You may or may not be a “cat person”, but you would probably agree that they sure know how to sleep!
What about you? Are you getting enough sleep?
This may not sound that important, but did you know that lack of sleep is a major contributing factor to your health status?
Adam Brown from the organization Diatribe which is dedicated to providing diabetes education and insights, recently shared a post after reading the book “Why We Sleep, Unlocking The Power Of Sleep And Dreams” by neuroscientist Matthew Waker, PhD. Adam who has Type 1 diabetes himself writes that “too little sleep might be the most destructive Diabetes Landmine, as it impacts every single area of this disease.”
Insufficient sleep, which is defined differently depending on your age category, is responsible for a host of issues, all of which contribute to common issues such as weight gain and moodiness. More surprising to many, is the negative impact of lack of sleep has on even larger health issues such as cardiovascular health, risk for depression and anxiety, increased risk of diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, and overall function of our immune system.
Immune system function most certainly caught my attention as this is a subject that we talk about quite often as it relates to health and wellness and the function of our endocannabinoid system. Remember that the endocannabinoid system is what is known as a modulatory system, meaning that in its role of maintaining a state of homeostasis for optimal function, it works across multiple other body systems and can either “turn up” or “turn down” responses. So if lack of sleep can alter our immune system, how then does the endocannabinoid system respond, or does it respond at all? According to Dr Walker and a review of clinical and epidemiological studies, the endocannabinoid system does in fact respond with an increase of the endocannabinoid 2-AG. Over time however this can actually work against us and potentially, responses meant to boost our energy level such as consuming calories, can lead to poor food choices with increased carbohydrate (especially sugar) and fat intake which can lead to weight gain or obesity related syndromes such as metabolic syndrome which has catastrophic impacts on health.
Our bodies rely on the endocannabinoid system to maintain the state of homeostasis needed for all of our other systems to function optimally. Lack of sleep negatively affects systems such as our immune system or cardiovascular system and it can eventually overwhelm our endocannabinoid system as well, negating the very system designed to restore balance and keeps us up and running.
The good news is that we can make a difference by simply, you guessed it, getting a good night sleep. “Sleep is your superpower”, says Dr. Walker. For those who may have difficulty getting enough sleep, it may be as simple as making the effort to do so and providing yourself with conditions conducive to slumber. For others, you may require a bit more assistance with underlying issues such as pain, stress, anxiety or side effects of prescription medications in order to increase your sleep time.
Lack of sleep is a major predictor of all cause mortality. It makes you less productive, less creative and less effective. It is critical to all body systems including the brain and it affects our ability to learn, our relationships and our health...so what are we waiting for? Your “sleep health” is critically important. Start your journey to wellness with a good night sleep.
Sleep Awareness week is March 8 through March 14, 2020. The Sleep Foundation has more information available.
Disclaimer Note To Readers:
This information is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice or to be any form of medical treatment and its use is at the discretion and good judgement of the reader. Consult your designated healthcare provider before changing any part of your current medical treatment including supplements, diets, and medications. Please see our website for additional information such as the FDA disclosure.