Thomas Dekker once said: ‘Sleep is that golden chain which ties health and our bodies together.’ The connection between  health and sleep is obvious, as a late night followed by an early morning will demonstrate. However, it is the long-term effects of insufficient sleep that are startling. An article entitled ‘The Frightening Connection Between Lack of Sleep and a Shrinking Brain‘ looks at a new study undertaken at the University of Oxford which indicates that lack of sleep accelerates the natural decline in brain volume as we age. The article includes a list of signs that you may need more sleep.

The study contributes to a wider push by health experts to emphasise the serious health effects of poor sleep patterns, with Louis Ptacek, a neurology professor and sleep expert at UC San Francisco, hoping that the public will begin to prioritise sleep as part of a healthy lifestyle. He notes that the science of sleep has long way to go, stating: ‘We all spend a third of our lives doing it, and yet, the understanding of the importance of good quality sleep to our health is sort of where tobacco and smoking was 40 years ago.’

While we’re on the topic …

We must never underestimate the importance of health. Both for short-term and long-term advantages, it always pays to consider ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Ministry of Health information shows that cancer is the leading cause of death for New Zealanders, and its incidence is increasing every year. However, there are simple measures you can take the reduce the risk. The World Health Organization has published a useful guide with 12 ways to reduce the risk of cancer. Be sure to check it out.