How Good Night’s Sleep Can Boost Your Health…
How To Sleep Your Way To Better Health
Dr. Jack Wolfson | Collective Evolution
We spend all our lives worrying about what is going on while we are awake, yet most people do not realize the importance of what happens when we are not. Sleep is the time when our body repairs from the mental and physical stress of the day. Hormones are secreted, lipids are formed, and proteins are synthesized during the bedtime hours, yet an estimated 60 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation. For millions of years, humans went to sleep at sundown and woke at sunrise. There was no switch to turn on artificial lights. All animals need to sleep, and we would be wise to follow in the footsteps of our ancestors.
A 2013 study reported that there are over 2,000 genes that work differently whether we are awake or asleep. Areas of DNA code for muscle repair and memory are active at night while other segments of DNA, such as adrenal hormones, are at work in the daytime. Our body functions in a totally different manner during sleep and awake time. Cells divide, tissues repair, and growth hormones are released during sleep. Sadly, the average time most Americans go to sleep is near midnight.
According to recent studies, a good night’s sleep improves learning. Whether it’s a new language, how to play the guitar, or how to perfect your golf swing, sleep helps enhance your learning and problem-solving skills. Sleep also helps you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative. Get adequate sleep to become a better spouse, parent, grandparent, child, boss, or employee.
Poor Sleep is a Nightmare For Your Heart
An interesting study looked at sleep and cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. During 10-15 years of follow-up, short sleepers (less than 6 hours) had a 23% higher risk of coronary artery disease compared to normal sleepers (more than 7 hours), even after adjustment for all other possible factors. Short sleepers with poor sleep quality had a 79% higher risk of heart disease when compared to normal sleepers with good sleep quality. On a side note, sleeping longer than 9 hours provided no benefit. Data from 1964 found those people who slept 7-8 hours had the lowest chance of dying over a 3-year follow-up.
Scientists have known for years that heart attacks are more frequent in the morning hours. The blaring alarm clock and stress of the day ahead tip some people over the edge into an unstable heart situation. But this next problem is very easy to change. The practice known as Daylight Savings Time is totally useless in this modern age and interferes with our circadian rhythm. It is not normal to change our sleep cycle by following this antiquated practice. A 2013 study identified men are at a 70% increased risk of having a heart attack on the day after the time change and 20% more likely in the first week. This is extraordinary. Considering the fact that recent presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, LBJ, and Eisenhower all had cardiovascular disease, maybe the current president should look into abandoning Daylight Savings Time? It may just save his life.
Get Your Blood Pressure Under Control
Add hypertension to the list of bad outcomes from a lack of sleep. Yes, not getting your Zs can lead to high blood pressure. Practicing for years as a typical cardiologist, I was frustrated by seeing patients on five anti-hypertensive drugs, yet their blood pressure was not controlled. Not once did it ever cross my mind that poor sleep could be a factor. I certainly never counseled a patient regarding the need for sleep. I was only getting 5-6 hours per night and envied other doctors who could get away with less. Now I pity those doctors leading the sleep-deprived lifestyle. Anyway, back to hypertension.
A study in 2006 demonstrated that poor sleep doubles the risk of hypertension. This study even corrected for other factors such as the fact that poor sleepers may be more stressed, or are likely to be smokers. A similar article from 2013 found middle-age nurses had a higher risk of hypertension when they had poor sleep patterns. In early 2014, a story about how poor sleep increases the risk of stroke in women made front-page news. In fact, for young women, the risk of a stroke was 8x higher in those admitting to five hours of sleep or less. The study found 10% of women age 65 and older had a stroke within four years if they had poor sleep. Another study found women who frequently feel drowsy during the daytime are at 58 percent higher risk for heart disease compared to those who rarely or never experience this symptom.
Poor sleep is also associated with elevated markers of inflammation, such as CRP, TNF-alpha, fibrinogen, and interleukins. As we discussed, inflammation is caused by all the unhealthy things in our lives, from nutrition and chemicals to poor sleep. The more inflammation, the higher the risk of heart disease. This is major news, and is a call to action for women to get READ MORE:http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/04/24/how-to-sleep-your-way-to-better-health/