Are you obese, diabetic, or do you have a heart disease? You can now ameliorate your condition with a good night sleep, plus of course good usage of your drugs.
In March edition of Readers Digest. A detailed analysis of how sleep could be of benefit to those suffering from the enumerated illnesses. I shall only give an abridged version. Like I had discussed in “The Process of Aging”, lack of sleep could lead to accelerated aging.
According to the research by Prof Meir Kryger, Director of Sleep Disorders Centre, Canada, when laboratory animals are deprived of sleep:
a) They succumb to infections.
b) Their hairs fall out and they rapidly waste away.
c) It could be a speed-up of aging process, or it could be an immune system gone haywire.
I have noticed an epidemic level of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in this country. And sleep could be the missing link.
The obesity link.
♥ People who are not getting enough sleep risk getting fat. I know you will be surprised, because you think it is the other way round.
♥ In a study by Eva Van Custer, a sleep scientist at the, University of Chicago, men who were limited to 4 hours of night sleep had decreased levels of leptin, a hormone that signals to the body, that you are full.
♥ That means if you don’t sleep enough, the satiety regulating hormone – leptin, will not be secreted enough and you keep on eating excessively.
The heart disease link.
■ In a Japanese study in 2001, men who slept 5 hours or less a night were more than twice, as likely to suffer a heart attack than men who slept 8 hours.
■ Explanation – according to Prof Alexandar Vgoritees, this indicates that lack of sleep is read by the body as a disease state, due to secretion of C-reaction protein which targets the heart.
■ This leads to inflammation of the arteries and secretion of cylokines – immune system molecules.
■ Over the years, this inflammation can clog and damage the arteries leading to hypertension, stroke and heart disease.
The diabetic link.
● Prof Van Cauter recently monitored 2, 700 sleepers between the ages of 23 & 42.
● One group slept for 5 hours while the other group slept for 8 hours.
● They were tested for insulin resistance.
● The shorter sleepers had 50% more insulin resistance than the longer sleepers.
● Those who slept for shorter hours were pre-disposed to diabetes.
How much sleep do we need?
★ A new-born baby needs 16 – 18 hours of sleep.
★ 6-year-olds need 8 – 10 hours of sleep.
★ 12-year-olds need 9 hours of sleep.
★ Adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep. Give or take one or two hours.
What are sleep disorders? These are;
2) Paralysed wakefulness.
3) Insomnia(sleeplessness) – this is our concern.
What is insomnia?
This is a state of sleeplessness. It could be occasional or chronic. Sometimes it is not really total sleeplessness. In such instances, the person has slept, but did not realise it, because it was so restless and non-refreshing.
What are the causes of insomnia? There are 2 types;
Occasional causes of insomnia;
♡ Feeling cold; using too light bed clothing.
♡ Excessive fatigue.
♡ Excessive excitement.
♡ Nervousness or worry.
♡ Pain or illness.
Regular causes of insomnia;
♥ Difficulty in breathing when lying down, as in lung and heart disorders.
♥ Bad eating habits or drinking tea or coffee late at night.
♥ A need to urinate during the night, either due to excessive drinks or drugs (Diuretics).
♥ A noisy, airless, or overheated bedroom.
♥ Lack of exercise during the day.
♥ Forcing or trying to sleep more than you need.
♥ Psychological factors; overwork, worry, anxiety, emotional upset, etc.
♥ The major cause of insomnia is simply the fear that one is not going to sleep.
How do we treat insomnia (sleeplessness)?
1) Remove external causes and discomforts.
2) Cultivate a relaxed attitude to sleep.
3) Take a warm bath at night before going to bed.
4) Take a warm beverage or drink.
5) Quiet reading or singing while ensconced in your bed will help.
6) Gentle and methodical routine of preparing for bed will lull you to sleep.
7) If you suffer from insomnia, please do not take a nap in the afternoon.
8) Go to bed only when you are feeling drowsy.
9) Force yourself out of bed if you don’t drift off within 20 minutes.
10) Sleeping pills are best used only when there are serious and fairly temporary, outside emotional disturbances e.g acute grief from death of a close relative, and best prescribed by a doctor.
What is our take this week?
We must attempt sleeping more, that is, close to our allocated hours of sleep, as stated above, so as to reduce heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Dr Ojum Ekeoma Ogwo. The Sun