"Getting enough sleep helps many brain functions," Ramos said. "It is restorative, it lets you concentrate better and process new information better and faster."
It is not clear why too much sleep may be unhealthy, Ramos said. However, he speculates, it may be a sign of other health problems.
Ramos added that to stay healthy, sleep is as important as eating well and being physically active.
"We have to think of sleep the same way as we think about diet and exercise," Ramos said. "If we want to have a healthy lifestyle we think of diet and exercise, but part of the equation is that good sleep should be part of having a healthy lifestyle for healthy aging."
For more information on sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation.
SOURCES: Jane Ferrie, Ph.D., senior research fellow, department of epidemiology and public health, University College London Medical School; Alberto Ramos, M.D., co-director, Health Sleep Medicine Program, and assistant professor, clinical neurology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; May 1, 2011, Sleep
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