November 15, 2018

I'll sleep when I'm dead!

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Have you ever heard that from a busy person? Research shows their wish may come true faster than they expect. Research also shows that while they are still alive, they will probably weigh more than those who get enough sleep.

Nearly 71% of US adults over 20 years old are overweight or obese. While exercise and diet are the leading players in this epidemic, one overlooked factor is sleep. With very little effort, by increasing the time you sleep, you can help control your weight.

Researchers in the UK have linked lack of sleep to increased BMI and waist circumference.

Specifically, they found that people who slept just 6 hours per night had a waist one inch larger than those who slept nine hours per night. Less sleep was also linked to lower good cholesterol (HDL), increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and interference in thyroid hormones. It also raises C-Reactive protein(C-RP), which promotes systemic inflammation.

Each half hour of sleep debt incurred on weeknights raised the risk of obesity and insulin resistance by 17% and 39%, respectively. What this means is that if you need 8 hours of sleep and regularly get only seven, you raise your risk of chronic disease by 78%!

If you are trying to lose weight, more sleep may make or break your results. Dieters who slept 8.5 hours on average lost 55% more body fat than those who slept just 5.5 hours.

Have you ever heard people who smoke marijuana say it gives them the “munchies?” This is because it activates the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating and modulating appetite and food intake. Lack of sleep also activates that system, causing you to eat more than usual.

Besides chronic diseases, sleep deprivation also affects your immune system. You get more colds and flu like viruses that more easily catch your body off guard. Adults who get less than six hours of sleep per night have four times higher risk of catching a cold when directly exposed to the virus than those who get at least seven or more hours of sleep per night.

An interesting study in the journal “Sleep” found that sleeping in on the weekends – known as catchup sleep (CUS) – may positively impact your weight. Participants who slept up to 2 hours longer on weekends than weekdays had a significantly lower BMI than the non-CUS group.

If you don’t sleep well because of various joint or back pains, you are doing more harm than you know to your health. Chiropractic is excellent at reducing pain in the back and other joints. If you want to improve sleep quality, get rid of the pain that causes sleep interruption. This is yet another way chiropractic, on a regular basis, improves your quality of life. Call your chiropractor today; add life to your years and maybe even years to your life.