The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Health: Sleep Well

Do you wake without an alarm clock feeling refreshed?  Can you start your day without that cup of coffee to wake up and get going?  if your answer is no to these questions then you are not getting your adequate amount of sleep.

You are not alone.  Surveys that have be done by the UK Sleep Council and the YouGov show what one out of every three people suffer from lack of sleep.

The consequences are dire from lack of sleep. They range from early onset of Alzheimers, weight gain, decreases in athletic performance, contributing to development of cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and a contributing factor to psychiatric conditions such as depression and even suicidal tendencies.

As Matthew Walker states in his books on sleeping:  the shorter you sleep the shorter your life!  The following tips are taken from his book, ‘Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams.’

When you don’t get enough sleep you don’t enter into deep sleep where the brain’s lymphatic system kicks into high gear. When this happens the brain cleans itself of a sticky toxic protein called beta amyloid linked to Alzheimer’s.

With each night of lack of sleep, this sticky substance builds up quickly leading to this crippling disease.

Lack of sleep contributes to weight gain because it increases concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry and at the same time suppresses another hormone that tells you that you are satiated and content with your food intake. Studies show that adequate sleep is a powerful tool in controlling appetite, weight gain and keeping a person’s body nice and trim.

The studies show that inadequate sleep has an important influence on athletic performance, too. Physical exhaustion happens sooner, there is a drop in aerobic output, arm and leg extension force and jump height are reduced and muscle strength is reduced. Not to mention the poor cardiac, metabolic and respiratory effects resulting in higher injury risks by 200 percent

When we sleep less than our normal need of 7 to 9 hours, it compromises our immune system as well, and weakens our bodies ability to prevent cancer.  So much so, that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that night-time shift-work as a possible carcinogen.

Not getting adequate sleep will also interfere with blood sugar levels in such a great way that a person would be determined to be pre-diabetic. 

And lack of sleep even by one hour during the daylight savings time change increases heart attacks by 24%.  This was discovered in a world-wide experiment with 1.6 billion people in 60 countries.  When the time changed back to standard time and people increased their sleep by one hour there was a 21% decrease in heart attacks.

A lack of adequate sleep also affects us psychologically, as well.  It contributes to all major psychiatric conditions.  As Charlotte Bronte, the writer, once wrote: a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.

So let’s all get a good night sleep every night!

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