If you think that you ARE NOT getting adequate sleep and have not faced up to this problem yet, you are laying yourself open to many health problems and, believe it or not, the likelihood of TRAGIC errors.
To emphasize the importance of adequate sleep, or rather the consequences of not getting enough, can be summarized in the below list of tragedies:
The meltdown of the reactor happened in 1986 and more than 160,000 children and 146,000 cleanup workers became victims of radiation poisoning as a result of living and working in that environment. The result was, and still is, birth defects, leukemia, anemia, cancers, thyroid disease, liver and bone marrow degeneration, and overall severely compromised immune systems.
THE ENGINEERS INVOLVED IN THE DISASTER HAD WORKED 13 HOURS OR MORE BEFORE THE MELTDOWN.
2. Three-Mile Island
In 1979 the nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania began losing coolant between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and the workers didn’t notice until the core had significantly overheated and melted.
THE INCIDENT WAS ATTRIBUTED TO “HUMAN ERROR DUE TO SLEEP DEPRIVATION.”
3. The Challenger Explosion
In January 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded after its launch, killing all seven on board
MANAGERS INVOLVED IN THE LAUNCH HAD SLEPT JUST TWO HOURS BEFORE REPORTING TO WORK AT 1 A.M.
4. The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez supertanker ran aground in Alaska, spilling 258,000 barrels of crude oil into the environment.
THE CREW HAD JUST FINISHED A 22-HOUR SHIFT LODING THE OIL, AND THE SHIP’S THIRD MATE WAS ASLEEP AT THE HELM WHEN DISASTER STRUCK.
If I recall correctly, those of us living in Istanbul may remember what a municipal bus driver said after causing a young girl to lose a leg; “I have been working for 18 hours.” Many more such incidents are fresh in our memories. NO, IT’S NOT THE BRAKE SYSTEM THAT FAILED; IT’S OVERWORK/SLEEP DEPRIVATION/FATIGUE.
I thought I’d start with these tragedies to get your attention. The health consequences of too little sleep, and yes that’s right “too much sleep”, are nothing to ignore or neglect.
Did you know that your brain cells shrink by about 60 percent to allow more efficient waste removal during sleep? Disruptions in your sleep also disrupt this important process.
“Going to the bathroom” disruptions are particularly bad because exposure to light stops the body’s production of melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH); two very important hormones the body manufactures at night/during sleep.
I have touched upon the importance of HGH before, remember: Slimness, muscularity, youthfulness, etc.
Melatonin is thought of as “the sleep hormone” and supplements became popular after its promotion as an answer to “jet lag”. It is, however, much more than that; melatonin inhibits the proliferation of a wide range of cancer cell types and also triggers cancer cell apoptosis, self-destruction. It is also an overall antioxidant.
If you have to get up to pee, at least do something about the bright lights. You will still be disrupting your sleep but the damage might be lessened.
Lack of sleep also decreases levels of LEPTIN, the hormone that takes a message to your brain for you to STOP EATING. Wait, it gets worse, at the same time levels of your HUNGER HORMONE, GHRELIN, increase. Thus, the resulting increase in hunger and appetite can easily lead to overeating and WEIGHT GAIN.
Researchers have also found that when participants cut their sleep from 7.5 to 6.5 hours a night, INCREASES IN ACTIVITY IN GENES ASSOCIATED WITH:
*Pain in adults over 50
Interrupted or impaired sleep can also:
*Increase your risk of heart disease and cancer
*Harm your brain by halting new neuron production
*Contribute to a pre-diabetic, insulin-resistant state
*Contribute to premature aging
*And increase your RISK OF DYING FROM ANY CAUSE
Diagnostic mistakes shot up by 400 percent among doctors who had worked for 24 consecutive hours.
Furthermore, sleep-deprived medical residents reported a 73 percent increase in self-inflicted needle sticks and scalpel stabs, and when driving home from work, they had a 170 percent increased risk of having a serious traffic accident.
Now, do I have your attention?
Well, given the criticism that my posts are a bit long-winded, I will tell you:
How many hours of sleep you need
Why over-sleeping is bad for you
How to improve your sleep quality
And, in general, how to become a better sleeper. NEXT WEEK.