The Power Of Sleep
Ahhh…the joy of a good night’s rest or nap. If only we could all get quality rest regularly, then the world would truly be a better place. I know it sounds cliché, but it is true! Short-term sleep deprivation can affect judgment, mood, ability to learn and retain information, and may increase the risk of serious accidents and injury. Long term sleep deprivation has been linked to a host of health problems including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality. This suggests that if we all slept well and enough we would be wiser, happier, healthier and have an overall better quality of life. Who doesn’t want that?
You see, sleep isn’t exactly a time when your body and brain shuts off. While you rest, your brain stays busy, overseeing a wide variety of biological processes that keep your body running in top condition and preparing you for the day ahead. Sleeping gives your body the opportunity to “Reset”. Without enough hours of restorative sleep, you won’t be able to work, learn, create, or communicate at a level even close to your true potential. If you regularly skimp on sleep, you’re headed for a major mental and physical breakdown.
Melatonin is the “sleep hormone” It is a hormone produced in the body that induces sleepiness and maintains the inherent sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is also an antioxidant that can enter the central nervous system and heal the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve cells. It has many other function that I will not get into in this blog, but you can do your own research online or read Taming Pain.
Knowing how important sleep is for the human body, what can you do to improve your sleep quality? Here is a list of 5 things with which you can start.
Five things you can do to improve the your quality of sleep.
- Give yourself enough time to get 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep daily.
- No caffeine, alcohol or smoking 6 hours before bed. All these stimulants linger in the body well after consumption and can affect sleep.
- End “screen time” 2 hours before bed. Studies show that watching TV or working on the computer suppresses melatonin production for that night.
- Get melatonin in your system: 3 to 5 Mg tablet of Melatonin or Cherry Juice Concentrate (CJC) 30 minutes before bed. See our fact sheet on CJC for more info.
- Sleep in a dark, cool & quiet space: Light inhibits melatonin production, so get light blocking blinds or thick curtains in your bedroom. Turn down temperature. Experts say that a cool room (65° or so) makes for the best sleep, and research backs this notion. The quiet space is self-explanatory.
For a detailed explanation of the sleep cycle and its functions see our fact sheet entitled The Sleep Cycle.
References & suggested reading
- Barrett J, Lack L, Morris M. The sleep-evoked decrease of body temperature. Sleep. 1993;16:93-99.
- Carskadon MA, Acebo C, Richardson GS, Tate BA, Seifer R. An approach to studying circadian rhythms of adolescent humans. J Biol Rhythms. 1997;12:278-289.
- Carskadon MA, Labyak SE, Acebo C, Seifer R. Intrinsic circadian period of adolescent humans measured in conditions of forced desynchrony. Neurosci Lett. 1999;260:129-132.
- Coren S. Sleep deprivation, psychosis and mental efficiency. 1998.
- Dement WC, Vaughan CC. The Promise of Sleep: The Scientific Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep. Pan; 2001.
- Foundation. NS. 2006 Sleep in America Poll: Summary of Findings. Washington, DC: National Sleep Foundation; 2006.
- Hagenauer MH, Perryman JI, Lee TM, Carskadon MA. Adolescent changes in the homeostatic and circadian regulation of sleep. Dev Neurosci. 2009;31:276-284.
- Howatson G, Bell PG, Tallent J, Middleton B, McHugh MP, Ellis J. Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012;51:909-916.
- Interest. CfSitP. Caffeine content of food and drugs. Available at: http://www.cspinet.org/new/cafchart.htm. Accessed December 17, 2007.
- Jenni OG, Achermann P, Carskadon MA. Homeostatic sleep regulation in adolescents. Sleep. 2005;28:1446-1454.
- Lack LC, Gradisar M, Van Someren EJ, Wright HR, Lushington K. The relationship between insomnia and body temperatures. Sleep Med Rev. 2008;12:307-317.
- Pollak CP, Bright D. Caffeine consumption and weekly sleep patterns in US seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-graders. Pediatrics. 2003;111:42-46.
- Randall DK. Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep. 1st. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company; 2012.
- Rechtschaffen A, Bergmann BM. Sleep deprivation in the rat: an update of the 1989 paper. Sleep. 2002;25:18-24.
- Time.com. Euro 2012 Superfan Dies from Sleep Deprivation. 2012.
- Wardlaw C. Taming Pain: Lesson from the trenches. 2013.
- Zhang J. Memory Process and the Function of Sleep. Journal of theoretics. 2004;6: