posted on January 31, 2010 18:58
There are 4 major factors that lead to accelerated aging and the erosion of your health.
2. Insulin Resistance
3. Chronic Stress
4. Lack of Sleep
Understanding the causes of aging will help as we look into the steps needed to invigorate our health and improve our chances for healthy longevity.
Over the last 3 weeks we looked into: Homocysteines, Insulin Resistance, and Chronic Stress.
This week we will delve into the 3rd factor of aging:
Lack of Sleep
Today’s fast-paced, high pressured world has forced us to rethink the tradional 8-5 work day. Many people bring home their work, and spend untold hours keeping up with demands of business and home. Since there are only so many hours in the day, we are all often tempted to cut back on sleep as a way of giving ourselves an hour or two more time.
I know that I have often thought, “Well, I can sleep forever when I’m dead”…and laughed….but the truth is not so funny. Chronic lack of sleep can hasten you to that inevitable end sooner than necessary and it can affect the life you are living now.
How Does a Lack of Sleep Affect Us?
Chronic lack of sleep affects millions of us. Some symptoms include:
* lack of energy
* acute muscle pains
These side effects show up after as little two nights without much sleep. Our daily performance can also be affected with poor reaction time, concentration, mood, and judgment.
Chronic sleep deprivation can cause memory loss and susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes. It also suppresses the production of growth hormones, impacts our reaction to stress, decreases our urges for sex, and suppresses the auto-immune system.
Sleep deprivation and psychosis have been closely linked by many studies, as has our ability to heal and its causuality to obesity.
A lack of sleep makes you "fat, stupid and sick...It makes you stupid because suffering from sleep deficiency diminishes your memory. Sick, because too little sleep can damage your heart, circulation, stomach and intestines. And fat because while we are sleeping our bodies release a hormone that reduces appetite.
"If the release of this hormone is interrupted because we are not getting a full night's sleep then we quickly feel hungry which causes most people to head straight to the fridge. In order to stay fit and healthy people should regularly have seven hours sleep a night." Professor Juergen Zulley, sleep researcher, Regensburg University Hospital, Bavaria.
What Happens During Sleep?
Sleep is a time when the body rests, rejuvenates, replenishes, and regenerates. All stages of sleep are responsible for dissolving free radicals - notorious for their contribution to early aging. But the second stage of sleep (Delta sleep), is where hormone levels peak. At this level, cell repair takes place, repairing any damage that could contribute to the pre-mature aging of skin and other organs.
Sleep debt rapidly ages our skin and other organs. It prevents the body from rejuvenating and repairing itself.
A chronic lack of sleep, results in higher stress hormone levels of cortisol that causes premature aging and leaves us more vulnerable to diseases such as cardio diseases, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity …all that cause early aging and even premature death.
Stress hormones cause the brain to stop or reduce the production of new brain cells
Among other things, lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance, as well as a marked decrease in HGH production. Human Growth Hormone, is considered the “fountain of youth” hormone that fights the signs of aging while you sleep. If your sleep is thrown off — so is your HGH production.
How Much Sleep Do We Need?
The good news is that sleep patterns can be restored to normal within a week. However, levels of nerve cell production (neurogenesis) were not restored for two weeks, and the brain appears to boost its efforts in order to counteract the shortage.
7-8 hours of sleep seem to be required for healthful living. Be mindful of how you feel and recognize that if you have trouble waking up, your body's natural cycle of sleep may be off.
Although your mind may rebel, try going to bed earlier and see if you can naturally awaken at your desired time. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel, and how much more productive you can be while rested.
10 Tips for Better Sleeping:
1. eat a lighter dinner
2. avoid vigorous evening exercise
3. develop a stress management program (meditate or pray for 5-10 minutes in the evening)
4. cut out extended naps during the day
5. take a hot bath before bed to raise your core temperature (as it cools you become sleepy)
6. drink warm milk
7. drink an herbal tea and have no caffeine before bed
8. make sure your room is dark enough to promote relaxation (red lights from your clock-radio can interfere with your sleep cycles as well)
9. keep the temperature of your bedroom moderate to cool
10. avoid video games or violent tv/movies right before bedtime
Remember that sleeping is vital to the reconstruction and repair of your body.
Don’t deprive yourself of this best of all ways of preventing early aging.
Sleep tight…take your vitamins for women, and be blessed, Kersten