The modern lifestyle does not lend itself to proper sleep. Night time light exposure and the 24/7 onslaught of electronic information cause disruptions of the body’s natural sleep signaling or circadian rhythm. Sleep is important for optimal health and many people have shortened or interrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation shifts the hormone balance from hormones that promote fullness (leptin) to those that promote hunger (ghrelin/endocannabinoids.) Chronic decreased sleep has been associated with an increased body mass index (BMI) and obesity. Multiple studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in turn increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. The microbiome has increasingly been shown to be involved in a healthy metabolism and sleep deprivation alters the microbiome. Disordered sleep is often the result of disordered breathing at night. If you or a family member has disordered sleep discuss with your doctor a screening evaluation for sleep apnea.
Healthy sleep is associated with wellness and good health by:
Improving immune system function.
Improving cognitive function.
Improving insulin sensitivity.
Regulating hunger by balancing hunger vs fullness hormones.
Having a positive effect on the microbiome.
Glossary of Terms
Circadian rhythm - physical mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. The circadian rhythm responds primarily to light and darkness. An example is being awake in the day and asleep at night. Circadian rhythms can influence sleep- wake cycles, hormone release, eating habits and digestion, body temperature and other body functions.
Insulin resistance - an impaired response to insulin, resulting in elevated levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
Microbiome - the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) that live in or on our bodies. These organisms are interacting with our immune system and involved in metabolism, breaking down food for energy and involved in vitamin production.