Sleep as though your life depends on it!
I was thinking food was a top tier pillar for health, Sleep has taken the top slot after reading this book!
Why We Sleep
“After thirty years of intensive research, we can now answer many of the questions posed earlier. The recycle rate of a human being is around sixteen hours. After sixteen hours of being awake, the brain begins to fail. Humans need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance. After ten days of just seven hours of sleep, the brain is as dysfunctional as it would be after going without sleep for twenty-four hours. Three full nights of recovery sleep (i.e., more nights than a weekend) are insufficient to restore performance back to normal levels after a week of short sleeping.” Mathew Walker, PhD
For many it seems, as patients in our sick-care system, more or less rot on the vine so to speak, waiting until something goes wrong before they come seek medical attention. It’s been my intention to do what I can do to prevent disease for myself and anyone who would listen, and take action. In the past, I placed a high priority to food and exercise, but thought sleep to be somewhat import as well.
Previously, I listed pillars of health in order of importance, food, exercise, social interaction, spiritual health, and then sleep was added, being marginally important.
First, after waking up in the morning, could you fall back asleep at ten or eleven a.m.? If the answer is “yes,” you are likely not getting sufficient sleep quantity and/or quality. Second, can you function optimally without caffeine before noon? If the answer is “no,” then you are most likely self-medicating your state of chronic sleep deprivation.
Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.
Now, my top priority is sleep!
I read a book by a sleep scientist, Mathew Walker, PhD called “Why We Sleep”, which left me in shock.
You can live several days without food, hours without water, years without exercise, however, low quality of life, but without sleep you will die! It’s been realized that, as a society, we are at a place with sleep, where we were with smoking 20 years ago.
Just the effects of sleep deprivation on driving alone is astounding. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and nearly 800 deaths.” Driving drowsy is as dangerous, some say more, than driving under the influence of alcohol.
The role of sleep in emotional brain function
The impact of sleep deprivation on emotional brain reactivity and functional connectivity
If you’ve ever heard the expression, have you woken up on the wrong side of the bed, an expression of emotional outburst of one degree or another, there is a scientific reason for it. In the pictures above, the mPFC is the medial prefrontal cortex has normal functioning pathways to the amygdala. The amygdala’s job is to regulate emotions, such as fear and aggression. The medial prefrontal cortex is responsible to communicate with the amygdala if an alarm of threat or alarm is justified. During periods of decreased sleep, these pathways can suffer a disconnect, resulting in increased potential for an emotional event. For non-depression suffers, this can be dramatic. For those who suffer with major depression, this can have a devastating effect.
Sleep deprivation's effects on gene expression
As a brief summary of detrimental effects of sleep deprivation, gene expression leads critical finishing up. Walker points out two issues from a study where otherwise healthy adults were limited to 6 hours of sleep for a week.
Almost 50% of the studied individuals experienced gene expression increasing activity, and 50% with decreased activity of gene expression. Those genes that showed decreased expression had to do with the immune system, and those increased or over-expressed were associated with production of tumors, chronic-inflammation, and several associated with stress and cardiovascular disease.
I love this book! As a life-long poor sleeper, I've read dozens of books that supposedly held the answer to solving my sleep problems. None have, until now. The author not only gives you lots of ideas on how to get a better night's sleep, he tells you why it's so important to get in your nightly 8 hours. Who knew there were so many areas of life impacted by sleep, particularly the lack of it! There is a lot of information here, all of which I found very interesting and quite helpful. At the end of the book he lists a number of ideas that you can put into use immediately. I have seen a great improvement in the quality and amount of sleep I'm getting now, so I feel very comfortable about recommending this book.
Amazon reviewer: GW1947
Sacramento, CA, US
Do you want to live longer, be healthier, thinner, and more beautiful? Read this book. And then follow the advice.
This isn't a spoiler. The advice you need to follow is simple: Sleep eight hours a night. Every night. That's it!
But that's really hard to do in our super-busy, super-productive, go-go-go society.
I'm 67, and I have to admit that it's only in the past three years—not so coincidentally after I retired—that I have actually been sleeping eight hours a night. For 25 years, I woke up at 4:45 a.m. to ensure I got everything done from taking care of my family, to working eight+ hours a day, to volunteering, and even exercising on the treadmill five days a week. As productive as I was, that was a mistake. "Short sleeping" as it's called (that is, sleeping six hours or less a night) is a recipe for physical disaster. And it's the scariest stuff of all that has a causal link to short sleep: cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's.
This extraordinary and very readable book by sleep scientist Matthew Walker lays out in easy-to-understand terms all the reasons why eight hours of sleep is absolutely essential for good health and a long life.
• what sleep is and isn't, how sleep changes over your lifetime from infancy to old age, and what happens physiologically to your brain and body while you sleep;
• how too-little sleep can lead to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease;
• a scientific explanation of dreaming and how dreams can inspire incredible creativity;
• why some of us suffer from sleep disorders and an explanation of effective, non-drug solutions to insomnia.
• workable, real-life tips on how to change your sleep schedule. After all, it is a lifestyle change that only you can begin, control, and maintain.
The most important takeaway for me is that it changed how I prioritize sleep. In two sentences, it's this: I'm not being lazy when I sleep. I'm being smart!
Amazon reviewer: Cathryn Conroy,