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Rarely do we get enough sleep, or at least that’s how it feels.

Proper rest correlates with mental wellness, happiness, lower stress levels, healthy weight loss and a stronger immune system. So, it’s no wonder that many of us may feel a little cranky when we first open our eyes to a new morning. That good night’s rest not only feels amazing, but it’s good for us, too.

Lack of proper sleep, however, can spell trouble. It can bog us down, reduce our productivity at work or home and can even point to bigger health problems.

As an advocate of caregivers and family members of dementia patients, I was alarmed by a new study suggesting that not getting enough Zs can be a sign of developing Alzheimer’s down the road. The study examined 101 people of various ages, and asked them to complete sleep surveys and provide the scientists samples of their cerebrospinal fluid, which has shown to predict Alzheimer’s based on its levels. In fact, lower levels of this fluid are one of the most reliable factors for predicting the disease.

This is the key finding: Those with more sleep problems had lower levels of the fluid. The study considered subject sleep quality and daytime drowsiness.

Authors of the study cannot say that lack of sleep can help cause Alzheimer’s, however, but those who are at risk should make sleep a priority.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seven hours of sleep. So, for those who feel they are not getting enough sleep, it’s time to pay closer attention to what that can mean.

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