Last month I talked about the “pillars” of good health. If we think of good health as a chair that has several legs, what are they? Last month I suggested there were 4 legs to this chair 1) Sleep 2) Exercise 3) Nutrition 4) Stress Tolerance. This month lets do a deeper dive into the one that I feel is the most important—Sleep!
If you read this newsletter regularly you are, no doubt, familiar with my little quip that “8 hours of sleep is a superpower” and although I say that half-jokingly, it is something I am very serious about! Your brain literally detoxifies itself when you sleep.
Some of our brain cells (Glial cells) literally shrink at night and the fluid that surrounds the brain can get into all the “nooks and crannies” of the central nervous system and flush out all the toxins that have built up during the day. This is one of the reasons (we think) why people who chronically short sleep themselves seem to have a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases.
Another thing we have discovered is that people who regularly short sleep (defined as less than 6 hours of sleep at night) tend to eat more and tend to eat worse (more junk food).
It’s a little late in the month to be talking about New Year’s resolutions, but getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night would be a really good one for 2023. If I’ve gotten you interested in the subject of better sleep, there are two things I can suggest:
First, you may want to invest in one of the sleep trackers that are on the market.. they are surprisingly good. The one I personally use is called the “Oura Ring” (I have no financial interest in the company). I have also heard the sleep tracker app on the iPhone is pretty good, but I have no direct experience with it.
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