It’s no secret that a solid night’s sleep is crucial to your daily well-being, but now studies are pin-pointing exactly how lack of sleep has a direct impact on our systemic health. In an article soon be published in the professional journal Cell, researchers have discovered that disrupted sleep contributes to interrupting vital blood vessel development, contributing to serious health issues, such as diabetes, immune system disorders, heart problems and cancer.
Circadian rhythms are produced in the brain and trigger our need to sleep at regular intervals. People who are shift workers or with sleep disorders can experience disruption of healthy circadian rhythms, leading to a wide range of health problems. Common issues are irritability, difficulty with concentration, increased blood pressure and high blood sugar.
Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden found that disrupting the natural circadian rhythms in fish resulted in impairment of blood vessel growth. Additionally, they discovered that constant exposure to light resulted in problems with the genes that regulate the circadian rhythms or natural sleep cycles.
Blood vessel growth requires vascular endothelial growth factor, which is a substance that is produced only when a person has normal sleep cycles produced by healthy circadian rhythms. Without this substance, the body cannot produce and grow healthy blood vessels needed to survive.
Circadian rhythms and sleep cycles can be disrupted in many different ways. Workers who regularly engage in shift work that keeps them up all night and must sleep during the day often report having difficulty getting enough hours of sleep to feel fully refreshed. Many medications can result in restless and interrupted sleep and many illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, sleep apnea and others can contribute to difficulty sleeping during normal hours.
It is possible to reset circadian rhythms by retraining the body to relax during dark hours of the night. If you have problems sleeping at night and getting enough rest, try relaxation methods or tried and true non-medication remedies, such as eating a few crackers and a small glass of milk an hour or so before you go to bed. Other suggestions include chamomile tea, soft music and meditation.
Do you have problems sleeping at night? What have you tried to help you sleep? What works for you? Let us know!
- The Alternative Daily