Destiny Family Medical Clinic

Importance of Sleep
Why Sleep?

1. Regulates the Release of Hormones.  Hormones that are regulated while we sleep greatly affect our health.  For example; the hormone, leptin, is what directly influences appetite and weight control because it signals the brain to tell you when you are full. (In other words a lack of sleep directly affects the ability to control your weight.)
2. Slows the Aging Process.  It has been said that, “How well a person sleeps is one of the most important predictors of how long a person will live.”  Proper sleep even helps avert wrinkles.
3. Boosts Immune System.  Studies have shown that those who sleep 9 (rather than 7) hours have greater than normal natural killer cell activity.  They have better protection against viruses, bacteria and cancer cells.
4. Improves Brain Function. Recent research reveals that "sleeping on it" is more than just a good idea. In fact, neuroscientists now say that sleep is absolutely critical for key brain functions including learning, memory and performance. A new survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Bruskin/Goldring Research for the Better Sleep Council (BSC), found that few understand the important role sleep plays in normal, daily brain functions and many actually short-circuit their brain power by getting too little sleep.
5. Reduces Cortisol Levels.  Cortisol is considered the stress hormone.  It controls inflammation and hypoglycemia. If inflammation is not controlled it can contribute to diseases associated with excessive inflammation such as osteoarthritis.  Increased cortisol levels make one at a higher risk for hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease, susceptibility to viruses, bacteria, and cancer.

What Happens When You Don’t Sleep?
  • You invite disease. You increase your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.  (decreases your ability to process carbohydrates)
  • Your brain function is affected. (decreased reaction time, shortened attention span, impaired memory...)
  • Your productivity is reduced.
  • You could endanger the lives of others. (when you drive)
  • You reduce your sex drive. (Cortisol affects testosterone levels)
  • You could jeopardize your marriage. (Studies show higher rates of divorce among people who don’t get adequate sleep.)

But I Can’t Get to Sleep (or Get Back to Sleep)!

Consider which of these factors that are known to affect sleep you can control:
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Painful physical conditions
  • Caffeine (can remain in the body for up to 20 hours!)
  • Cigarettes and alcohol
  • Medications
  • “Sugar high” from eating too much sugar or highly processed foods before bed
  • Low-carb diets (Low-sugar reaction in the night may cause you to awaken; protein requires more sleep to digest)
  • Exercise within a few hours of retiring
  • A bad mattress or pillow
  • A snoring spouse
  • Hot flashes or menstrual cramps
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Newborn babies
  • Environment

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Most adults need about 8 hours (between 7 and 9). To find out how much sleep you need keep a diary.  Record the time you went to bed,  the time you got up, how you felt when you got up, how you felt mid-afternoon etc.

The Importance of Rest

Besides getting enough sleep at night many people find it helpful to get a little rest during the day. “A power nap” can be between 10 and 40 minutes a day and increase your productivity tremendously. Many successful people are known to have taken “power naps” during the day: John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, George W. Bush.

The Sabbath Rest

God instituted a day of rest for the Israelites. Was it just for religious purposes? Maybe not…Taking one day a week to cease from work in and outside the home can be very beneficial to all aspects of your life: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and familial. It helps you relax and renew your strength. It gives you a change of pace, restores you emotionally. It helps you remember to rely on God and prioritize Him and His Kingdom. It’s a time to enjoy and have fun with your friends and family.
So, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is
“Go take a nap!”