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World Sleep Day: How scientific studies relate eating pizza, binge-watching to your sleep

Love to binge-watch your favourite Netflix or Amazon Prime series before bed? Science says what you probably already know: It’s bad for your sleep patterns and can negatively impact your life.Sleep is a real issue. So let’s talk science: On World Sleep Day (March 16), we look at what various researches have to say about it or lack of it. From studies finding a correlation between sleep deprivation and wanting more food to a study that will make you want to skip dessert.

1. Binge-watchers have higher rates of poor sleep quality, insomnia, fatigue Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research in Belgium published a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine looking at how binge-watching affects young people’s sleep patterns. They had 423 participants ages 18 to 25, and roughly 61% of them were female. These subjects answered a series of questions about their binge-watching habits, sleep quality, fatigue, and insomnia over the course of a month.What did the scholars find?Roughly four-fifths of participants called themselves binge-watchers, and 40% of those respondents said they’d binge-watched something during the previous month. Women binge-watched more frequently than men did, but men binge-watched for twice as long as women when they did. Additionally, people who binge-watched had higher rates of poor sleep quality, insomnia, and fatigue; binge-watching was to blame for almost one-third of people who reported bad sleep patterns. We’re just as upset as you.2. More sleep means your brain cleanses itself of toxins more effectivelyWe know it’s tough to get in extra zzz’s during weekdays, so make sure you sleep in when you can on the weekends. Your clean, happy brain will thank you later when you’re toxin-free.Apparently extra zzz’s make a lot of difference. While you may get a break from the day’s grind while sleeping, your brain is actually incredibly busy. A study from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the brain’s waste removal system is highly active during a snooze session, thanks in large part to cell shrinkage. To put that in English: When you sleep, cells in your brain get much smaller, allowing it to more effectively cleanse itself of toxins that can easily accumulate. Sounds exhausting, right?

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