If someone told you that there was a miracle supplement that could help to improve your mood, prevent weight gain, significantly reduce your risk of developing health ailments, and even extend your life, would you take it? Now, imagine if I told you that the supplement was free, devoid of any side effects, and available to everyone. Sounds too good to be true? This amazing remedy is indeed real, and it’s called sleep.
In our daily quest for improved health, the topics of diet and exercise often overshadow one of the most critical health variables. While conversations tend to focus on the optimal number of sleep hours, recent studies have demonstrated that the quality of sleep is equally important. Unfortunately, as we age, our ability to gain a restful sleep declines.
Today we will explore the topic of sleep, including how to ward-off age-related sleep disturbances that can lead to weak bones and poor health.
Sleep: Vital To Your Health
Sleep is an essential component of health. You have undoubtedly experienced how terrible it feels to function in your daily life after a miserable night of sleep. In the short-term, a lack of sleep can affect mood, judgment, ability to learn, and response time. However, over time, chronic sleep deprivation can lead to a whole host of health problems, including bone loss.
Numerous studies have documented the negative health ramifications of sleep insufficiency. A lack of sleep can cause several health conditions, including the following:
- Cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure3
- Mood disorders4
- Immune dysfunction5
- Bone loss6
Food Choices And Weight Affected By Sleep Patterns?
Savers know that a proper diet is of great importance for good health. But did you know that studies have shown that our food choices are directly impacted by sleep or lack thereof?
According to research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, sleep is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. In the study, dieters were split into two groups. While all of the participants consumed the same amount of calories, half of the individuals received adequate rest while the other half slept three hours less per night. Overall, those on the sleep-deprived diet lost half the amount of weight compared to the group that got sufficient sleep. Furthermore, when starved for rest, study participants felt significantly more hungry, were less satisfied after they ate, and lacked the energy to exercise.7
One side-effect of insufficient sleep is a rise in the stress hormone cortisol. By activating reward centers in the brain, cortisol increases the desire for food. Sleep deficiency also leads to increased production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Together, cortisol and ghrelin make you feel unsatisfied and hungry. Savers are well aware of the adverse effects that excess cortisol has on bones, which is one more reason why adequate sleep is essential for bone health.
Sleep Duration: Does it Matter?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults between the ages of 26 to 64 years old should sleep seven to nine hours each night.8 Older adults, however, should be aiming for seven to eight hours of sleep. These recommendations, based on a rigorous systematic review of the literature, serve as scientific guidelines intended to help improve health.
A recent report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that more than a third of Americans are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis.9 Studies found that one out of every three adults gets less than the recommended seven hours of sleep per night. In fact, sleep problems are so severe in the United States that the CDC refers to them as a “public health epidemic.”
Understanding Age-Related Sleep Changes
In addition to the normal physiological changes that happen as we age, alterations to sleep patterns may also occur. While sleep patterns may shift as we age, poor sleep does not have to be a regular part of the aging process.
Studies have shown that even though older adults spend more time in bed, the quality of their sleep is often altered. For many older adults, sleep becomes more fragmented and lighter, with a greater number of awakenings throughout the night.10 Further, aging is correlated with increased sleep latency, or the time that it takes to fall asleep.
Many sleep disturbances in the aging population can also be attributed to physical and psychological ailments, as well as the medications often used to treat them.
So while older adults might be in bed for the same duration of time as younger adults, their sleep quality may not be as robust. In a new study from the University of California Berkeley, researchers have discovered that the parts of the brain that deteriorate as we age are also the same parts of the brain responsible for deep, restful sleep.11
Deep sleep requires a slowing of the brain waves, something that becomes more difficult as we age. Further, older adults have trouble producing the appropriate sleep neurochemicals, galanin and orexin, that allow the body to transition from sleep to wakefulness. The scientists concluded that quality of sleep is just as important, if not more vital, than the actual number of hours individuals spend dozing.
What Can I Do To Achieve A More Restful Sleep?
In addition to eating a pH-balanced diet, rich in Foundation Foods, and exercising on a regular basis, several external factors can affect sleep, including:
- Light: Exposure to natural sunlight, especially in the morning, helps to balance our circadian rhythm. Further, staying away from artificial light and electronics during the nighttime hours also keeps our biological clock in check.
- Stress and anxiety: Excessive stress can make it difficult to fall asleep at night and can cause frequent awakenings. In a state of stress, our bodies naturally stay on alert. Avoiding anxiety-provoking situations, especially as night approaches, can be helpful. A meditation practice before bedtime is also recommended.
- Medications and other: Eliminating all possible medications, stimulants, or depressants, can immediately help improve sleep. Also, many substances, including caffeine and alcohol, impact the quality of sleep. Caffeine, for example, decreases the quantity of slow-wave sleep and increases the number of awakenings.
- Sleep environment: A relaxing sleep environment, void of light and excessive noise is important. Further, setting the room temperature that is most comfortable can make a difference. A partner’s sleep habits may also significantly impact your sleep.
Deep Sleep And The Osteoporosis Reversal Program Go Hand in Hand
Most people who have experienced difficulty with sleep eventually succumb to health challenges as well. Sadly, it becomes a “chicken or the egg” scenario in which it becomes difficult to determine if the health conditions are causing the sleep disturbances or the sleep problems are causing the health condition.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program ensures that your body receives all of the essential nutrients that help to nourish both your brain and your bones. The Program also addresses your bone health in a holistic way, so no stone is left unturned.
Till next time,
1 1 Hasler G, Buysse DJ, Klaghofer R, Gamma A, Ajdacic V, Eich D, Rossler W, Angst J. “The association between short sleep duration and obesity in young adults: A 13-year prospective study.” Sleep. 2004;27(4):661–666. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15283000
2 Gottlieb DJ, Punjabi NM, Newman AB, Resnick HE, Redline S, Baldwin CM, Nieto FJ. “Association of sleep time with diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance.” Archives of Internal Medicine. 2005;165(8):863–867. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15851636
3 Ayas NT, White DP, Manson JE, Stampfer MJ, Speizer FE, Malhotra A, Hu FB. “A prospective study of sleep duration and coronary heart disease in women.” Archives of Internal Medicine. 2003;163(2):205–209. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12546611
4 Pilcher JJ, Huffcutt AI. “Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: A meta-analysis.” Sleep. 1996;19(4):318–326. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8776790
5 Gharib SA, et al., “Transcriptional Signatures of Sleep Duration Discordance in Monozygotic Twins.” Sleep, 2017. 40(1). Web: https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/40/1/zsw019/2952682
6 Sasaki N. et al., “Impact of sleep on osteoporosis: sleep quality is associated with bone stiffness index.” Sleep Med. 2016 Sep;25:73-77. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/27823720/
7 Nedeltcheva AV, Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. “Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Annals of internal medicine.” 2010;153(7):435-441. Web: https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/746184/insufficient-sleep-undermines-dietary-efforts-reduce-adiposity
8 2015, February 5. National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. Web: https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times.
9 2106, February 6. “1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.” Web: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html
10 Cooke JR, Ancoli-Israel S. “Normal and Abnormal Sleep in the Elderly.” Handbook of clinical neurology / edited by PJ Vinken and GW Bruyn. 2011. 98. 653-665.
11 Mander BA. Winer JR, Walker MP. “Sleep and Human Aging.” Neuron. 2017. 94(1). 19-36. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28384471
Comments on this article are closed.
Is Melatonin recommended? If so what kind and how much?
Thank you for this information about sleep.
Thank you for this discussion. Much valued information has been shared.
An additional element that might be helpful: get rid of as much WiFi as possible, and be sure to unplug routers and cordless phone bases at night. (WiFi interferes with the body’s production of melatonin, so supplementing is good. And some of the newer cordless phone bases are as powerful as microwave ovens, but without the protective metal around them. An electromagnetic radiation consultant told us that.)
Thanks, Vivian, for all you do.
Thank u Vivian for this info about sleep . Like many of us I am getting trouble to stay sleep all night and usually go to the bathroom 2 times at least . Then sometimes I fall sleep right away and sometimes don’t .
The doctor put me in .5 mg Lorazepan when I have not been able to fall sleep . I try not to do it every night .
Will you answer that question from Jennifer Lambert today??
I have that same issue and would like your opinion about that.
How does it affect things if you have to go to the bathroom about every two hours, even though you are in bed for about 9 hours or so? Other than that, I sleep reasonably well and dream. Is dreaming a good or bad sign of healthy sleep?
Thanks, Vivian, for all you do.
I have had sleep problems for almost 30 years. I am 82 years old, lost my husband recently and sleep problems have become worse. Falling asleep and staying asleep is a nightly hassle. My P physician has no more solutions for me. I am active and take care of my house. I live at a higher elevation 4500 feet above sea level, but noticed that when I visit family in Europe – I sleep better.
Can elevation play a role? Any advise?
I am 77 and I have always been a morning person, up at 5:00, exercising. I am a very anxious person and have a lot of stress in the last few years. I do not sleep more than 5 to 6 hours a night. Up to go to the bathroom at least two times a night. I take either Midnight before I go to bed or ZZZQuil. I sleep about three hours, then up again. This article was helpful. Thank you.