementia and memory loss.

According to a new review from the University of California, Berkeley, our lack of deep sleep, which tends to only become more of a problem as we get older, plays a significant role in keeping us mentally sharp and spry. Without it, we are more susceptible to both mental and physical disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and strokes. And it’s a self-perpetuating cycle because the part of our brains that give us deep sleep is the part of our brains that tends to deteriorate first.

“Nearly every disease killing us in later life has a causal link to lack of sleep,” senior author Matthew Walker said in a statement. “We’ve done a good job of extending lifespan, but a poor job of extending our health span. We now see sleep, and improving sleep, as a new pathway for helping remedy that.”

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While poor sleep more commonly impacts the mental capacities of older people, the age at which deep sleep problems become relevant is surprising low. The researchers suggest that struggling to achieve and maintain a deep sleep state can start as early as your 30s, and if you’re one to avoid prioritizing sleep, you could suffer in some pretty big ways when it comes to your cognitive and physical health.

What’s more, common and popular sleep aids are unable to help people reach deep sleep and stay there for a longer period of time because they act as sedatives rather than initiating the body’s natural sleep cycle. So if you think popping a pill could be the solution to your wrecked sleep routine, think again.

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If you really want to take advantage of the fountain of youth that exists within your own body — and avoid major health issues down the line — it’s time to ditch some of the Netflix binges, cut back on the number of wild nights out each week and just go to bed already. It’s a balancing act for sure, but we doubt you’ll be upset by the opportunities to log more hours in your cozy bed. And you won’t be missing much else by doing so — trust us on that one.