Can Poor Quality Sleep Really Cause Every Disease?

In this article, we’ll take a look at a different aspect of sleep and stress. I’ll show you how stress causes inflammation, and inflammation can ultimately cause many, if not all diseases.

Balance is the key

First of all, too much sleep is just as deadly, as too little sleep. This is because either state puts stress on your body. So then, balance is the key, and therefore, balance equals health.

Look at it this way. Our bodies are balanced when things that should be working are working. However, when things that should work, aren’t working; or, when things that shouldn’t be working are working, an imbalance is created.  And sooner or later, disease will set in.

By the way, if you’re thinking I’m exaggerating by saying too little or too much sleep is deadly, I’m not. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at stress and inflammation as they relate to sleep.

 Inflammation and Sleep

Poor quality sleep causes stress And stress causes a whole series of events to take place. However, we’re going to focus on a little guy called cortisol.

Cortisol regulates your immune system. Too much or too little over a period of time can cause frequent infections, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and chronic inflammation.

So even though Cortisol initially works to reduce inflammation, it eventually sets in motion a process that leads to chronic inflammation. And while inflammation is a part of wound healing, it can eventually cause disease, including cancer.

Also, reducing inflammation leads to suppression of the immune system, exposing us to disease. Yet inflammation itself can also lead to disease! It does this by ‘hiding’ mutated cells so that they go undetected by your immune system.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

I think further clarification is necessary here. That is that inflammation and infection are two different things. An infection can cause inflammation. But inflammation can take place without an infection, which is the focus of this article.

Let’s take a look a closer look at this.

Inflammation and Diseases

When you get an injury, your body responds by making your blood vessels ‘leaky’. This allows certain blood cells to go to the infected area and to properly deal with the invading organism; resulting in redness, swelling and tenderness to the area. Once the invader’s  dealt with, swelling goes down, and things return to normal; or at least they should.

But what if they don’t? What if you’re constantly under stress?  We’ve already seen how inflammation can turn deadly. Therefore,  poor sleep causes stress, and chronic stress causes damaging inflammation, and chronic inflammation could be the cause of every disease. So then, poor quality sleep could be behind most, if not all diseases!

Or put another way. Balance equals health, and imbalance equals disease. Therefore, good quality sleep (balance) equals health; while poor quality sleep(imbalance) equals disease.

The following is a list of some of the diseases caused by inflammation:

1-Allergic diseases, like Asthma, Eczema.

2-Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Parkinson’s.

3-Heart disease.

4-Chronic Inflammation is also a critical component of tumor growth. Although it takes inflammation 20-30 years to produce cancer. Cancer’s also a risk factor for heart disease.

sleep and inflammation

 

 

 

 

In addition to all this, inflammation even causes us to age faster!

So then, if it’s all about balance, what’s the best way to cure disease?

Treat the Cause, not the Symptoms

Guess what? Good quality sleep is an excellent treatment for inflammation.

Again, if disease is caused by imbalance, then restoring balance should restore health. But modern medicine deals with symptoms, not the cause itself. Therefore, by getting to the cause of the disease, many, if not all, diseases could possibly be cured without medicine. Or, are there man made drugs that do restore balance?

Allow me to rant a bit here. And I speak only for myself. But I wonder if entities that stand to make a lot of money selling drugs for diseases are censoring information that prove natural forms of treatment are more effective than modern medicine?

In either case, here’s a list of foods that affect inflammation.

Foods that promote inflammation

Pasteurized dairy products, red meat, refined carbohydrates, sugar.

Foods that reduce inflammation

1-Fiber, Fruits, and Vegetables.

2-Garlic is good because it has a high sulfur content, and sulfur inhibits inflammation.

3-Herbal teas, including green tea which has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to this acupuncture can effectively treat stress. And studies also show that moderate physical activity does reduce inflammation as well.

Conclusion

We saw how poor sleep causes stress,  stress causes inflammation, and inflammation causes disease. Now if inflammation is the cause of all disease, including premature aging, then a good night’s sleep can keep you healthier. Remember, it’s all about balance. Too much or too little of a good thing becomes a bad thing.

Therefore if inflammation is the common denominator of all diseases, including aging And if inflammation is an imbalance, then restoring balance, not medicine, is the key to curing disease.

And one of the ways to restore balance is to get good quality sleep.

So, what do you think are some good ways to restore balance? Or do you think it’s more involved than that? And can modern medicine really restore balance?

Please leave a comment. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this.

Any feedback from you will help to improve this blog.

Also, be sure to visit and like my blog on facebook.

Till next time…Blessings.

The Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation Part 2

Here’s part 2 of my article on sleep deprivation. Be sure to read part 1 first. This time we’ll focus on your gut health, as well as address some natural treatment options.

 

The Brain-Gut Connection

Serotonin is our first player. This little guy not only affects your mood but makes you sleepy as well. However, your gut makes more Serotonin than your brain. In fact, it produces 85% of your total serotonin.

Consequently, you can literally ‘feel’ with your gut. Not only that, but your gut is made of the same stuff as your brain; as a result, there’s a strong connection between the two.

So, mood and emotions have a strong influence on your digestive system. Sleep deprivation and gut healthThat’s why you get that ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling when you’re nervous or anxious about something. In fact, your gut is considered your ‘second brain’.

Therefore, anxiety can cause intestinal distress, and intestinal distress can cause stress or anxiety. Not only that, but stress and anxiety can even make inflammation worse, and/or make you more susceptible to infection.

Interestingly, low levels of Serotonin can be the cause of Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS, and some studies showed women tend to have lower levels of serotonin than men.

Our second player is bacteria. And while we usually think of bacteria as causing disease, many are absolutely essential for your health.

Let’s take a look.

Gut Health and Sleep

There’s a whole lot of good bacteria in your gut called probiotics. These little guys help regulate hormones which not only improve your health but also help you sleep.

These good bacteria can also increase levels of melatonin, which is your brains’ natural sleep aide. They do this by increasing levels of an amino acid called tryptophan, which is also found in certain foods. I’ll address this under ‘Treatments’

Additionally, your gut, just like your brain has a daily cycle. But if that cycle is disrupted, it can cause heart disease or even cancer. So sleep deprivation can have some serious side effects.

And because women experience more variations in their digestive system throughout their life, they are more susceptible to IBS and other diseases, even without sleep deprivation.

With that in mind, here are some food items that can make irritable bowel syndrome worse:

  • Fried fatty foods, large meals.
  • Chocolate, alcohol, caffeine.
  • Fructose, sorbitol, carbonated drinks.
  • High fiber, especially the insoluble kind.
  • Dairy products, especially cheese.
Lifestyle and Sleep Deprivation

I’ve talked with many patients in my sleep lab, and I hear over and over again that they use t.v for ‘white noise’;  or “I can’t get to sleep without the t.v. because it’s too quiet”. They claim they sleep better with it.

However, light interferes with sleep by resetting your internal clock, even if your eyes are closed. So if you believe you can’t sleep without the t.v., think again.

While you need a certain amount of sleep, taking a nap will reduce the amount of sleep you’ll need for the coming night. This can ultimately lead to fragmented sleep and insomnia.

So if you’re laying in bed, and for some reason can’t get to sleep, get out of bed (and even the bedroom), and go sit in a chair or something. The bedroom should only be associated with sleep and sex. 

Treatments

Some of the more common medications prescribed for insomnia are Ambien, Sonata, and  Lunesta. Also, the class of antidepressants that increase levels of Serotonin are proving beneficial in the treatment of IBS.

However, behavioral therapies have been proven as effective, if not more so, than medication for treating sleep deprivation. In fact, studies show that behavioral therapies remain effective even after treatments are stopped.

Let’s have a look at some of these treatments, shall we?

First up, Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT.

CBT is basically changing the patterns of thinking or behavior. First of all, you need to identify the underlying cause of your insomnia. This involves keeping a sleep journal for a couple weeks. Then techniques include:

  • stimulus control
  • sleep hygiene
  • sleep restriction
  • relaxation techniques
  • biofeedback

And while mild exercise before bedtime encourages sleep, rigorous exercise creates endorphins that can hinder sleep.

Foods that contain Tryptophan include:

  • Nuts, seeds, tofu cheese
  • Red meat, chicken, turkey, fish
  • Oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.

For Irritable Bowel Syndrome, there’s no standard treatment because symptoms of IBS have different causes. Knowing this, keep a food diary,  because what might not affect someone else may affect you.

In general, however, foods to eat include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Starchy carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes, bread, and rice.
  • Some protein foods, like fish and eggs.
  • Drink plenty of water, including herbal teas.
Conclusion

So, it seems that good quality sleep is more important than good quality awake time. And while many people think that depression and anxiety cause insomnia, the reverse might actually be the case.

Also, what you eat can affect your sleep, for better, or worse, and this is especially true for women.

Therefore, if you find yourself going in and out of sleep, waking early and not being able to return to sleep; and also feeling tired throughout the day, there’s hope. However, it will mean a lifestyle, and possibly a diet change.

And change can be hard work, but well worth a healthier life.

The Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation Part 1

Do You Just Think you Need More Sleep?
Sleep deprivation

What causes sleep deprivation? Well, pain can be a contributor for one; but did you know that your belief system can play a role as well?

How much sleep you think you need actually influences the length of time you spend in bed. So if you believe that you need 8 hrs of sleep, but really only need 6, you might end up tossing and turning for up to 2 hrs.

You’ll think you’re dealing with sleep deprivation, but it’s really that you’re just in bed longer than you need to be. So if that’s true, what about the opposite?

In other words, can we trick our brain into thinking we had a good nights rest when we really didn’t? And if so, how? But if we make ourselves believe we slept well, will we still get the same benefits as if we really did?

So, how’s that for an intriguing train of thought?

And is that all there really is to it? Unfortunately no,  there are other causes for this crippling problem.

Next, we’ll take a closer look at these.

Good Sleep Bad Sleep

First of all, what exactly is the reason for sleep anyway? Well, simply put, sleep is our bodies way of renewing and replenishing itself. And too little sleep can be just as bad as too much.

There’s a healthy balance between wake time and sleep time, although this balance isn’t the same for everyone. However, we’ll be focusing on too little sleep here.

Incidentally, we talk about the lack of sleep, but not about too much wake time. The focus is on the amount of sleep, not the amount of wake. Apparently, sleep deprivation is more critical than being awake too much.

So, what happens to us when we don’t get enough sleep? Most importantly, it puts our body into stress mode. And good stress can turn bad.

However, your brain takes a direct hit.

Your Brain on Sleep

As we now know, our brains are quite actively performing various functions while we sleep. And there are four different sleep stages we go through.

To begin with, we all need a certain percent of sleep in each stage. Notice I didn’t say ‘amount’ of sleep; as there’s an important difference. Because while we all need highly individual lengths of sleep time; we all require the same percent of time in each stage of sleep.

For example, the following shows how much of each stage we need.

One 4-5%; Two 45-55%; Three 16-21%; REM 20-25%.

Now, there are 2 stages that play key roles in the maintenance of both memory and mood. Specifically, stage 3 (slow wave sleep), and REM (rapid eye movement).

So, let’s look a closer look at these.

In particular, slow wave sleep (SWS) is important for memory consolidation. Therefore, not getting enough SWS will cause memory problems.

Additionally, in a study of a group of men 65 yrs of age and older, an increased risk of high blood pressure was associated with a decrease in stage 3 (slow wave), and an increase in stages 1 & 2.

And in fact, the time spent in stage 3 was inversely proportional to the number of men with high blood pressure.

On the other hand, REM sleep is essential for mood management. But because emotions play a huge part in memory recall, REM sleep also improves memory.

So some of your moodiness and forgetfulness can be a result of lack of REM sleep as well.

Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation increases blood pressure, impairs human functioning overall, but negatively affects mood most of all.

You might think that depression and/or anxiety are causing your sleep problem. When in reality poor quality sleep might be the cause of your depression and/or anxiety.

In fact, a study found that people with insomnia are more likely to become depressed than those who have better sleep.

Also, more women than men suffer insomnia.

Sleep deprivation also:

  • Reduces your ability to hold a meaningful conversation.
  • Changes your eating habits.
  • Can make you more apt to make bad choices.
  • Causes you to be more vulnerable to infections.

Therefore, it’s critical that we get enough sleep. But there’s more to the story. I’ve previously addressed the role Cortisol plays in stress. Next, I’ll introduce two new players to the field.

However, There’s so much information, and I don’t want to leave anything valuable out. So, I’ve decided to continue this next week.

At that time, I’ll talk more about your gut health; as well as some natural treatment options.

Till then, blessings…

And please add any comments or questions you might have.

P.S. I offer a sincere apology to those I told I would have this info published this week; I just didn’t realize the amount of information that needed to be added.

 To Be Continued…