Sleep is fundamental to health and any form of successful happy life yet we neglect it all the time and suffer illness and general poor health as a result. The irony is that we blame these problems on everything but our lack of respect for sleep.

The lancet shared an interesting article titled Dying for a good nights sleep which outlines the health problems inherent when you don’t get adequate slumber. It is always great to hear that scientists are aware of the problem though my frustration is often their lack of understanding of sleep itself. I learnt a lot about it when I studied bio psychology during my A levels and it turns out that the airline industry spent a lot of money learning about sleep because it improved safety.

Essentially they needed their pilots and staff to be alert at all times so they had to understand what that required. Pilots and airline staff are continually doing shift work and crossing time zones so their body clocks are often getting confused. The airlines needed to know how to help their staff work with this challenge.

The facts I learnt then seem pretty basic now but I have never heard them since. It seems that no one else seems to be aware of them. Simple things that basic research tells us. Our minds take around 5 hours to recover each night but our bodies need longer at around 8 hours.

The fascinating talk shown below Lights Out: Sleep is Still the Best Medicine goes into much more detail regarding the necessity of sleep for health. It is presented so well that I recommend anyone to watch and enjoy just to learn why taking time to let your body heal itself will repay you in more ways than you can imagine.

How Fit2Thrive applies to sleep

  • play
    • the more relaxed you are the easier sleep becomes. Play is the opposite of stressed and the state where sleep is easy to achieve. You need to explore what relaxes you.
  • compete
    • balancing everything on your plate is crucial to getting enough sleep. Most often you have too much on your plate and your mind. Go for too long with out sleep and you won’t compete very well, you will start to lose.
  • create
    • Your body cannot grow stronger if it is not given time to rest and recover.
    • There is a lot of help out there you just need to find what fits you
    • Explore the options available, each thing you try puts you a step closer to the answer.

I’ll explain more at another time and if you want to know more just ask but I wanted to point out how little the medical community seems to know about a core process of human life even though it has such a big impact on our health.

Further reading

Sleep, cholesterol, memory and learning

A long title isn’t it :-). Sleep is a key topic for me. In western society in particularly it’s not valued very highly. We just don’t have enough hours in the day.

My opinion is that a well rested person will get any job done better, faster and cheaper than someone who’s tired. so I’ve started focussing on how to sleep well. But what do you think?

Checkout my article considering whether cholesterol improves memory and learning. What are your thoughts after reading this?

  1. Can a lack cholesterol have such an impact on learning and daily function?
  2. Can lack of sleep have such a key effect on your day?

Insufficient Sleep

Good recovery is as important as how you eat and move

When rested, weight loss came largely from fat, when tired largely from lean mass.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common obstructive sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon awakening
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Snoring
  • Sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking
  • Difficulty getting up in the mornings
  • wikipedia “Regardless of type, an individual with sleep apnea is rarely aware of having difficulty breathing, even upon awakening. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body. Symptoms may be present for years (or even decades) without identification, during which time the sufferer may become conditioned to the daytime sleepiness and fatigue associated with significant levels of sleep disturbance.” “Risk factors for sleep apnea include being male, overweight, obese, or over the age of 40; or having a large neck size (greater than 16–17 inches), enlarged tonsils, enlarged tongue, small jaw bone, family history of sleep apnea, gastroesophogeal reflux, deviated septum causing nasal obstruction, allergies, or sinus problems”
  • Understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Sleep and migraine: reluctant bedfellows? – 2012 a summary of recent research. “Migraine attacks are said to be more likely to occur between 04:00 and 09:00 am”
  • Sleep Disorders And Headache “Migraine headaches usually occur either during or after REM sleep or in delta sleep which is the deep sleep that we all require in order to feel alert and refreshed the following day. It remains unclear whether the changes in the neurotransmitter or chemical systems in the brain, hormonal influences, or a combination of several different phenomenon are the cause. “
  • Medical Facts About Headaches and Sleep Apnea A useful but technical summary of headaches and sleep apnea.
  • Migraine and periodic limb movement disorders in sleep in children: a preliminary case–control study initial investigation into limb movement during sleep and risk for migraine

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