The Cognitive Importance of Good Sleep

After a week of sur­viv­ing on min­im­al sleep you may assume that a lazy week­end will allow you to recov­er in time for the com­ing days. Not so: research has shown that not even a full week of qual­ity sleep can reverse the cog­nit­ive and physiolo­gic­al ‘dam­age’ just five days of poor sleep can inflict on us.

Jonah Lehr­er notes that it’s not just our cog­nit­ive func­tions that become impaired by a lack of sleep–it’s our immune sys­tem, too:

In a recent study for The Archives of Intern­al Medi­cine, sci­ent­ists fol­lowed 153 men and women for two weeks, keep­ing track of their qual­ity and dur­a­tion of sleep. Then, dur­ing a five-day peri­od, they quar­ant­ined the sub­jects and exposed them to cold vir­uses. Those who slept an aver­age of few­er than sev­en hours a night, it turned out, were three times as likely to get sick as those who aver­aged at least eight hours.

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