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Rest Your Brain for a Slimmer Shape and Smoother Skin

Chapter 10 from "Change Your Brain, Change Your Body" by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

“Sleep plays a major role in preparing the body and brain for an alert, productive, psychologically and physiologically healthy tomorrow.” James Maas, PhD, Power Sleep

You know how bad you look and feel after a night of poor sleep. You feel like your head is glued to the pillow, and you can barely muster the energy to get out of bed. You shuffle to the bathroom, turn on the light, and come face to face with puffy bags and dark circles under your eyes. You head outside for your usual thirty-minute jog but stop after ten minutes because you feel whipped. Then you head to work where you snap at your coworkers and customers because you are in a foul mood. It isn’t a pretty picture, is it?

Good sleep is essential for optimal brain and body health. It is involved in rejuvenating all the cells in your body, gives brain cells a chance to repair themselves, and activates neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate due to inactivity. It is also necessary if you want to have glowing skin, high energy, a sunny mood, excellent health, and stable weight. Unfortunately, as many as 70 million Americans have trouble sleeping. If you are one of them, your brain and body could be in trouble.


Many Americans aren’t getting the sleep they need. According to the 2009 Sleep in America Poll, Americans are averaging only six hours and forty minutes of sleep on workdays and school nights. People tend to squeeze in an extra twenty-seven minutes of sleep on weekends. Even more disturbing, the percentage of people getting less than six hours of sleep has risen from 12 percent in 1998 to 20 percent in 2009 while the percentage of Americans getting a good eight hours a night has decreased from 35 percent in 1998 to 28 percent in 2009. The numbers reveal that getting a good night’s sleep is becoming little more than an elusive dream for many Americans. Chronic sleep problems affect millions of us. Temporary sleep issues are even more common and will affect almost every one of us at some point in our lifetime.

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