By Hakeem Alexander
(Exercising Your Mind) Last night I did not get the amount of sleep I need to stay alert the whole day. So now, in addition to my all organic almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, filberts and banana, I also have a freshly brewed cup of organic coffee to pick me up.
I do not usually drink much coffee, I prefer herbal teas with little or no caffeine, because then I would not sleep at all.
Last night I happened to be up later than usual because I was reading chapter 47 of the Fourth Edition in Principles of Neural Science, the chapter on Sleep and Dreaming.
I am now mining chapter 48, Disorders of Sleep and Wakefulness for this and future publications. At the moment, I am on the section called:
Chronic Insufficient Sleep Syndrome Reflects a Failure to Obtain Sufficient Sleep
It opens with: Chronic insufficient sleep syndrome results when a person persistently fails to obtain the amount of sleep necessary to maintain normal alertness throughout the day.
Just like how I chose to lose sleep last night to read the source book I am using, chronic insufficient sleep syndrome is caused by a voluntary restriction of daily sleep time. This next case will demonstrate just how common this actually is.
Last night, when I asked a good friend and fellow Yoga Instructor how she was doing, she replied “I’m good, busy, tired at times, but overall really good“.
When I told her I was taking an opportunity to write about National Sleep Awareness Week, she replied “Cool! Yeah I’m tired because I wake up at 4am Monday through Friday to teach and have early clients on most weekends also. Trying to teach myself to go to bed earlier“.
Her situation directly correlates to chapter 48 that I am now reading. It continues in the second paragraph:
“Chronic insufficient sleep syndrome typically occurs in adults during the third to sixth decades of life and is more common in men. People at risk might include students, those working two jobs, those with very early morning work report times, or those with unusually extensive work and homecare responsibilities“.
Another friend of mine who works in High Definition TeleVision Post-Production, usually sleeps in much longer on weekends when not working, or stays in bed all day.
Both he and my Yogi friend are not drug or alcohol users, and neither have been diagnosed with, or display any abnormal psychological symptoms. I know that my TeleVision friend recently passed a physical exam in order to obtain life insurance from another of my associates who sells insurance.
In addition, I just called my Yogi friend to confirm whether she had any medical conditions. She also recently completed a physical and is in sound health.
Again, Principles of Neural Science accurately states:
“Clinical evaluation reveals normal psychological and physical health, no history of a prior medical cause of the sleepiness, and the absence of alcohol or drug abuse. Patients do not have a disease that would interfere with their ability to maintain biologically necessary sleep—they just don’t spend enough time in bed“.
In 1999, Eve Van Cauter, PhD., conducted a study at the University of Chicago involving sleep deprivation.
She found that healthy young adults, like myself and two friends, could be made to have glucose and insulin characteristics like those of diabetics!
This was done by restricting sleep to 4 hours each night for 7 days. Imagine what cumulative, negative effects may develop from chronic sleep deficiency over much longer periods.
For more info:
I have already attempted to communicate the idea that unhealthy eating may adversely effect sleep.
It is also possible to inflict harm on our appetites and metabolism by not getting enough sleep. Dr. Cauter also found that sleep deprived individuals have lower leptin levels.
Leptin is a hormone that helps people feel satisfied after eating. Therefore, lower levels may result in bigger appetites leading to over-eating.
Sleep deprivation may also impair the body’s ability to efficiently use insulin, and also cause hypertension, or high blood-pressure and cardiovascular disease. These are characteristics of diabetics.
The symptoms of fatigue and hunger are similar, and may stimulate a person to eat excessively when they mistake symptoms of insufficient sleep for hunger. Obviously this can trigger a perpetual cycle.
Poor nutrition, which includes over-eating has been demonstrated to cause sleep-disorders, and sleep disorders may provoke unhealthy eating.
The average recommended amount of sleep is between 7 to 9 hours. But sleep needs are genetically determined and varies with each individual.
Getting less sleep than this norm, or those who need more but stick to this alloted time, will result in sleep deficiency.
It is very important for me, you, and everyone concerned about optimum health to focus on good sleep hygiene practices.
Without proper sleep, even our exercise efforts become less effective. Although exercise may help boost our body’s ability to properly use insulin, this may be easily neutralized by lack of adequate sleep.
Being aware of your personal sleep needs, and using this awareness will optimize your nutrition, exercise efforts, health, and overall quality of life.
Principles of Neural Science, 4/e
Copyright 2000 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.