Sleep The Elixir of Life – The Fountain of Youth
- Sleep is the Most Important thing that we can do for our health, longevity and quality of life.
- Without sleep we are robbing ourselves of good memory, good health and vitality
- You cannot recover from a lack of sleep. You cannot catch up on the weekend … you have to commit to a good nights rest.
I just finished reading Matthew Walker’s book: Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. I was hypnotized by it from the very beginning. If I could post the whole book on my site, I would, it is that important. Walker opens with:
“Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and the flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You’ll even feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?
Of course, the ad is not describing some miracle new tincture or a cure-all wonder drug, but rather the proven benefits of a full night of sleep. The evidence supporting these claims has been documented in more than 17,000 well-scrutinized scientific reports to date. As for the prescription cost, well, there isn’t one. It’s free. Yet all too often, we shun the nightly invitation to receive our full dose of this all-natural remedy—with terrible consequences.”
Walker states clearly that “Numerous functions of the brain are restored by, and depend upon, sleep. No one type of sleep accomplishes all. Each stage of sleep—light NREM sleep, deep NREM sleep, and REM sleep—offer different brain benefits at different times of night. Thus, no one type of sleep is more essential than another. Losing out on any one of these types of sleep will cause brain impairment.”
In his book, Walkers goes on to explain how sleep affects memory severely (lack of sleep is even linked to Alzheimers), that it is the best sports performance enhancer, reduces sport injuries, and increases creativity!
Sleep is so critical and important that the Guinness Book of World Records has stopped recognizing attempts to break the sleep deprivation world record. Mind you, “it is ok for a man (Felix Baumgartner) to ascend 128,000 feet into the outer reaches of our atmosphere in a hot-air balloon wearing a spacesuit, open the door of his capsule, stand atop a ladder suspended above the planet, and then free-fall back down to Earth at a top speed of 843 mph (1,358 kmh), passing through the sound barrier while creating a sonic boom with just his body. But the risks associated with sleep deprivation are considered to be far, far higher.” Wow!
Sleep loss is linked to numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, stroke, and chronic pain), and to every physiological system of the body, further contributing to countless disorders and disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, infertility, weight gain, obesity, and immune deficiency). Nothing is spared the crippling, noxious harm of sleep loss.
But the worse side effect of sleep deprivation is concentration. Walker proves that “the deadly societal consequences of these concentration failures play out most obviously and fatally in the form of drowsy driving. Every hour, someone dies in a traffic accident in the US due to a fatigue-related error. There are two main culprits of drowsy-driving accidents. The first is people completely falling asleep for ten to fifteen seconds to die while driving. Two seconds will do it. A two-second microsleep at 30 mph with a modest angle of drift can result in your vehicle transitioning entirely from one lane to the next. This includes into oncoming traffic. Should this happen at 60 mph, it may be the last microsleep you ever have.”
What is the most telling of all is that it is not just a slowing in reaction time, but rather that for brief moments, the body and brain stops responding altogether!
Walker goes on to elaborate that “for every thirty seconds you’ve been reading this book, there has been a car accident somewhere in the US caused by sleeplessness. And you may find it surprising to learn that vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving exceed those caused by alcohol and drugs combined. “
Sleep is more than a pillar; it is the foundation on which the diet and exercise sit. Take away the bedrock of sleep, or weaken it just a little, and careful eating or physical exercise become less than effective.
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