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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Sep 24, 2014 11:26AM ● Published by Dia

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

 The impact of not getting enough sleep and the right kind of sleep can have devastating consequences on the human body.  Sleep is a necessity for normal bodily function and is a necessary function for both psychological and physiological health.

 Society has embraced the technology boom, but the human body is taking a beating for it.  Over the past 40 years, there has been a significant change in the amount of sleep that Americans have been getting.  While adults averaged 8.5 hours per night in 1960, recent research shows that they now average about 1.5 hours less.  

The Lack of Sleep

Maybe the most recognized side effect of sleep deprivation is a decrease in mental functions.  Learning and memory are greatly reduced when people miss getting a good night of sleep.  The brain needs to rest in order for it to take in new information. 

 Sleeping is also a vital part of maintaining a proper weight because it allows the body to process carbohydrates and also helps maintain proper levels of hormones that are responsible for appetite control.  The University of Chicago conducted a study on sleep and obesity.  They found that subjects that slept for 4 hours a night for two nights in a row had a change in hormone levels.  Leptin, a hormone that tells the brain that it is full, was decreased by 18%. Ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger was increased 28%. 

The body repairs cells and tissues while we sleep, helping maintain a young looking outward appearance.   When you miss sleep, your body is unable to properly manage endocrine function, which in turn speeds up the clock and causes premature aging.  Not only will the appearance of aging be more noticeable, age related illnesses will be more likely to occur. Sleep is also necessary for the production and function of the body’s T-cells, which are necessary for fighting off cancer. 

 A Word on Snoring

Snoring is caused by the tissue in the back of your throat vibrating when air is moving from the mouth and nose to the lungs.  Snoring can disrupt sleep patterns because a person may wake themselves up.  In some cases, snoring is a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a serious problem where the patient stops breathing during sleep.  The lack of oxygen to the brain can greatly increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.  If you snore, a sleep study is in order.

Overall, the importance of good sleep can’t be stressed enough.  The right amount of sleep, in the right environment, with the highest quality of deep sleep will help prevent disease and lead to a healthier body, mind, and spirit.

Recommendations

Getting 7.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is ideal.  This means falling and staying asleep.  Below are some tips that help improve sleep:

·       Avoid alcohol and tobacco

·       Eliminate caffeine or limit it to the morning hours

·       Keep the bedroom cool, around 68-71°

·       Go for an evening walk at least 2 hours before retiring

·       Avoid light from the computer or phone at least 2 hours before retiring.

 


About the Author:

Judy Gaman is a health and wellness expert at Executive Medicine of Texas. She has authored several books on health, including Age to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100, Happy, Healthy, and Wise. She also co-hosts the nationally syndicated Staying Young Show. You can learn more by going to www.stayyoungamerica.com

Today Judy Gaman Executive Medicine
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