Sleep? Too Little? Too Much?
Are you getting enough sleep?
A question is coming up frequently as the seasons are changing, the days are getting shorter, it’s getting colder, and people are starting to think about sleeping more and more. They’re sleepier, they’re feeling more tired, there’s less energy going around.
During one of my regular literature reviews, I found an article in the Journal of the American Heart Association, so it’s a big journal. It looks at quality of sleep and amount of sleep, and the effect of sleep on health, particularly cardiovascular health.
Now it’s really well known, there have been many studies over the years, that indicate that lack of sleep leads to increased rates of heart disease, stroke, but also cognitive impairment, memory function, immune system function. There is a lot of information on the topic and it uniformly shows that there is a whole host of things that go wrong when you don’t have enough sleep.
In this study, what they did, though, is very interesting. They looked at many, many, many studies, they aggregated them together, including a total of over three million people. They looked at people who get too much sleep. It was very interesting, because people who get too much sleep, more than the ideal seven to eight hours, also have increased rates of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, strokes, things like that. So there’s a sweet spot in there somewhere, seven, eight hours. I don’t believe everyone’s going to fit that mold, but for most people, it’s really going to be the optimal target.
Another interesting thing that this study revealed, is that when people wake up feeling not rested, their rates of cardiovascular disease also increases a lot. So it’s really important that you do whatever it takes to sleep well and sleep a good amount. Seven to eight hours, no less, no more, on a regular basis, anyways.
This indicates that we must aim for quality, restful sleep. What are the things that are going to affect your quality of sleep? Well, simple things. Exercise, breathing fresh air on a regular basis, not eating food that are going to rev up your metabolism, particularly in the evening (think coffee, chocolate, alcohol).
Other things that are going to increase your quality of sleep is decreasing pain level, getting adjusted so you feel better and have a balance autonomic nervous system.
Those are things that are going to greatly enhance the quality of your sleep. Now remember, we know from this study that you need enough sleep, but not too much, and you need high quality sleep that you can maintain optimum health.
I can’t wait to see you and help you sleep better.