- Michael Ceccon
The Data Is In: How Irregular Sleep Impacts Metabolism
Frequently, when conversations of self-care take place, it can be a common occurrence for the conversation to eventually steer towards getting a full nights's sleep. We know that getting sleep is essential to our well being. However, some of the more subtle nuances of how lack of sleep can impact the mind and body are still being uncovered.
In a recent study published by The American Diabetes Association it was concluded that, "Increased variability in sleep duration and timing was associated with higher prevalence and incidence of metabolic abnormalities even after considering sleep duration and other lifestyle factors."
The short version: When we have irregular sleep patterns we increase the chances of creating irregularities in our metabolism which can lead to a variety of metabolic disorders such as obesity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, or hypertension.
Sometimes life can be non-stop and sleep might be one of the sacrifices we make to meet the demands of a hectic modern life. However, with that said, due to the impact lack of sleep can have on the body it can be helpful for our physical and mental health and well being to find ways to prioritize sleep better.
In addition to metabolic abnormalities, studies have shown that lack of sleep can mimic legal levels of alcohol intoxication. Other studies have shown that, without proper sleep, our ability to form new memories is diminished. And, if all that wasn't enough...in a study published earlier this year it was also shown that sleep deprivation can accelerate brain damage incurred from Alzheimer's.
Sometimes it's not enough to just tell ourselves that we will catch up on sleep tomorrow or make sacrifices to accommodate many of life's demands. The data is in...and, sleep is necessary to regulate peak cognitive and physical functioning. It's absolutely necessary as a self care practice to ensure we are getting enough sleep if we want to be fully present and engaged to meet life's demands.
Based on the data, ensuring we get a full night's sleep regularly means we will have a better chance to be present in our life as well as maintain healthy body weight, cognitive function, and prevent other physical and brain disorders from developing later in life.
Hopefully this will reassure those that make sacrifices to get a full night't sleep that it is a worthwhile endeavor and hopefully it will inspire others to make getting a full night's sleep a higher priority. It will, and does, pay dividends in terms of our overall health, wellness, and quality of life. Here's to a good night's rest!
Study links irregular sleep patterns to metabolic disorders
Cross-sectional and Prospective Associations of Actigraphy-Assessed Sleep Regularity With Metabolic Abnormalities: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis
Sleep deprivation accelerates Alzheimer's brain damage
A deficit in the ability to form new human memories without sleep