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What do we know about sleep - why does it matter?

Sleep is an interesting area of science. While there is still no agreement on “why” we sleep - there is plenty of evidence that sleep, as incredibly complex as it is, is important for proper function of the human body. 

Sleep is a state in which the body regenerates and re-energizes. It’s also a state where the brain is busy consolidating memories, cleaning out waste, and regulating hormone production cycles. 

Years of studies have shown the many positive outcomes of quality sleep as well as the negative outcomes of poor sleep.


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Positive outcomes of quality sleep include improved:

  • Mood
  • Cognitive function and reaction speed
  • Skin quality and health
  • Stress management
  • Physical performance in sport
  • Negative outcomes of poor sleep have been connected to increased risk of:

  • Weight gain
  • Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
  • Mental illnesses
  • Depression
  • Lower immunity (increase risk of seasonal cold and flu)
  • Being involved in a traffic accident
  • Cardiovascular disease

  • The most fascinating aspect of sleep is that it’s highly connected to almost every aspect of our waking lives and everyone’s sleep needs, patterns, and influences are highly individualized.

    This matters because it means that the best way to better rest and recovery through sleep science is an awareness of how sleep impacts our moods and feelings and health and how our lives in return - impact the way we sleep.

    The SleepSmart team is dedicated to helping individuals become more aware and more educated about themselves and their sleep patterns. We take the science and apply it to you as the individual so you can become the master of your sleep.

    Top 3 biggest bangs for the buck... when it comes to sleep.



    Anchor Your Wake Time

    This helps set the body’s sleep-wake cycle. This means consistent waking at the same time 7 days a week. After a week, you might be able to wake without an alarm clock if you are getting enough sleep. If not, adjust your bed time accordingly.



    Become "Light Exposure Aware"

    Light exposure is tied to a hormone called melatonin. When it’s darker, you produce more melatonin, which makes you feel sleepy. Try to get 10-30 min of sunlight exposure as close to your wake time as possible. Limit light exposure before bed.



    Manage Stress and Worry

    Easier said than done. Stress affects your body, thoughts and emotions, and can interfere with sleep. Identifying stressors and learning techniques to manage them have substantial benefits. Consider breaks, exercise, social support, meditation...

    Did you know?

    Caffeine has a half life of 5-6 hours
    Many people react differently to common medications
    Menstruation can complicate sleep
    Technology has changed human sleep patterns
    Memory consolidation in the brain is distrupted by alcohol
    It’s estimated that much of the US population lacks these…

    SOURCES



    1 Kasasbeh, E. & Chi, D. S. & Krishnaswamy, G. (2006). Inflammatory aspects of sleep apnea and their cardiovascular consequences. Southern Medical
    Journal 99 (1): 58–67. Review.

    2 Carter, P. & Taylor, B. & Williams, S. & Taylor, R. (2011). Longitudinal analysis of sleep in relation to BMI and body fat in children: the FLAME
    study. British Medical Journal 342: d2712.


    3 Robb, G. & Sultana, S. & Ameratunga, S. & Jackson, R. (2008). A systematic review of epidemiological studies investigating risk factors for work-related
    road traffic crashes and injuries. Injury Prevention 14 (1): 51–58. Review.

    4 Boyko, E. et al. (2013). Sleep Characteristics, Mental Health, and Diabetes Risk: A prospective study of U.S. military service members in the Millennium
    Cohort Study. Diabetes Care 36 (10): 3154–3161.

    5 Knutson, K. & Ryden, A. & Mander, B. & Van Cauter, E. (2006). Role of Sleep Duration and Quality in the Risk and Severity of Type 2 Diabetes
    Mellitus. Archives of Internal Medicine 166 (16): 1768–1774..