Spring Newsletter, Sleep Article, Part 1
This just in: Sleep can add years to your life—but it can also do the opposite if you’re experiencing irregular sleep patterns, according to a new March 2 study by the NIH. Sleep is so important to optimizing your health that we’re publishing two posts on the science of sleep. Read Part 1 this week scientific insights into how sleep restores your body, mind and spirit. Watch for Part 2 next week, where we’ll share 4 recommendations for getting more Zs . . .
Sleep – What is it? Why is it so important? How do we get more of it? (Part 1 of 2)
At OHI, we believe that God created humans as holistic beings with an integrated body, mind and spirit. We believe everyone can achieve optimum health when the body is purified, the mind is quieted and the spirit is renewed. From that place of total integration and wholeness, people are then able to strengthen their connection to God and are transformed to receive optimum health.
So let’s start with the basics on your journey to receive optimum health. Everyone tends to focus on nutrition and exercise as the first steps to cleansing the body and quieting the mind, but one of the most overlooked pillars of good health is good sleep. You simply cannot achieve optimum health without taking care of your sleep.
Your body needs sleep, just as it needs air and food to function. During sleep, your body heals itself, and restores its chemical balance. The fact is, sleep is absolutely essential to body, mind and spirit…
Sleep plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal and repair your blood vessels and heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Moving on to the endocrine system, hormone production is dependent on sleep. Not getting enough sleep or having interrupted sleep could affect hormone production, and is linked to increased inflammation. Sleep also affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in the night, and poor sleepers have an increased risk of weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation also prompts your body to release higher levels of insulin after you eat. Higher insulin levels promote fat storage, and increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Sleep also directly impacts your immune system. While you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like cytokines. Cytokines also help you sleep, giving your immune system more energy to defend your body against illness.
Sleep allows your brain to forge new connections, and helps with memory retention. Lack of sleep makes it more difficult to concentrate or learn new things, and can also compromise decision-making processes and creativity. Without the proper amount of sleep, the signals your body sends to the brain may also be delayed, decreasing your coordination and impacting speed, accuracy and reaction times.
Sleep deprivation negatively affects your mental abilities and emotional state. Poor sleep is linked to depression and mood swings.
Before you can improve your sleep, you have to understand what the qualities of good sleep are. While we often keep track of the quantity of sleep that we get, we rarely consider the quality of sleep that we get. The National Sleep Foundation published a first-of-its kind set of sleep-quality recommendations in the journal Sleep Health.
“People Who Get the Best Sleep Have These 4 Things in Common” by Amanda MacMillan, health. com, January 23, 2017
“10 Reasons Why Good Sleep is Important” by Joe Leech, MS, healthline.com, June 29, 2018
“The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body” by Stephanie Watson and Kristeen Cherney, healthline. com, April 18, 2019
National Institutes of Health, “Study finds irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults”, 3/2/2020, <https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/study-finds-irregular-sleep-patterns-double-risk-cardiovascular-disease-older-adults>
Join us next week for the second part of this article…
To learn more about our holistic healing program in San Diego or Austin, visit Optimum Health Institute. We can help you achieve your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual goals for optimal health. To make your reservation, call us at (800) 588-0809.