“How it can effect you and some ways to improve your zzzzzzz’s”
Written by Carlo Alimboyong, AEP
Sleep is the elixir to life! But are you aware of how the overtired brain can make us vulnerable to diseases such as cancer and diabetes? This article will give you some insight into how important a good night of sleep is for you.
- Stuck on something? Sleep on it! Sleep has the ability to improve cognitive ability, such as working memory and puzzles/problems
- A person who has been awake for 20 hours has the same physical and cognitive impairments as a drunk individual
- Poor sleep can impact physical functioning by 20-30%
- Exercise can improve your total sleep time
Biochemistry and sleep:
Melatonin: Incandescent light bulbs and screen usage suppresses melatonin. Melatonin is the neurochemical in the brain that helps establish the conditions for sleep, such as drowsiness and a reduction in core body temperature.
Leptin and Ghrelin: Both control appetite and weight; Leptin tells our brain we’re full. Ghrelin does the opposite; it causes hunger. With less sleep, Leptin increases and Ghrelin decreases. There is evidence to show that people who sleep 4-5 hours consume 400-500 EXTRA calories.
Natural killer cells: a study that deprived individuals to less than 4 hours of sleep showed a 70% reduction in natural killer cells – cells which are important for fighting cancer. Natural killer cells have also been thought to be important for the immunoregulation of multiple sclerosis disease progression.
Ways to improve your chances to fall asleep:
Regularity – fall asleep and wake up at the same time everyday
Stimulus control – put down your phones/tablets 1 hour before bed! Alternatively, you can use the “Nightshift mode” on iPhone. Dim the lights around home 1 hour before bed time
Core temperature – your body has a better chance of falling asleep when your core temperature drops (approx. 1 degree C). You can do this by having a cool shower, or adjusting your temperature