Saturday, April 08, 2017

poor sleep will make you fat and sad, and then will kill you

source: Sleep Is the New Status Symbol;
extracts

Sleep has become a measure of success: The more you get, the more powerful you seem.

At the University of California, Berkeley, Matthew P. Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology and the director of the Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory there, is working on direct current stimulation as a cure for sleeplessness in the aging brain.

“I’ve got a mission,” he said. “I want to reunite humanity with the sleep it is so bereft of.”
Sleep is the single most effective thing you can do to reset your brain and body,” Dr. Walker of U.C. Berkeley said. “We have a saying in medicine: What gets measured, gets managed.

For years, studies upon studies have shown how bad sleep weakens the immune system, impairs learning and memory, contributes to depression and other mood and mental disorders, as well as obesity, diabetes, cancer and an early death. (Sedated sleep — hello Ambien — has been shown to be as deleterious as poor sleep.)

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls sleeplessness a public health concern. Good sleep helps brain plasticity, studies in mice have shown; poor sleep will make you fat and sad, and then will kill you. It is also expensive: Last year, the RAND Corporation published a study that calculated the business loss of poor sleep in the United States at $411 billion — a gross domestic product loss of 2.28 percent.

(It’s worth noting that George W. Bush, formerly a sleep outlier among his presidential peers for clocking in around nine hours of nightly shut-eye, along with a daily nap, is newly popular.)

“I’d like to have a survey done to show how many people are also reading their texts while they’re tracking their sleep,” Ms. Rothstein said. “If you want to improve your sleep, you have to make some changes. Your Fitbit and your Apple Watch are not going to do it for you. We’ve lost the simplicity of sleep. All this writing, all these websites, all this stuff. I’m thinking, Just sleep. I want to say: ‘Shh. Make it dark, quiet and cool. Take a bath.’”

Ms. Rothstein taught me her relaxation recipe, a practice that mixed gratitude with body awareness and breathing. Start with your toes, she said, and thank your body parts for their hard work. (My favorite: “Knees, I know it’s not always easy for you. You can rest now.”)

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