Is this you? Over 60% of Americans report not getting enough sleep. Many scientific studies have estimated by 40 years of age we have accumulated a 20,000-hour sleep deficit.
Lack of sleep is no trivial matter. Sleep plays a vital role in the regenerative processes of every tissue in the human body. Failure to get enough sleep can elevate the chemicals in your body which promote inflammation. Increased inflammation prevents tissue healing and fosters chronic disease states. In fact, many scientific studies have linked sleep deprivation to an increased risk of developing many chronic and potentially life-threatening diseases such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart disease
Lack of sleep has a profound impact on your brain. If you don’t get enough sleep your cognitive function is reduced, your ability to learn is impaired, your memories don’t get stored in a way you can access them when you need them, and you have slower reaction times.
If you experience a chronic lack of sleep, these deficits in brain function worsen and increase your risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies have demonstrated that a lack of sleep can cause chronic inflammation in the brain and subsequently lead to the accumulation of abnormal proteins associated with many forms of dementia.
Individuals who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases often experience poor sleep. It was once thought poor sleep was the result of the brain disease, but more recent medical literature is suggesting the inability to achieve consistent regular sleep over many years may have come first and played an important role in the development of the neurodegenerative disease.
Metabolism of Sleep
Sleep allows us to physically disengage from our stressors and perceived reality so we can focus our metabolic energy on activities that regenerate and restore our tissues.
Nighttime shifts in metabolic pathways allows your tissues to ‘restock the shelves’. It’s during sleep that you replace the glucose in your muscles and liver and manufacture proteins important for muscle strength. While asleep your cell membranes are repaired and remodeled and your neurons create myelin to help with nerve signaling.
Ref: By Dr. Zach Bush & Dr. Peter Cummings