During childhood, there was always someone mandating that you get enough sleep. They enforced naps, made you go to bed at a certain time, and hope you slept in late. Sleep was one of the most important aspects of your young life. Then during adulthood, this all changed. But should it have?
1. Sleep influences your immune response
- "There is increasing evidence that sleep deprivation has detrimental effects on the immune response, indicating that sleep should be considered a vital part of the immune system" (1)
- Loss of the circadian rhythm puts stress on the immune and endocrine systems as well as your bodies thermal regulation. This makes your body more susceptible to sickness and decreases it's natural ability to fight of infection.
2. Sleep regulates your melatonin levels
- Melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to increase the activity of cytotoxic T cells. T-cells are the first response to an infection. Therefore, having increased activity of your T-cells will help keep you healthy. (2)
- Melatonin also helps prevent apoptosis (programed cell death) and lends support for its use in neurodegenerative disease and cancer.
- Melatonin is a key player in your circadian rhythm. At night, when the sun goes down and it is time for bed, you body produces more melatonin which makes you tired and helps you fall asleep.
3. Sleep increases mood
- "People with insomnia had greater depression and anxiety levels than people not having insomnia and were 9.82 and 17.35 times as likely to have clinically significant depression and anxiety, respectively." (3)
- Depression is often linked with fibromyalgia and fatigue as well- get quality sleep and improve mood, body pain, fatigue and anxiety
4. Sleep decreases disease
- Oxidative stress is defined by News-Medical as, "an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to... detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants." This means your body is constantly producing free radicals which damage all cells in your body leading to disease. Quality sleep limits this stress and prevents disease.
- A well-rested body will cleanse better – depuration takes energy!
- "The study, which was published today in the journal Science, reveals that the brain’s unique method of waste removal – dubbed the glymphatic system – is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Furthermore, the researchers found that during sleep the brain’s cells reduce in size, allowing waste to be removed more effectively." (4)
- Not only does sleep help clear the toxins and waste from your brain, but it also clears them from your entire body.
Get your 8 hours! “An hour before midnight is worth two after midnight” – ancient Chinese proverb
- (1) Sick and tired: does sleep have a vital role in the immune system? Nature Reviews Immunology 4, 457-467 (June 2004)
- (2) Textbook of Natural Medicine. 4th edition. Joseph E. Pizzorno
- (3) Epidemiology of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Sleep. 2005 Nov;28(11):1457-64.
- (4) To Sleep, Perchance to Clean. University of Rochester Medical Center. http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=3956