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Recent posts about sleep
A good laugh and a long sleep are the
two best cures for anything.
— Irish Proverb
Sleep is perhaps the most under-appreciated factor in your long-term health and wellness. Perhaps this is because, until recently, we have not known that much about sleep, its particular healing functions shrouded in mystery.
With new advances in neuroscience, however, we have learned more about the importance of sleep in the last twenty years than we had for the previous hundred. Today, we understand that sleep is critical for immune function, metabolic health, and lowering the risk of chronic diseases including cancer and dementia.
At Dignity Integrative, we use a variety of tools and strategies to first determine whether you are getting enough sleep, whether that sleep is of good quality (e.g., “REM sleep,”), and how you can develop better “sleep hygiene.”
Why sleep is important
The risks from long-term lack of sleep are significant. They include:
Lowering insulin sensitivity
Interfering with hormone regulation
Greater risk for heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases
In recent years, the exact physical processes by which these risk factors are lowered have come into greater focus.
As neuroscientist Jeff Iliff explained in a Ted Talk: “When the brain goes to sleep, the brain cells themselves seem to shrink, opening up spaces in between them, allowing fluid to rush through and allowing waste [such as the amyloid-beta linked to Alzheimer’s] to be cleared out.”