“It’s critical that adults aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night to receive the health benefits of sleep, but this is especially true for those battling a chronic condition.”
– M. Safwan Badr, MD, MBA, former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM)
Poor sleep is a hallmark of autoimmune disorders and a big risk factor for poor immune function, which none of us can afford right now. Add peri- or menopause to the equation and good sleep can become even more rare. Mark Menolascino, MD defines “sleep deprivation as anything less than 8 hours a night.” Well, that makes for a huge number of sleep-deprived people!
Mark Hyman, MD put it in perspective:
Army sharp shooters’ accuracy is almost 99% when they get eight hours of sleep. It drops to 79% when they get six hours of sleep. It drops to 35% when they get five hours of sleep, which is the equivalent of drinking two to three alcoholic beverages. Lack of sleep — sleep deprivation — is like driving drunk.
Why is Sleep So Important?
There are many reasons, and two of the biggies include:
- We take out our cellular trash via the glymphatic system — the brain’s lymphatic system. Gotta get rid of the debris to make room for new neural networks.1Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain, Xie, L., et. al., Science. 2013 Oct 18; 342(6156): 10.1126/science.1241224. doi: 10.1126/science.1241224, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880190/
- Our bodies and brains repair, reorganize, reset, restore and regenerate during sleep.2Sleep: A Health Imperative, Luyster, F., et. al., Sleep. 2012 Jun 1; 35(6): 727–734. Published online 2012 Jun 1. doi: 10.5665/sleep.1846, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353049/ Get fewer than eight hours and your body and brain miss out on needed repair and regeneration functions.
Health Implications of Lost Sleep are Huge
Studies have demonstrated detrimental effects of prolonged sleep deprivation on a variety of systems with noticeable changes in hormonal, metabolic, and immune function. Sleep deprivation can lead to negative health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, all of which are associated with increased mortality risk.3Sleep: A Health Imperative, Luyster, F., et. al., Sleep. 2012 Jun 1; 35(6): 727–734. Published online 2012 Jun 1. doi: 10.5665/sleep.1846, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3353049/
Getting to the Roots of a Good Night’s Sleep
There are many reasons why you may have trouble getting good sleep. Stress, hormonal imbalance, room temperature, blue light or EMF exposure, pain, inflammation, depression, too much caffeine or alcohol, snoring partners & undiagnosed sleep apnea, cuddly pets and modern life itself seem to conspire against us to getting the restorative sleep we need.
10 science-based strategies for improved sleep and better health outcomes:
One of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing is to get better sleep. Keep in mind that time in bed does not equal time asleep. Can you get in bed a little earlier tonight? Which sleep strategies work for you? And which new sleep strategies will you try?
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