Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is a Lack of Sleep Killing You?

That's a bold question but it may very well be true.

You may have heard it before, "The earlier you get to sleep the better it is for you."

Now apart from the obvious that more sleep, the better, the actual act of getting to sleep before midnight is so KEY!

Want your exercise and diet to work? Want to prevent cancer? Acute illnesses?

Each hour of sleep before midnight equals two hours after midnight.

Think about that.

Sleeping during the hours before midnight are twice as important as the number of hours after midnight, due to the synchronizing of the meridians of the body and various organ systems.

Also, sleeping less than 6-8 hrs will create problems with your insulin levels which increases your risk for diabetes among other things. [note: for those trying to lose weight this is NOT what you want as it makes it harder on your body to utilize fat from your fat stores for energy]. Try to sleep in complete darkness, as any light will disrupt your sleep.

Lets take a look at a natural sleep-wake cycle

A few points to consider from this:

1. As the sun rises, cortisol levels rise.
2. Remain at moderate levels throughout midday, supporting daily activities.
3. In the afternoon, cortisol levels begin to fall as the sun begins to set.
4. This decrease allows melatonin and the growth and repair hormones to increase.
5. If we follow this cycle, we should fall asleep around 10pm to 10:30pm as this is the time most physical repair occurs and at around 2am is when most mental repair occurs.

Now lets look at a disrupted sleep-wake cycle

A few points to consider from this:

1. This shows what happens when cortisol levels are elevated above normal due to such things as TV, fluorescent lights, working late in the evening, etc.
2. Since cortisol takes hours to clear from the blood, this will disrupt the release of melatonin and other growth and repair hormones.
3. If you go to bed after midnight you’ve already lost 2 hours of physical repair time as it begins around 10pm.
4. This can lead to adrenal fatigue and can manifest for instance as chronic fatigue syndrome, viral infections, bacterial and fungal infections and headaches.
5. To prevent this, get to bed on time by 10:00pm or 10:30pm at the latest.

Good sleep is at THE FOUNDATION of good health. You could be exercising, eating the right foods, have low stress levels and STILL succumb to acute illnesses because of a lack of good sleep.

For information about how to improve your sleep, click the link below:

33 Secrets to a Good Night's Sleep

Video by Dr. Mercola

Articles on the importance of sleep

OR read:

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