November 3, 2011
BY DR. AXE
Sleep is one of the most undervalued essential practices in modern society. In 1910, an average night’s sleep was 9 hours. By 1975, it was down to 7.5 hours. From 2000 to 2002, polls found that it had fallen to 6.9 hours. Today, many people average just 5-6 hours of sleep per night.
At the same time, obesity rates have doubled! Sleep and the neuroendocrine system are intricately entwined. Chronic lack of sleep is thought to be linked to diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss. Lack of sleep increases blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
A recent study by the University of Chicago found that cutting sleep from 8 hours to 4 hours a night for less than one week produced physiological changes that resembled the effects of advanced aging and early diabetes.
Those changes happened in less than one week!
The study’s participants took 40% longer to regulate their blood-sugar levels after eating and their ability to secrete insulin and respond to it decreased by 30%.
Lack of sleep affects the secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormone and increased levels of the “stress hormone,” cortisol.
The study found that recovery occurred and above-average functioning occurred when the subjects slept more than 8 hours a night.