If you’ve ever had a night of bad sleep, you already know it doesn’t feel great. You might not realize that there’s a lot more going on than the short term feeling of being tired or exhausted on nights like this. Different systems of our body rely heavily on sleep for proper function, and when it’s not great there are some important effects that can be serious. The good news is that all of these issues are completely reversible once sleep is addressed and optimized.
The most sensitive and probably the most critical system impacted by sleep is the brain. It can make the difference between having a great day. It’s the difference between being sharp and on top of everything or wanting to crawl under your desk and take a nap. Mental function is the first thing to decline with any lack of overall sleep or deep sleep. This is shown by a major change when people go from sleeping too little to enough where overall mortality rates actually are lower in those who have healthy sleep. Partially this is because you’re less likely to be klutzy and have an accident or hurt yourself but there are also major impacts on the cardiovascular system, immune system and different hormones which lead to higher risks of heart problems, infections and numerous forms of hormonal dysfunction overtime.
Appetite and Weight
The next effect of sleep is on appetite, where those who are sleeping too little have an decrease in the balance of two appetite hormones – leptin and ghrelin. We’ll nickname this for convenience, leptin is less because it tells us we’ve had enough to eat (aka satiety) and ghrelin is the glutton as it signals hunger and a need for food. With sleep disturbances it’s been seen in research that people are likely to have a shift of decreased levels of leptin (less) and increased levels of ghrelin (the glutton), which means people are more likely to resort to eating both more foods and more unhealthy foods like junk foods, candy and sugary drinks. This might be the body trying to make up for the feeling of low energy by increasing blood sugar levels, and long term this leads to an increased risk of weight gain and diabetes.
Sleep is the time you rest and recharge, especially after an illness or injury. If there’s a problem with sleep it can actually increase the amount of time it takes to recover. This can apply to both mental and physical stressors, and put you at an overall lower tolerance for stress. This can also make it difficult to control mood and create a number of other problems during your day.
If you’re dealing with any issue from cardiovascular, mental, blood sugar or otherwise and you know your sleep isn’t optimal – there’s a connection. While there are a lot of approaches to improve your health, sleep is a basic fundamental requirement. Without healthy sleep your body just won’t function well. So tuck in and sleep well tonight!
If you’re dealing with sleep issues there are a number of reasons with different approaches through diet, lifestyle and nutritional support that can be help. Give us a call today at 916-351-9355.