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The best thing you can do for your health: sleep well

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/feb/09/best-thing-you-can-do-for-your-health-sleep-well

theguardian.com

The best thing you can do for your health: sleep well
'A consistent seven to nine-hour sleep each night is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health'

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Sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

Sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

During sleep, a sewage system in the brain, called the glymphatic system, kicks into high gear. As you enter deep sleep, this sanitization system cleanses the brain of a sticky, toxic protein linked to Alzheimer’s, known as beta-amyloid. 

Without sufficient sleep, you fail to get that power cleanse. With each passing night of insufficient sleep, that Alzheimer’s disease risk escalates, like compounding interest on a loan.

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Insufficient sleep and weight gain

Insufficient sleep and weight gain

Poor sleeping swells concentrations of a hormone that makes you feel hungry while suppressing a companion hormone that otherwise signals food satisfaction. Despite being full, you will still want to eat more. 

And if you try to diet but don’t get enough sleep while doing so, it is futile, since up to 70% of the weight you lose will come from lean body mass, not fat. 

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Sleeping less than 6 hours

Sleeping less than 6 hours

Routinely sleeping less than six hours a night also compromises your immune system, significantly increasing your risk of cancer. 

So much so, that recently the World Health Organization classified any form of night-time shiftwork as a probable carcinogen.

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Your body needs dark too

Your body needs dark too

While we are starting to pay attention to how important sleep is, the need for dark is still mostly ignored.

Being exposed to regular patterns of light and dark regulates our circadian ...

Our sleep and wake patterns

On its own, the circadian rhythm takes almost 24 hours. Our bodies rely on the Sun to reset this cycle and keep it at 24 hours, the length of our days. Light and the dark are important signals for the cycle.

During the night, body temperature drops, metabolism slows, and the hormone melatonin rises dramatically. When the Sun comes up in the morning, melatonin has already started falling, and you wake up.

Our bodies in the dark

During the dark, levels of the hormone leptin (hunger control), go up. This means we do not feel hungry while low levels make us hungry.

Ans research found that sleep disruption and turning on lights lowers leptin levels which makes people hungry in the middle of the night.

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How much sleep is enough

How much sleep is enough

Sleep needs vary from person to person. Age, genetics, lifestyle, and environment all play a role.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a night...

Take a vacation from your alarm clock

To really find out what your individual sleep needs are, do the following experiment for at least two weeks:

  • Pick the same bedtime every night.
  • Turn off your alarm.
  • Record the time you wake up.

You may sleep longer during the first few days, but over the course of a few weeks, a pattern will emerge of how much sleep your body needs each night.

Ask yourself: 'Am I seepy?'

If you often feel tired, your body is telling you that it's not getting enough sleep.

If you're getting eight hours of sleep a night but still feel tired, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder or interrupted sleep.

Slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) – SWS

About 80% of our sleeping is of the SWS variety, identified by slow brain waves, relaxed muscles and deep breathing.

Deep sleep is important for the consolidation of memories. New experience...

Rapid eye movement (dreaming) - REM

Dreaming accounts for 20% of our sleeping time.

The length of dreams can vary from a few seconds to almost an hour. During REM sleep, the brain is highly active. The muscles are paralyzed, and the heart rate increases. Breathing can become erratic. 

Sleep quantity

Although eight hours is the common mention, optimum sleep can vary from person to person and from age to age.

One review that worked through 320 research articles concluded 7 - 9 hours of sleep are enough for adults. According to experts, too little or too much sleep can both have a negative impact on your health.