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Poor sleep habits can heighten health risks for your brain and body.

Doctors frequently recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Not only does a good night's rest leave us feeling rejuvenated the next morning and ready to take on the day at full strength, it also helps bolster our overall body and brain health.

It's not always easy to get those seven to nine hours, though, especially if you have work piling up and need to pull an all-nighter to get it finished. But staying up late can pose significant health risks, including:

  • ADHD-like symptoms
  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Greater risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Heightened obesity risk
  • Impaired judgment
  • Increased levels of stress
  • Irritability
  • Reduced testosterone
  • Slowed thought processes
  • Slower reaction time
  • Variable heart rate
  • Weakened memory support.

Some of us may try to balance out a lack of sleep with coffee or a caffeinated energy drink, but while these may give you a temporary energy boost, they ignore the chief health problem behind sleep deprivation: A build-up of toxic proteins in the brain.

"[A University of Rochester] study found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you're awake," writes Dr. Travis Bradberry on Forbes, adding that the brain can only effectively remove these proteins during sleep. "So when you don't get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think—something no amount of caffeine can fix."

Of course, it's not always possible to get eight hours of sleep every night, particularly if you have extenuating circumstances around like a newborn baby. But it's important for your overall well-being to get that amount of rest as often as possible.

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