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Reasons To Get More Sleep

June 12, 2013

My years as a chiropractor has shown me factors that patients deal with which can effect their quality of results. One of the most important predictors of healing is the fatigue factor. If a patient works long hours or burns the candle at both ends, I know that great results are going to be difficult. I'm not alone when it comes to this theory. New studies show up monthly about how sleep affects health, not just the speed of healing but things like high blood pressure, diabetes, and other health problems.

One of the most common factor found in people who are sleep-deprived is weight gain and even obesity. Sleep restrictions have been shows to decrease the your body's ability to burn calories adequately. A large study followed nearly 70,000 women over a period of 16 years. The study showed that women who slept five hours or less were on average six pounds heavier than women who consistently slept seven or more hours. A study even showed that three hours less sleep per day leaves you craving more snacks. Participants ate 220 more calories per day when sleepy, equating to a one pound weight difference in 2 weeks. Remember the last time you were up early to catch a flight? Did you reach for that doughnut, danish, and coffee or the egg white on whole wheat sandwich?

Your body has interesting changes to how it changes its ability to regulate blood glucose levels. Researchers have found that sleeping four hours for six or more days straight shows that the body has a decreased ability to regulate glucose levels. Losing sleep for one night has shown to increase systemic inflammation within your blood. Some of that inflammation aggravated by particular immune cells can lead to insulin resistivity and even type 2 diabetes. Having a tired brain makes you crave higher carbohydrate containing food to increase its fuel while working overtime.

Everyone needs to give their body a rest. This is important especially for the heart to get enough sleep through the night. You should take your blood pressure first thing in the morning to get the most accurate number because while sleeping your heart slows and your body simply doesn't need the same amount of blood. Longer wake cycles means the heart doesn't get that much needed time to calm down and rest. This prolonged working heart leads to high blood pressure and even a thickening of the heart muscle itself.

The CDC recommends adults get 7-9 hours sleep per night.

Adolescents 10-17 get 8.5-9.5 hours.

Infants need 10-18 hours.

Toddlers should be getting 10-14 hours. 

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