Melatonin is efficacious when traveling between time zones. If we were flying from a time zone 8 hours away our Melatonin spike would not occur for another 8 hours after we landed back home. A melatonin supplement can help fool your brain and regulate your jet lag. It does not work as well once you are acclimated to the new time zone. However, the placebo effect is the most constant effect in all of pharmacology so if it works for you take it.
1 out of 2 adults are not getting enough sleep in America. No one is immune to a lack of sleep. You may think you are functioning well, but you are not. Just like a drunk thinks he is O.K. to drive home from the bar. Under slept employees will take on less challenging projects. They’ll just slack off every chance they can. Experiments have shown that employees that knew nothing about how little sleep that their boss had the night before, would rate them as less charismatic on the days that they did not get enough sleep. Less sleep does not equal more productivity. Everyone may look like they are doing something, but they are not getting anywhere. Efficiency goes down. They can read a paragraph 5 times and not get it. It is hard to work at peak capacity for 8 hours. Why boil a pot of water at half heat when you can just put it on high and get it over with?
Sleep deprivation can increase your creativity if you want to come up with some crazy stuff. The prefrontal cortex, the rational part of your brain is the first thing to deteriorate. The deep emotional centers of your brain that are normally controlled and kept in check by the prefrontal cortex, which is shut down from lack of sleep, now lets some crazy unconscious thoughts come to light. You become more childlike because the last part of your brain to mature is the prefrontal cortex.
One study showed that people given just 4 hours of sleep for just one night had a 70% reduction in cancer fighting cells called natural killer cells. These are good immune assassins that target malignant cells. We produce bad cells everyday and while we’re sleeping our body is busy destroying them before they can become cancerous. Just one night creates an immune deficiency. This is why insufficient sleep predicts cancer.
There is a global experiment that is performed on 1.6 billion people a year that proves that just one hour of sleep loss increases heart attacks. It is called day light savings time. In the spring when we lose an hour of sleep a 24% increase in heart attacks have been recorded. In the autumn when we gain an hour of sleep there is a 21% decrease in heart attacks. That is how fragile we are to sleep deprivation.
Insufficient sleep can erode the fabric of life, your DNA. One study took a group of healthy adults and limited them to 6 hours of sleep per night for a week. 711 genes were distorted in their activity. This is relevant because many people are trying to survive on 6 hours of sleep a night. Half of those 711 genes increased their activity and the other half decreased their activity. The genes that were switched off had to do with immune responses. The genes that were over expressed were related to the production of tumors, long term chronic inflammation which is a root cause for all disease, and genes that were associated with stress, which creates cardio vascular diseases.
There is a gene that allows you to get along with 5 hours of sleep a night. The chances of anyone having that gene are that you are more likely to get struck by lightning. The gene promotes wakefulness chemistry in the brain.
One of the toxic sticky toxins that builds up in our brain and are removed at night while sleeping well is beta amyloid. Those are the plaques found in Alzheimer’s patients.
The profile of sleep deprivation is cognitive decline, reduced alertness, increased impulsivity, lack of ability to concentrate, difficulties with learning and memory, and behavioral problems. If you described that to a pediatrician they would put your kids on psychotropic drugs that will stimulate their brain further. Many of these millions of kids on these drugs have been misdiagnosed and need some sleep, not drugs that could put you in jail if using them without a prescription. When you remove their sleep disorders, the ADHD disappears. This doesn’t fit all. ADHD people do not sleep well. Sleep should be prescribed, but not through sleeping pills.
Sleep is a third of a doctor’s patient’s lives and they receive 2 hours of training on the subject. Residents working a 30 hour shift are 460% more likely to make a diagnostic error in the intensive care unit compared to if they were working a 16 hour shift. If you are having elective surgery and your doctor has had 6 hours or less of sleep you have a 170% increase risk of receiving a major surgical error. When a resident finishes a 30 hour shift and drives home there is a 168% increased risk of them getting into a motor vehicle accident. They’ll wind up being back in the same emergency room that they just walked out of, but now as a patient.
They do this to residents because a doctor named William Holstead, set up the first resident surgical program in the United States at John Hopkins University. He was known for being able to stay awake for 3 days. Was he super human? No, he was addicted to cocaine, which was legal back then. He expected his residents to match his ability. He knew that he had a problem and in those days rehab consisted of getting addicted to morphine. His legacy is residents are still forced to work ridiculous hours that are quite dangerous to everyone. After 20 hours your doctor is as impaired as someone that is legally drunk. One in five medical residents will make a serious mistake, 1 in 20 will kill a patient because they are sleep deprived. Right now there are over 20,000 medical residents. So that is a thousand dead patients right there. The requirements of a medical resident are beyond human capacity.
Infants in the neonatal ward that were allowed to sleep with the bright lights turned down, left the ward much quicker than those that were not as lucky. Sleep is the greatest and least expensive health care system known to man. Modern medicine does not agree with that.
If you are dieting and not sleeping well, 70% of the weight you lose will come from lean muscle and not fat. Your body becomes stingy when giving up fat when under slept. Rand Institute did a study of the cost of lack of sleep to the corporate world and discovered that it costs most nations about 2% of their GDP. In America that comes to 411 billion dollars lost due to lost sleep. You could double the budget for education and half it for health care just by sleeping better.
We see Seasonal Affective Disorder in people that are in the northern hemispheres where there is more light for longer time. I’ll end this with the thought that I started this series with, we have destroyed our health with the invention of electric light. Try and make your bedroom a dark cave. You may save on doctor bills.