SLEEP code


iD magazine - - Body & Mind -

As soon as we start fail­ing to make proper use of the re­gen­er­a­tive tool of sleep, the con­se­quences for health can be se­vere. In fact, re­searchers at the Uni­ver­sity of Chicago have proved: Those who sleep for less than seven hours per night are three times more likely to come down with a cold as those who sleep for a longer pe­riod. What’s more, a long-term study by the BBC—IN which 1 mil­lion peo­ple were sur­veyed about their sleep habits—dis­cov­ered that:

But why is the nightly rest pe­riod so im­por­tant for our bod­ies? When we sleep, some­thing strange oc­curs in our brains: “A spe­cial glan­du­lar sys­tem pumps so much fluid into the brain that the or­gan’s vol­ume al­most dou­bles,” says Maiken Ned­er­gaard, a neu­ro­sci­en­tist at the Uni­ver­sity of Copenhagen. The skull would likely burst were it not for an in­ge­nious trick: “Dur­ing sleep neu­rons shrink by up to 60 per­cent.” This pro­cess is es­sen­tial to sur­vival. Thanks to this flush­ing ac­tion, we detox­ify our brains each night—help­ing pre­vent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In fact, this pro­ce­dure is only one of many. The rea­son: When in a wak­ing state, the body’s main­te­nance pro­gram is run­ning on standby. But dur­ing sleep the body launches an of­fen­sive— most of its func­tions are chan­neled into re­gen­er­a­tion mode: Heart rate de­creases, blood pres­sure drops, mus­cles re­lax. Growth hor­mones ( like so­ma­totropin) are circulated. Re­cep­tors in the kid­neys be­come in­creas­ingly fu­eled by the en­zyme renin, which aug­ments the or­gans’ detox­i­fi­ca­tion func­tion. Dam­aged cells are dis­posed of through the blood and lymph sys­tem. In this way up to 50 mil­lion cells are re­newed— per sec­ond. Even func­tions such as wound heal­ing and the re­gen­er­a­tion of the im­mune sys­tem are ba­si­cally lim­ited to the deep sleep phases.

Peo­ple who sleep for six hours or less per night have a 12% higher risk of dy­ing— on av­er­age this equates to 10 fewer years of life! “A LACK OF SLEEP SLOWS DOWN THE HEAL­ING OF WOUNDS AND AC­CEL­ER­ATES THE AG­ING PRO­CESS.”

PROF. DR. JÜR­GEN ZULLEY Psy­chol­o­gist and sleep re­searcher as well as pro­fes­sor of bi­o­log­i­cal psy­chol­ogy at Ger­many’s Uni­ver­sity of Re­gens­burg

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