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Good Sleep is One of the Foundations of Good Health

Feb. 8, 2013|279 views
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Sleep is
one of nature’s great gifts. It restores our energy, helps the brain to
consolidate newly learned information, and allows the body to undergo necessary
maintenance and repairs. Hormonal changes during sleep are believed to play an
important role in shoring up the immune system, fighting inflammation, and even
helping prevent cancer from developing. A good night’s sleep should leave you
feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to face the new day.

 

Studies
have repeatedly shown the strong link between good sleep and good health. For
most people, eight hours is ideal, although some people may require as little
as seven, and others (especially children and adolescents) really need nine or
more hours per day for optimal health. Getting too little sleep has been linked
to everything from weight gain to an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular
disease and death. Parents take note: the link between inadequate sleep and
obesity is especially strong among children and adolescents.

 

Melatonin,
a hormone released at night in response to complete darkness, helps induce
sleep. It also acts as a potent antioxidant and has important anti-cancer
activities. For this reason, it’s become increasingly clear that exposure to
light at night may be unhealthy. Even the smallest amount of artificial light
at night can interfere with your body’s production of this highly beneficial
hormone, so consider sleeping in a completely dark room, if you’re not already.

 

Of
course, one of the keys to a good night’s sleep is a good mattress. Next week,
I’ll be posting a new series on the importance of sleeping on not just a good
mattress, but a safe one.   

 

 

Alvarez GG, Ayas NT. The impact of daily sleep
duration on health: a review of the literature. Prog
Cardiovasc Nurs
. 2004 Spring;19(2):56-9.

 

Blask DE. Melatonin, sleep
disturbance and cancer risk. Sleep Med Rev.
2009 Aug;13(4):257-64. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2008.07.007. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

 

Gamaldo CE, Shaikh AK, McArthur JC. The sleep-immunity
relationship. Neurol Clin. 2012 Nov;30(4):1313-43. doi:
10.1016/j.ncl.2012.08.007.

 

Irwin MR, Olmstead RE, Ganz PA, Haque R. Sleep disturbance,
inflammation and depression risk in cancer survivors. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 May 24. [Epub ahead of print]

 

Nielsen LS, Danielsen KV, Sørensen TI. Short sleep
duration as a possible cause of obesity: critical analysis of the
epidemiological evidence. Obes Rev. 2011 Feb;12(2):78-92. doi:
10.1111/j.1467-789X.2010.00724.x.

 

Patel SR, Hu FB. Short sleep duration and
weight gain: a systematic review. Obesity (Silver Spring).
2008 Mar;16(3):643-53. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.118. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

 

Simpson N, Dinges DF. Sleep and
inflammation. Nutr Rev.
2007 Dec;65(12 Pt 2):S244-52.

 

Wahnschaffe A, Haedel S, Rodenbeck A, Stoll C, Rudolph H, Kozakov R, et al. Out of the
lab and into the bathroom: evening short-term exposure to conventional light
suppresses melatonin and increases alertness perception. Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Jan 28;14(2):2573-89. doi:
10.3390/ijms14022573.

Tags:  health tips
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