To Sleep or not to Sleep? That is not really a question.

To Sleep or not to Sleep?  That is not really a question.

Good quality uninterrupted sleep is integral to achieving optimal health.  Without it, we can develop many metabolic problems such as an increase in BMI, a decline in cognitive performance,  an increase in heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalances, immune system dysfunction, depression, anxiety and a vitamin D deficiency.   Sleep is our bodies recovery system.

The best way to sleep is on your left side because of the anatomy of our lymphatic drainage system.  The brain does not have a lymphatic drainage system.  It is too packed with brain cells to fit that system.  So the waste products generated by the brain get pumped out through the Cerebral Spinal Fluid that eventual winds up back in our blood, which is also what the lymph does.  But in our brain, the waste only gets pumped out while it is sleeping.  So in a way, our brains are never sleeping.  If you don’t sleep, you don’t pump out the waste, and one of those wastes are the amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  You don’t have to be a scientist to know that you can think better, remember better with a good nights sleep.

With daylight savings time in the spring we spring forward  and lose an hour of sleep.  There is a 24% increase in heart attacks the following day.  When we reach autumn and fall back, we gain an hour of sleep and a 20% decrease in heart attacks the following day is noted.  There is an increase in suicides the day after we spring forward.

When we lose sleep our immune system is adversely affected.  Sleep only 4 hours one night and you can have a 70% drop in your natural killer cells.  That can lead to an increased cancer rate.  Night time shift work is considered a possible carcinogenic.  A lack of sleep can damage your DNA code.  Without sleep the genes for normal cellular activity were decreased and genes relating to tumors were increased.  You can’t make up for lost sleep by sleeping more on the weekend.

100,000 deaths in hospitals are recorded as due to sleep deprivation creating errors.  Currently the average American is getting 6.8 hours of sleep.  All these bad things happen with one hour less of sleep a night, so instead of 8 hours we see bad things happen with getting 7 hours of sleep.  I’m lucky if I get 5 hours of sleep and I’m getting nervous as I type this.

50 to 70 million adults in the U.S. have chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders.  Insomnia is difficulty achieving sleep, maintaining sleep, and/or waking up too early.  Non restorative, poor quality sleep is becoming an epidemic and is very harmful to our health.

We need sleep for restoration.  It helps consolidate memories, and reset synaptic strength.  It detoxifies waste products that build up during waking hours.  Our purifying pathways in our brains are 7 times more active during sleep than when we’re awake.  Interleukin 6, C-reactive protein, Tumor necrosis factor, and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 are all mediators of inflammation and are associated with disrupted sleep and chronic illness.  Poor sleep leads to an increase in cortisol which is real stress.

50 billion dollars were spent in a year on sleep aids and people are having more and more difficulty with sleep, whether getting to sleep, staying asleep, or just waking up much too early.

Our microbiome produces and releases many sleep influencing neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and Melatonin.    These are produced in our brain, but the bulk is produced in our gut, so if our microbiota are not in good shape neither is our brain.  Our sleep will be disturbed and that makes our brain even less functional.

Poor sleep affects our gut.  We can get a significant decrease in types of beneficial bacteria.  A decrease in insulin sensitivity.  We can experience a cognitive decline.  A lack of sleep intensifies anger and impairs adaptation to frustrating circumstances.

Sleep disorder impacts addictive disorders, alcohol, marijuana, illicit drug use.  It leads to higher rates of mood disorders such as anxiety.  Those with insomnia are 55% more likely to abuse alcohol.

Sleep depravation creates lower pain threshold, learning disorders, seizures, and  an increased incidence and progression of cancer.

Zeitgebers are nature’s alarm clocks-both biologically and etymologically. The word zeitgeber derives from a combination of two German terms, Zeit, which means “time,” and Geber, which means “giver”-so a zeitgeber is literally a “time giver.” In nature, zeitgebers tend to be cyclic or recurring patterns that help keep the body’s circadian rhythms operating in an orderly way. For plants and animals, the daily pattern of light and darkness and the warmer and colder temperatures between day and night serve as zeitgebers, cues that keep organisms functioning on a regular schedule. For humans, societally imposed cycles, such as the schedule of the work or school day and regular mealtimes, can become zeitgebers as well.

Our Zeitgebers are under attack from modern life.  Our natural circadian rhythms are damaged by a multitude of common household items, such as anything that has an LED light.  Blue light from computers can really disturb sleep.  Just the street light outside creeping through your window is affecting your endocrine system, which is involved in your sleep cycle.  We’re supposed to sleep in a dark cave.  Your alarm clock is giving off too much light for that to happen.

Worse, it turns out many of those sleeping pills cause dementia over time.  I do not have a product to sell.  But I am going to take those naps when I feel the urge because if you can’t sleep like me, I figure it is better than no sleep at all.  I won’t be surprised that after I post this, an article will come out about how harmful napping is.  But most of the world does it, accept for America.



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