How Sleep Shapes Your Health

How Sleep Shapes Your Health

Sleep and Your Health

Almost five years ago, I gave birth to a wonderful baby girl. Since then, my sleep has changed. I am always surprised by the adaptability of our physiology. I have noticed that if my sleep quality is poor, I become more forgetful. I'll forget my cellphone, forget when I have meetings, and not articulate clearly with patients. These are all common side effects of sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep will lead to changes to our physical health, immune function, mental health, and cognition.

We begin sleeping in utero; lack of sleep as an infant can lead to potential obesity and behavioral problems in children. If sleep continues to be disturbed, this may compromise your health. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society have determined that adults aged 18 to 60 should be getting seven or more hours of sleep per night regularly. Infants, children, and teens should be getting anywhere from 9-14 hours, depending on age. 

What does optimal sleep look like? As a physician, I see many patients who come in to address their fatigue. Getting more sleep, for one, would decrease fatigue during the day. Other benefits include:

These benefits are just the start; our circadian rhythm and immune system are very intertwined. One could extrapolate that getting optimal sleep could decrease your risk for autoimmune disease and maybe even cancer.

If you are not getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, working on sleep hygiene is always a place to start. Most electronic devices have applications to decrease the bright blue light coming from our many screens, some even with a timer option. Overall decreasing screen time could allow for more relaxation. Keeping a sleep log or journal is a helpful diagnostic tool to share with your physician. Another easy change could be switching coffee and espresso to green tea or avoiding caffeine altogether. If nothing else, being consistent with your bedtimes, even on the weekends might make a big difference. 


1. Pubmed

2. Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Consensus Conference Panel, Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, Dinges DF, Gangwisch J, Grandner MA, Kushida C, Malhotra RK, Martin JL, Patel SR, Quan SF, Tasali E, Non-Participating Observers, Twery M, Croft JB, Maher E, American Academy of Sleep Medicine Staff, Barrett JA, Thomas SM, Heald JL Clin Sleep Med. 2015 Jun;11(6):591-2. Epub 2015 Apr 28.

3. Sleeping like a baby. NDNR, September 5, 2010. Catherine Darley, ND.

Keywords: #sleep #sleephygiene #cardiovasculardisease #diabetes #obesity #bettersleep 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Keeping Children and Adolescents Cool This Summer

The Phoenix valley's three-digit temperatures have arrived, increasing the risks for heat-related illness in children. Heat-related illnesses occur when a child’s temperature gets too high either by ambient temperatures and/or physical activity.

Searching to Treat Painful Periods

Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent, inflammatory disease that affects women during their adolescents to their postmenopausal years. Women with endometriosis experience cyclical or chronic pain that can be debilitating.

Treating PCOS Naturally

You just got diagnosed with PCOS, or maybe you just found out what it is and think that it aligns with your symptoms. Regardless of where you are in the process, you might be wondering what happens next.

Are Detoxes and Cleanses Harmful?

Juice cleanses and internet "detoxes" can lead to blood sugar drops, electrolyte fluctuations, and if not from an organic source may increase pesticide intake.

5 Hints That You Might Have SIBO

The health of our microbiome has an impact on our health from our cardiovascular function, immune function, mental health, metabolic function, and more. But it's not just about having the right "types" of bacteria, but also how much of those bacteria.

Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

We often desire to make positive changes or set goals at the start of a new year. But by the second week in February, most resolution-makers fail. Setting a goal or making a resolution can ultimately help to improve oneself, so why is it so challenging?