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Anti inflammatory lifestyle Part 3, the importance of a relaxing sleep

September 05, 2018
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Anti inflammatory lifestyle Part 3, the importance of a relaxing sleep

An anti-inflammatory lifestyle also involves sleeping the right amount of hours per night, about 8 hours according to researches

To live longer, healthier and, why not, even happier, it is necessary to counteract the chronic inflammations that work silently in the body by creating a favorable environment to aging processes, depression, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular problems, tumors and arthritis. We are not talking about the beneficial inflammations that counteract the threats to our health, as when we fall and skin a knee and the area swells and reddens to allow our defenses to act, but we are speaking about a silent situation, often induced by a stressful and sedentary lifestyle, or, on the contrary, by excessive physical activity, by some foods, such as refined cereals and white sugars, or by a poor intake of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. We have seen, in previous posts, how some foods, brisk walks, meditation, yoga and pilates help to reduce inflammatory markers and therefore also inflammation. Today we see the role of a daily activity, simple but really beneficial for mind, body and beauty, sleeping. According to experts, we should have about 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and you know why? Because skipping a good night's rest or even decreasing the sleep time by 25-50% compared to the 8 hours considered normal causes an increase in inflammation mediators (Mullington et al, Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2010). But also because during sleep the brain detoxifies itself. During the day, when we are awake, the brain, through its metabolism, transforms ten grams of protein into waste, which must be eliminated during a good night sleep (Sleeping, maybe dreaming, Piergiorgo Strata), this allows the brain to work better and to fight degenerative diseases. In fact, as evidenced by several scientific studies, during sleep the body gets rid of beta amyloid protein, a brain metabolism waste that, in Alzheimer's patients, tends to accumulate in the brain tissues by damaging them. On the contrary, skipping a night's sleep causes an increase in beta amyloid protein levels in the brain (Shokri-Kojori, PNAS, 2018). Sleeping decreases stress and the hormone connected to it, cortisol, which instead increases in case of a reduction of night hours of rest (Leproult et al, Sleep, 1997), helps to put order in the information acquired during the day with a beneficial effect on memory, and, in addition to this, also helps keep fit! In fact, only one sleepless night is enough to increase the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that causes the feeling of hunger and this, in the long run, could cause weight gain and obesity (Schmid et al, J Sleep Res, 2008). In general, even sleeping for less than 8 hours causes an increase in ghrelin and, at the same time, a reduction of leptin, the hormone that is linked to the sense of satiety, with an increase in body mass index (Taheri et al, PLoS Med, 2004). So the advice from science is that a night of sleep, around 8 hours, is the best medicine to stay healthy, less than seven hours per night of sleep is associated with an increased risk of problems for the mind and body, from the bad mood to overweight, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes. And what about sleeping more hours? More than 9 hours of sleep are indicated in young people who have to recover from sleep dept or in those people with illnesses, but for healthy individuals the studies are conflicting and some seem to indicate, even in this case, an increase in the inflammatory markers (Watson et al, Sleep, 2015 and Irwin et al, Biol Psychyatry, 2016).

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