June 17, 2015
In the news every day we read about tragic accidents that occurred when the driver had not gotten enough sleep. Most of us are aware that lack of sleep impairs attention, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving. This is obvious to anyone who has ever tried to work effectively after a night of tossing and turning! But did you know:
- When we sleep, our blood pressure drops, our muscles relax and receive more blood flow, and tissue growth and repair can occur. This is important for anyone who is recovering from an injury. Sleep promotes improved healing rates!
- When we sleep, energy is provided to the brain and the body. Hormones, such as growth hormone, are released. Sleep improves mental acuity!
- When we sleep, there is a decrease in the hormone ghrelin (which stimulates the appetite.) At the same time, there is an elevation in the hormone leptin (which suppresses appetite by signaling a feeling of fullness to the brain). A lack of sleep stimulates appetite and also stimulates cravings for high-fat/ high-carbohydrate foods!
How to ensure a good night’s sleep? Sleepfoundation.org offers these tips:
- Make your room a “sleep haven” by keeping it cool, quiet, and dark.
- Do not eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
- Work on adjusting your “body clock” by choosing a relaxing bedtime routine. For example, try avoiding computer games, loud music, and challenging mental activity about an hour before bedtime. Avoid staying up later on weekends.
Studies show that chronic sleep loss can lead to cardiac disease, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes. Studies are documenting that just one night of less than six hours of sleep can affect the expression of more than 700 genes the next day. This leads to increased inflammation and decreased cell repair.
Make sure you are getting your Zzzzzz’s!
- National Sleep Foundation. Website sleepfoundation.org.
- Website www.webmd.com/sleep disorders3.
- Psychology Today. Website psychologytoday.com/blog/the-healing-factor/201303/the-healing-significance-sleep.