There’s been lots of research done on the effects of too little sleep. It can shorten your lifespan, impair your cognitive abilities, and weaken your immune system. Now, some of the mechanisms behind those effects, and effects not yet clearly documented, have been found: getting too little sleep affects your DNA, increasing the activity of some genes, and decreasing the activity of others.
For the study, too little sleep was defined as less than 6 hours. There are probably some people for whom less than 6 hours is enough, but most studies have confirmed that the magical sleep window is 6-8 hours (perhaps more if you’re not getting quality sleep).
So many genes were affected that it will take quite a bit more research to figure out the full extent that too little sleep has. We know that it’s critical to the brain, which needs to rest and reset. We’ve also discovered recently that some of those good sleep hormones, like melatonin, don’t just help the brain, but support the whole body, including the heart. Too little sleep cuts short the benefits of melatonin and other hormones!
It also remains to be seen how chronically getting too little sleep might impair the body long term. The body can adjust to whatever sleep schedule you keep, but if DNA is being changed, how much will it change back? How quickly do different sleep patterns start to change DNA? We may need to discover more about DNA before answering how sleep is affecting it, so in the meantime, don’t take chances, just get your rest!
It’s not just beating insomnia, it’s quality, too! Restless sleep isn’t the same as high quality sleep, so make sure your bedroom is well-suited for sleeping by setting the right temperature, ditching lights and electronics, and reducing noise disturbances.
You can also help your body fall asleep, stay asleep, and get the benefits it needs with a natural sleep aid, like Nite MGR. Make sure whatever you do encourages healthy, natural sleep and isn’t just tricking your brain and body with unconsciousness for eight hours! Some of the prescription sleeping pills out there really have some wonky side effects!
What are your tricks for getting a good night’s sleep?