As our patients head out on their summer holidays, one of the things we hear most often is, “I can’t wait to sleep.”
If you’ve found yourself feeling the same way and are wondering why, this month’s National Geographic has a long article about sleep that is very much worth the read.
Some interesting and important takeaways:
- The average American gets 7 hours sleep. That’s 2 hours less than a century ago.
- The WHO has described night shift work as a “probable human carcinogen”.
- When the circadian rhythm breaks down there is an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.
- Blue light at night is bad for sleep. Red light is better. Blue light at night comes from things like screens.
- If you can fall asleep anywhere anytime, especially if you are under 40, that’s a sure sign you are sleep deprived.
- Our brain cells shrink bring sleep, allowing space for the cerebral fluid to wash away the waste products, including beta–amyloid, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s.
There’s plenty more in the article, but the biggest takeaway is that sleep is wildly important to our overall health. It is worth doing, and worth doing well. Reclaiming it as an important part of your overall health regime–as important as eating right and exercising.