Already the German Physician Hufeland (1762-1836) quoted in a saying: “A human being ages during the day and rejuvenates during the night.” A true fact, since only during sleep – namely during deep sleep – our body is able to completely recover and even rejuvenate. Because, during the course of one year 98 per cent of our body cells become renewed during sleep. Healthy, restful and especially bioenergetic sleep provides your body with new power, vitality and balance. If you don’t get enough quality sleep you are going to feel exhausted, tired and sluggish.
Permanent lack of sleep makes us look tired and old. Furthermore it might trigger serious diseases. Therefore, healthy sleep is essential for you and your plans. We are sleeping about one third of our lives for a good reason! Each time, when you are in a phase of deep sleep your body uses the resting for regeneration of the organism, repairs damaged tissues, activates healing processes, organs and cells are supplied with metabolic fuels and old or diseased cells are replaced by new and healthy ones. These processes also become visible in your skin: after a restful night your skin is rosy and smooth, your complexion is glowing. This is because, the moisture depots under the skin are refilled during sleep.
Production of hormones during sleep
Sleep regulating hormones circulate in our blood. Before sleep onset, for example melatonin is released. The so-called sleeping hormone makes us tired and is responsible for a lot of positive physical effects: it supports memory performance, has a life-prolonging effect and strengthens your immune-system. While sleeping, your body also enhances production of growth hormones which support growth of muscles, cartilage and bones. At the same time, they support reduction of fat reserves. Growth hormones are only released during deep sleep, thus increasingly from 11.00 p.m. to 03.00 a.m. In the early morning hour, the body prepares for waking up: the production of the stress hormone cortisol becomes increased.
Severe consequences of sleep debt
The average amount of sleep needed ranges from seven to eight hours per night. Population surveys clearly show that we go to bed too late and have to get up too early. Inevitably, this leads to a chronic sleep debt. Amongst others, this is due to a lack of positive attitude towards the importance of sleep – ultimately, a question of personal life- and sleeping-culture. Sadly, this development leads to a more or less frequent lack of sleep. Many people underestimate the health risk of sleep debt. In a nutshell: lack of sleep is fattening, makes stupid and sick. US-studies prove, that the life expectancy of people with bad sleep is shorter.
Test series with test persons who had to learn vocabulary revealed that consistent lack of sleep makes stupid since memory performance becomes decreased. Just to remind you: learned things – hence knowledge – gets finally memorized during sleep! So, if you lack deep sleep you are going to forget much faster. During REM-sleep especially motoric skills like driving, playing piano, sports etc. are processed and solidified. Only when you have sufficient REM-sleep you will experience training progress.
Bad sleep might lead to overweight
You’d like to pay attention to your body weight and your shape? Better care for sufficient sleep! During nighttime, we easily do twelve or more hours without any food – something that is hard to achieve during daytime. Astonishingly, during the night our energy consumption is insignificantly lower than during the day. The reason why we still don’t need any food in the night is the hormone leptin which is inhibiting appetite. Once the sleep is interrupted, the sensation of hunger returns. Reason is the opponent of leptin – the hormone ghrelin which is taking over while we are awake. One reason why sleep disturbed people try to compensate their discomfort with a visit to the fridge. Furthermore, we tend to eat fat and unhealthy food when we have too few sleep.
Trends, visible in practice. Because, the modern, stressed human being tends to fewer sleep. During the last 25 years, we’ve lost about one hour of sleep. With catastrophic effects. A tiny example: more and more people suffer under diabetes type II. Unfortunately only the delivery of insulin is set, a change in lifestyle remains unconsidered. But, it is decisive that people concerned adept their lifestyle to their disease. Regarding this, the importance of sleep got proved in a study of the University of Chicago.
Too few sleep might be dangerous
161 participants suffering under diabetes type II had to write down their actual amount of sleep. And how much they subjectively would have needed. Furthermore, they had to evaluate their sleeping quality on the basis of 19 points. Subsequently, their HbA1c value was tested. This is a blood value stating the average blood sugar level of the last three months. A low value between four and six points reflects a healthy blood sugar balance. The result of the study: participants with too few sleep were not able to keep their blood sugar level permanently constant. So, diabetics not only should have sufficient sleep but should also improve their sleeping quality by sticking to a regular sleep-wake-rhythm.
Too few sleep might lead to a poor blood sugar value and a poor ability to react
Even three hours lack of sleep per week increases to blood sugar level by 1.1 points, as the study showed. This example reveals that the sleep duration has a big impact on our health. Especially risk groups – in our example diabetics – should care for sufficient sleep. Seven to eight hours are perfect.
But, not only is our health at risk. Too few or bad sleep also increases the risk of accidents in traffic and/or at work. Scientists found out that lack of sleep clearly reduces the reaction of drivers – it might be compared with the reaction of a driver with a blood-alcohol level of 1.0.
So, the decisive factor is and remains sleeping quality. A good sleeping quality only is achieved by sufficient and restful sleep.