World renown professor of neuroscience and Author of “Why We Sleep”  Matthew Walker* states that routinely, sleeping less than 6 hours or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system and more than doubles your risk of cancer and insufficient sleep is a key factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Inadequate sleep – even moderate reductions for just one week, disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that you would be classified as pre-diabetic. Short sleeping increased the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path toward cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure.   Fittingly Charlotte Bronte’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.

 

Perhaps you’ve noticed a desire to eat more when you’re tired? This is no coincidence. Too little sleep swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you want to eat more, It’s a proven recipe for weight gain in sleep deficient adults and children alike. Worse yet, should you attempt to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile since most of the weight you lose will be lean body mass, not fat.

 

Add the above health consequences up, and a proven link becomes easier to accept: the shorter you sleep, the shorter your life span. The old maxim “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is therefore unfortunate. Adopt this mindset, and you will be dead sooner and the quality of that (shorter) life will be worse.  The elastic band of sleep deprivation can only stretch so far before it snaps.

 

Sadly, human beings are the only species that will deliberately deprive themselves of sleep without legitimate gain. Every component of wellness, and countless seams of societal fabric, are being eroded by our costly state of sleep neglect, human and financial alike. So much so that the WHO (World Health Organisation) has now declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations*

 

Sleep is infinity more complex, profoundly more interesting and alarmingly more health relevant we have ever discovered. We sleep for a rich litany of functions, plural – an abundant constellation of nighttime benefits that service both our brains and bodies. There does not seem to be one major organ within the body, or process within the brain that isn’t optimally enhanced by sleep (and detrimentally impaired when we don’t get enough)

Within the brain, sleep enriches a diversity of functions, including our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions and choices. Benevolently servicing our psychological health, sleep re-calibrates our emotional brain circuits, allowing us to navigate next day social and psychological challenges with cool headed-composure.

 

Downstairs in the body, sleep restocks the armory of our immune system, helping fight malignancy, preventing infection, and warding off all manner of sickness. Sleep reforms the bodies metabolic state by fine tuning the balance of insulin and circulating glucose. Sleep further regulates our appetite. Plentiful sleep maintains a flourishing micro-biome within your 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.

 

Based on a rich, new scientific understanding of sleep, we no longer have to ask what is sleep good for, Instead we are now forced to wonder if there are any biological functions that do not benefit by a good nights sleep. So far, the results of thousands of studies insist that no, there aren’t.  Emerging from a renaissance of research is an unequivocal message: Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day.  

 

Listen to one of Professor Matthew Walkers YouTube videos here:

* https://www.sleepdiplomat.com/professor

*Sleepless in America, National Geographic, https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/sleepless-in-america