The Healing Power of Sleep

8 of 26
Sharper Memory
When you're awake, your brain naturally builds up beta-amyloid (proteins that are a strong biomarker for Alzheimer's disease), but while you sleep, the brain flushes out some of those toxins. According to a recent study, older adults who reported regularly getting adequate rest had fewer beta-amyloid deposits in their brains than those who got less sleep.

Stronger Heart
A study of more than 30,000 adults found that those who slept for roughly seven hours were far less likely to develop heart disease than those who averaged only five hours. Skimping on sleep may disrupt your hormones and metabolism, and increase blood pressure and inflammation.

Slimmer Waistline
Brain scans in healthy adults reveal that a good night's sleep impacts areas of the brain that regulate your desire for high-calorie foods, according to 2013 research in Nature Communications. When presented with food options, study subjects wanted treats containing an average of 600 fewer calories when they were well rested compared with when they were sleepy.

—Jessica Migala

The 7 most convincing reasons to get 7 hours of sleep