Friday, September 4, 2015

Sleep Before Midnight, 4

As with other biologic beings, the human brain responds to its environment and to a circadian rhythm. In general for much of the planet, darkness falls by nine or ten in the evening, and sunlight arises by five or six in the morning. Scientists say that when people impose a variation of this rhythm on the brain by going to be too late, real health consequences can occur. These include increased anxiety; a higher risk of being involved in a sleep-related vehicle crash; an increase in systemic inflammation that can cause pain and soreness and may lead to osteoporosis or autoimmune diseases; and an increased risk for cardiovascular events, such as stroke or myocardial infarction. A shorter duration of nocturnal melatonin secretion (due to inadequate amounts of sleep) has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study showed that too little sleep apparently alters the regulation of appetite-regulating hormones and is linked with obesity. It’s beginning to look like ‘Early to bed and early to rise’ is not an old wives’ tale.

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