The Healing Power of Sleep Guest Article By Gina Shaw at WebMD Cosmetic dentistry is one way to look more healthy, youthful and energetic. A healthy, beautiful smile will improve your overall well being, both emotionally and physically. Cosmetic dentistry is the most frequently requested dental service we provide at Connecticut Sedation Dentist, Connecticut’s premier Sedation Dentistry provider.
With sedation dentistry we help our patients look and feel their best, often in as few as one or two visits with Thomas Peltzer, Connecticut’s Sedation Dentist. There are, however, other components that contribute to a healthy, vibrant individual and smile. Sleep deprivation takes a toll on your mind, body, and overall health in ways that may surprise you. At Gentle Dental Care in CT we focus on whole body health and a good night’s rest is a vital component to maintaining that health.
Research shows that chronic lack of sleep is linked to colds and flu, diabetes, heart disease, mental health, and even obesity. So it’s natural to ask: Does getting adequate sleep protect you from illness? The answer: It helps. “Sleep is a quiescent period where the cells are doing a lot of repairing. Your hormones act differently when you’re asleep, and your immune system as well,” says Lisa Shives, MD, DABSM, founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Chicago. “If your immune system is out of whack, you can’t fight off illness — and I would venture to say that you can’t repair your cells very well, either.”
Here are five key health problems that research shows are worsened by lack of sleep and may be improved by getting at least seven hours of sleep a night.
1. The Sleep Link to Colds and Flu When you’re sleep deprived, you often feel “worn down” — and that’s a clue that your body is vulnerable to infection. “Not getting enough sleep makes you more vulnerable to picking up illnesses and not being able to fight them off,” says Donna Arand, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. “What’s going on is your immune system is degraded.” The less sleep you get, the weaker your immune system is, leaving it less able to fight off colds, flu, and other infections. Studies have even found that being sleep deprived can affect our response to vaccines. Since your immune response is suppressed, the body is slower in response to the vaccine to build up sufficient antibodies to fight off the disease.
2. The Sleep Link to Heart Disease Former President Bill Clinton recently confessed that he thinks lack of sleep had a lot to do with his recent hospitalization to unblock a clogged artery. “I didn’t sleep much for a month, that probably accelerated what was already going on,” Clinton said. He’s probably right. “When you don’t get enough sleep, you have an inflammatory response in your cardiovascular system — in the blood vessels and arteries — and that’s not a good thing!” says Arand. “We see the same thing in hypertension. If that sleep deprivation continues long term, chronic inflammation has been linked to things like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.”
3. The Sleep Link to Diabetes The key underlying problem in type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, where the body does not make proper use of this sugar-processing hormone. Guess what? When you’re sleep deprived, your body almost immediately develops conditions that resemble the insulin resistance of diabetes. “In one study of young, healthy adult males, they decreased their sleep time to about four hours per night for six nights,” says Arand. “At the end of those six nights, every one of those healthy young men was showing impaired glucose tolerance, a precursor to developing diabetes.” Another study found that people in their late 20s and early 30s who slept less than 6.5 hours per night had the insulin sensitivity of someone more than 60 years old.
4. The Sleep Link to Brain Function and Mental Health If you’re chronically sleep deprived, you may think you’re still driving safely and performing well at your job, but you’re probably wrong. Studies have found that people who aren’t getting enough sleep drive just as unsafely as someone who’s drunk. “We also know that people who are sleep deprived have very poor judgment when evaluating their own performance. They think they’re doing well on memory or eye-hand coordination tests, but they’re not,” says Arand. “The memory is also slightly degraded when you’re sleep deprived, and gets worse the more deprivation you have.”
5. The Sleep Link to Obesity Can not getting enough sleep really make you fat? Several studies over the past decade point to a link between sleep deprivation and obesity — in both adults and children. In one study, people who slept five hours per night were 73% more likely to become obese than those getting seven to nine nightly hours of sleep. In fact, one study found that lack of sleep was a bigger contributor to childhood obesity than any other factor.
Nobody knows exactly why this might be, but some research has pointed to hormonal imbalances as the culprit. For example, lack of sleep has been linked to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which reduces hunger. The good news in all this is that you can repair the damage from inadequate sleep fairly quickly. “The system is very quick to respond,” says Arand. “For example, the young men in the diabetes study returned to a normal state of glucose tolerance after just a few nights of regular sleep. Many of these conditions will repair themselves — unless, of course, you get so chronically sleep deprived that you’ve caused permanent damage to your health.”
For additional Health Information View Us At: http://www.ConnecticutSedationDentist.com or Call 860-747-5711 Thomas Peltzer, DMD, 87 East Street, Plainville, CT 06062 YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/CTSedationDentist?feature=guide