….Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes the immune system, more than doubling the risk of CANCER.
Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not ALZHEIMER’S disease will develop.
Inadequate sleep—even moderate reductions for just one week—disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that it would be classified as PRE-DIABETIC.
Short sleeping increases the likelihood of coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting things on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive HEART FAILURE.
Fitting Charlotte Brontë’s prophetic wisdom that “a ruffled mind makes a restless pillow,” sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, AND SUICIDALITY.
Too little sleep also swells concentrations of a hormone that makes hungry feelings while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, there is still a desire to eat more.
It’s a proven recipe for WEIGHT GAIN in sleep-deficient adults and children alike.
Worse, should there be an attempt to diet but if one does not get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since most of the weight lost will come from lean body mass, not fat.
Add the above health consequences up, and a proven link becomes easier to accept: the shorter the sleep, the shorter the LIFE SPAN.
The old maxim “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is therefore unfortunate.
Adopt this mind-set and be dead sooner, and the quality of that (shorter) life will be worse.
There’s more….DROWSY DRIVING is the cause of hundreds of thousands of traffic accidents and fatalities each year.
And here it is not only the life of the sleep-deprived individuals that is at risk, but the lives of those around them.
Tragically, one person dies in a traffic accident every hour in the United States due to a fatigue-related error.
It is disquieting to learn that vehicular accidents caused by drowsy driving exceed those caused by alcohol and drugs combined.
….Sleep dispenses a multitude of health-ensuring benefits, to pick up in repeat prescription every twenty-four hours, should one choose. (Many don’t.)
Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorise, and make logical decisions and choices.
Benevolently servicing our psychological health, sleep RECALIBRATES OUR EMOTIONAL BRAIN CIRCUITS, allowing us to navigate next-day social and psychological challenges with cool-headed composure.
We are even beginning to understand the most impervious and controversial of all conscious experiences: the dream.
Dreaming provides a unique suite of benefits to all species fortunate enough to experience it, humans included.
Among these gifts are a consoling neurochemical bath that mollifies painful memories and a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge, inspiring CREATIVITY.
Downstairs in the body, sleep restocks the armoury of our immune system, helping fight malignancy, PREVENTING INFECTION, and warding off all manner of sickness.
Sleep reforms the body’s metabolic state by fine-tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose.
Sleep further regulates our appetite, helping control body weight through healthy food selection rather than rash impulsivity.
Plentiful sleep maintains a flourishing microbiome within the gut from which we know so much of our nutritional health begins.
Adequate sleep is intimately tied to the fitness of our cardiovascular system, LOWERING BLOOD PRESSURE while keeping our hearts in fine condition.
A balanced diet and exercise are of vital importance, yes. But we now see sleep as the preeminent force in this health trinity.
The physical and mental impairments caused by one night of bad sleep dwarf those caused by an equivalent absence of food or exercise.
It is difficult to imagine any other state—natural or medically manipulated—that affords a more powerful redressing of physical and mental health at every level of analysis.
Based on a rich, new scientific understanding of sleep, we no longer have to ask what sleep is good for.
Instead, we are now forced to wonder whether there are any biological functions that do not benefit by a good night’s sleep.
So far, the results of thousands of studies insist that no, there aren’t.
Emerging from this research renaissance is an unequivocal message: sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day—Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-dea
[Source of Post: Extract from Dr M Walker “Why We Sleep”. Kindle]