Thursday, March 29, 2012

Importance of Sleep

Some Excerpts:

 1. Short sleep duration ( <5 or 5-6 hours ) increased risk for high BP by 350% to 500% compared to those who slept longer than 6 hours per night.

 2. Young people ( 25-49 years of age ) are twice as likely to get high BP if they sleep less.

 3. Individuals who slept less than 5 hours a night had a 3-fold increased risk of heart attacks.

 4. Complete and partial lack of sleep increased the blood concentrations of High sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-cRP), the strongest predictor of heart attacks. Even after getting adequate sleep later, the levels stayed high!!

 5. Just one night of sleep loss increases very toxic substances in body such as Interleukin-6 (IL! -6), Tumour Necrosis Factor-Alpha (TNF-alpha) and C-reactive protein (cRP). They increase risks of many medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and heart disease.

 6. Sleeping for <=5 hours per night leads to 39% increase in heart disease. Sleeping for <=6 hours per night leads to 18% increase in heart disease. Ideal Sleep In brief, sleep is composed of two stages:
REM ( Rapid Eye Movement ) and non-REM. The former helps in mental consolidation while the latter helps in physical repair and rebuilding. During the night, you alternate between REM and non-REM stages 4-5 times.

 The earlier part of sleep is mostly non-REM. During that period, your pituitary gland releases growth hormones that repair your body. The latter part of sleep is more and more REM type.

 For us to be mentally alert during the day, the latter part of sleep is more important. No wonder when you wake up with an alarm clock after 5-6 hours of sleep, you are mentally irritable throughout the day (lack of REM sleep). And if you have slept for less than 5 hours, your body is in a complete physical mess ( lack of non-REM sleep ), you are tired throughout the day, moving like a zombie and your immunity is way down. 

Finally, as long-distance runners, you need an hour of extra sleep to repair the running related damage.

 In conclusion: Controlling stress, eating proper food, exercising , maintaining proper weight. Get adequate sleep, minimum 7 hours. This will decrease chances of heart disease. If you are not getting enough sleep ( 7 hours ), you are playing with fire, even if you have low stress. So get enough 7-8 hrs sleep  if you don't have one.

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