Sleeping Beauty had it right…A good night’s rest is paramount to looking great, but do you know the science behind it? I’ll spare you the blog post about how to prepare for a good night’s rest, because you can find that information everywhere on the web.
I want to share with you the science behind it, so the next time you decide to burn the midnight oil, you’ll understand what’s at stake.
The body does it’s repair work while you’re sleeping. This is the time your body performs daily maintenance and healing, and where deep restoration occurs. No sleep= no restoration.
We all know that not getting enough sleep will make you feel sluggish the next day, but it also diminishes the amount of REM sleep you get (that’s when you dream), and lack of REM sleep can effect your cardiovascular health, your immune system, your weight and even your memory!
“In a study done at the University of Chicago, Dr. Eve Van Cauter found that, “after four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights, healthy young men had blood test results that nearly matched those of diabetics. Their ability to process blood sugar was reduced by 30 percent, they had a huge drop in their insulin response, and they had elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can lead to hypertension and memory impairment”
One such consideration is how the body regulates sleep itself. The body is monitored by the called the Circadian Rhythm, a natural internal clock that resets itself every 24-hours(5). This clock releases different chemicals in the body, depending on if it thinks the body needs to sleep or be awake. It is most easily set by direct, or as scientist are now discovering, indirect light. It is a common fact that it is easier to sleep with a light on than without, and scientists are now realizing that is because of the Circadian Rhythm. What this means is that every time you turn on a light, you are resetting the Rhythm just a little, making the individual cells within the body not release chemicals or produce the necessary proteins at the right time. Resetting the Rhythm also means that the body is working overtime, making it more out of balance and less efficient. Thus, not only are the necessary chemicals imbalanced, but the body will age faster as it is forced to work for longer and longer hours without being able to restore itself.” Source: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/2078
The pineal gland, or third eye, is located in the geometric center of the brain.
The pineal gland was called the “third eye” by ancient people. It was thought to have mystical powers. This may be why the French philosopher Descartes decided that the pineal gland was the seat of the human soul, the location of what we call the mind. The pineal does contain a complete map of the visual field of the eyes, and it plays several significant roles in human functioning.
It is the center for the production of the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is implicated in a wide range of human activities. It regulates daily body rhythms, most notably the day/night cycle (circadian rhythms). Melatonin is released in the dark, during sleep.
When you are exposed to artificial light at night (from your T.V., your laptop or Kindle) it signals to the pineal gland to stop the production of melatonin. The pineal gland calcifies with age and melatonin production correspondingly decreases. This decline in melatonin has been suggested to be a trigger for the aging process.
Like we need anything else to accelerate the aging process! Damn you Netflix for making me age faster!!
I confess, being an entrepreneur means we work a lot, many more hours than we did at our corporate jobs, but we do it because we love it (and replying to emails at 1 a.m. while watching a marathon of Orange is the New Black is fun!). However, I can also report that a lot of these lack-of-sleep symptoms have happened to me.
Honestly, I think I wrote this blog post more for myself, this advice is golden. My goal is to get to bed by 10 p.m. each night (just as soon as I finish watching the entire season of Orange is the New Black!).