At Salin Plus we are fascinated by sleep, specifically, the power of sleep to transform health and wellbeing. While our device works to counter some of the physical conditions that can stop people from enjoying a full night of quality rest, we are always interested to learn more about the health value of good quality “shut eye”.
The markers of good health are no longer simply: diet, exercise and weight control. While there is so much more to learn about sleep (especially in the digital age) we do know sleep is a crucial element in this mix.
Sleep is an active state:our brains are very active while we sleep. In fact, some parts of the brain use more oxygen and glucose while asleep than when awake.
Deep sleep comes first: the first three hours of sleep have the deepest stages of sleep (Slow Wave Sleep). Then, after a certain amount of time, the brain seems to flip a switch and brainwaves become active and tight again: this is rapid eye movement, or REM sleep. This is when we dream and can be easily roused. (You can understand how coughing or respiratory discomfort at this point in the sleep cycle is certain to wake you up!)
A sleep cycle lasts 90 minutes.
We wake up multiple times a night but are not aware of it.
We forget most of the REM dreams we have in a night!
A body clock affects our tiredness:the timing of our need for sleep is based on two things: how long we have been awake, and our body clock. If we stay awake all night we will feel more tired at 4am than at 10am.
The ‘dead zone’: scientists call the time between 3am and 5am the ‘dead zone’ because it is when our body clock makes us ‘dead’ tired.
Falling asleep can be hard:sleep onset is not something we can control, you can’t make yourself sleep! All we can do is create the right conditions for sleep – both in our minds and in our environment.
Getting too little sleep, or too much sleep, are both unhealthy behaviors!
Genetics and sleep: many aspects of sleep are genetically controlled. Recent studies may have identified the gene that makes some people cope more easily with a lack of sleep than others
What happens to my body when I get too little sleep?
Sleep deprivation creates so many problems for your body, making you vulnerable to harm and health problems in the short and long term, including but not limited to:
Inability to think clearly or concentrate.
Impaired cognitive processes: inability to learn/retain information.
Accidents: drowsiness is a leading cause in motor vehicle and workplace accidents!
Compromised immune function: you’ll get sick, more frequently!
High blood pressure: less than five hours sleep per night will lead to increased blood pressure.
Heart disease: increased inflammation in the body plus high blood pressure.
Risk of diabetes: sleep deprivation affects your body’s release of insulin, causing high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Weight gain: lack of sleep affects your body’s ability to regulate hunger signals, meaning you’re more likely to overindulge.
Lack of balance and coordination.
Doubled risk of breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.
Shortened life expectancy!
What is the link between sleep and respiratory health?
The relationship between sleep and the respiratory health works both ways: breathing issues can interrupt sleep and create sleep debt; and sleep deprivation can make you vulnerable to contracting certain respiratory conditions (often thanks to weakened immune function).
For example, Sleep Apnea can interrupt and lower the quality of sleep causing sleep deprivation, leaving the patient more vulnerable to respiratory infections like the common cold, flu and coughs. Sleep deprivation can also exacerbate existing respiratory diseases, like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
What happens to my mind when I get too little sleep?
A lack of sleep can have very real and sometimes serious ramifications for mental health, causing: