Why can’t you sleep?
Another sleepless night-and yet you eat well, exercise regularly, avoid caffeine and screen time before bed…and have made your room a Pinterest picture of a good night’s sleep. So what’s to blame?
We’ll get to that shortly. First, here’s why not sleeping well is a bad thing: It is linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other health conditions. “There is also mood disturbance, often depression,” says Eva Libman, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist in Montreal. “Cognitive function and performance are impaired. And if there is a pain condition, it is exacerbated by inadequate sleep.”
Getting enough quality sleep has a restorative effect and can even clear the brain of toxins, as a 2013 study by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York and NYU Langone Medical Center identified. According to the study, published in the journal Science, “the restorative function of sleep may be a consequence of the enhanced removal of potentially neurotoxic waste products that accumulate in the awake central nervous system.” This “brainwashing” also removes beta-amyloid, a peptide that can accumulate, forming plaque on nerve cells. Notes Libman, this is associated with the development of dementia.
Here are the most common sleep stealers and how to best fight them.