It is 8:00 am, pre-coffee (if that’s your thing), and you’re getting ready to walk out the door after a night of staying up with your sick spouse, child, or roommate. You’re starting to feel super-human, juggling all your pre-work morning responsibilities with a heavy head and groggy eyes, when your spouse/child/roommate walks up to you and asks an innocent question: “I’m hungry. What are we having for breakfast?” You look at their cheerful face and take instant offense. You think, “What do you mean, what’s for breakfast? Can’t you see I’m simultaneously feeding the dog, prepping the beans for tonight’s slow-cooker dinner, and reading Junior’s school newsletter?” According to a new U.C. Berkeley study published in the Journal of Neuroscience earlier this week, there is a strong link between a lack of quality sleep and decreased ability to distinguish between positive and negative emotional facial expressions in others. Researchers viewed brain scans and monitored the heart rates of 18 adult participants while they randomly viewed 70 images of faces with random expressions: positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Each individual viewed the facial images twice, once when they were fully rested and once after they had been awake for 24 consecutive hours. The study noted a neural link between the quality and amount of sleep a person gets and his or her ability to correctly process others’ facial expressions. The results of the study inferred that there is “a role for REM sleep in affective brain recalibration” and “the next-day success of emotional discrimination…” All the more reason to get a good night’s sleep! For more information on the study, you can refer to the following articles: http://news.berkeley.edu/2015/07/14/brain-facialexpressions/ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/15/sleep-brain-emotions_n_7801726.html
You may think your body just shuts down when you sleep. However, your body goes through an amazing and complex process. As you go through the four stages of sleep each night, your body triggers processes that help you achieve that rested and healthy feeling the next morning.
Here’s a graphic from the Huffington Post that shows each stage of the sleep cycle and the effects that being in that stage have on your body.
For more information on the the cycles and their effects, check out the full article, Your Body Does Incredible Things When You Aren’t Awake.
So be sure to rest up and get your ZZZs!
We have said it once and we will say it again, sleep is important! But many people are still not getting enough good sleep every night and are, in fact, sleep deprived. Here are some simple ways to improve your nights sleep.
Length of Sleep
It can be easy to convince yourself that the length of time you sleep is not that important. However, it is essential to your health, performance, and recovery. It is important to get a full night of sleep each night to perform your best during the day.
Importance of the Sleep Phases
There are different phases of sleep, two of which are very important in determining the quality of your sleep: slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) and REM sleep. The human body is pretty amazing, as it will manage the length of time you stay in each cycle. The time you spend in each cycle will adjust automatically based on what your body needs and the total length of time you are sleeping.
A way to ensure you are getting enough zzz’s and enough time in those sleep phases is to go to bed at a decent time. Give yourself extra time to relax and fall asleep by making your bedtime a little earlier, if needed. Consistency is great too if you go to bed at the same time every night it’s easier for your body to develop good sleep habits.
Keep distractions out of the bedroom. Make your bed about sleeping, not watching TV or playing on your phone, tablet, or computer. Creating a restful environment will help your body relax and make falling asleep a little easier.
Take these tips and enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
Our brains account for only 2% of our body’s mass, yet they use approximately a quarter of our entire energy supply. How does the brain receive and then expel the vital nutrients needed for all that energy? New research suggests that sleep has some amazing impacts on the brain. This Ted Talks video features Jeff Iliff, a neuroscientist, who explores the unique functions of the brain during sleep.
The importance of a good night’s sleep is often ignored as impending deadlines approach, or the countless tasks of the day require you to stay up later and later. But what is the damage that can be caused by not getting enough sleep? A sleep study was preformed last year, and the results were astonishing. The study showed that just sleeping less than six hours a night for a week caused changes to more than 700 genes! Here are some of the scary effects that not getting enough sleep can cause:
After one night of inadequate sleep you are…
More likely to eat more and be hungrier. Studies have shown that short-term sleep deprivation can result in a preference for high-calorie, high-carb foods and a greater likelihood of choosing unhealthy foods options.
You can be less focused and have memory problems. Being exhausted zaps your focus and renders you forgetful. According to Harvard University, sleep is thought to be involved in the process of memory consolidation, which means that not getting enough sleep can make it more difficult to learn and retain new things.
More likely to have an accident. Getting less than six hours of sleep can triple your risk of drowsy driving-related accidents, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
More likely to catch a cold. Proper rest is a major factor in a healthy immune system. A study preformed by Carnegie Mellon University found that sleeping fewer than seven hours a night tripled the risk of coming down with a cold.
You can’t look your best. Beauty sleep is a very real thing! Researchers have found that there are links between sleep deprivation and skin aging.
After an extended period of sleep deprivation you will experience an increased risk of stroke, obesity, some types of cancers, and heart disease, as well as other serious medical issues.
To see the full article by the Huffington Post, Horrifying Picture of What Sleep Loss Will Do To You click HERE.
Make getting 7-8 hours a sleep of night your New Year’s resolution for next year and sleep your way to better health!
We all know how it feels to have a restless night. You feel irritable, dizzy, and unfocused throughout the next day. But when you are chronically sleep deprived, it can be seriously detrimental to your health. It can affect your body in many ways and in several different places.
Body Fat– People who get only a few hours of sleep per night tend to have more body fat than those who get a full night’s rest. The lack of sleep/energy is compensated for the following day by consuming extra calories.
Stomach– Lack of sleep leads to a lower production of leptin, a hormone that regulates hunger and the storage of fat.
Motor Skills– After being awake for an extended period of time, you will notice a loss of precision in your motor skills. There is a delayed reaction from your brain in signaling a physical response.
Blood Pressure– Someone who sleeps very little on a regular basis will have much higher blood pressure than if they slept more. This is due to increased amounts of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress.
Pancreas– People who are regularly deprived of sleep are twice as likely to develop diabetes, regardless of age or fitness level. The regulation of other hormone production is disrupted as well.
Heart– Cardiovascular issues tend to develop in a large portion of people who have chronic sleep problems. The issues can range from weak or abnormal heartbeats to clogged arteries, or even cardiac arrest.
Brain– In a period of just a few days, you can damage and kill brain cells by not getting enough sleep at night. Without precious sleep, your brain cannot rid itself of proteins that cause plaque build-up. Over time, this plaque can cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
To learn more about the physical effects of sleep deprivation, check out this article by Arianne Cohen, called 7 Physical Effects of Sleep Deprivation, from the Psyche section of Details.
Meet Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist who studies sleep patterns in the brain. In the following video, he speaks about a range of topics relating to the importance of sleep.
He first describes three theories on the main function of sleep, as well as which theory he subscribes to. He then discusses what happens to a person (and the person’s brain) when sleep is lacking, as well as ideas about how to improve sleep quality and duration. Foster debunks some common myths and misconceptions about sleep, then speaks about the correlation between mental health and sleep disruption. He urges people to take sleep more seriously and realize the huge role that it plays in making us happy and healthy.
Watch to learn more: