Numerous sleep studies have been conducted to determine how sleep affects the human body and overall health. However, no studies have specifically looked into how sleep affects the brain in aging adults. In efforts to answer this question, Chinese researchers reviewed MRI scans, health questionnaires and cognitive tests on 66 Chinese adults over the age of 55. They then repeated this 2 years later and compared the data. Their findings indicate that those who slept less had more age-related brain shrinkage and an increased decline in cognitive performance. Sleep plays a crucial role in cellular repair and memory consolidation. Lack sleep and you’ll starve your body’s ability to heal, repair and regenerate. Researchers offered the following tips to those who struggle with adequate sleep - Avoid napping during the day, keep your bedroom dark and quiet, have a comfortable mattress, avoid alcohol and cigarettes, and avoid activities that excite your brain and body close to bedtime.