Sleeping quality is monumental to prevent disease and avoid addictions.
Why do we need to sleep?
Humans spend a third of our lives sleeping, but we really do not know why we have to lose consciousness to get all the biological benefits of rest.
The dream of sleeping better may be a complex neurological mechanism designed to prevent many diseases.
The lack of sleep is associated with an increased risk of addictions, mental illness, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
A moderate disruption of sleep radically changes the metabolism.
Lack of sleep causes the liver to start secreting enzymes that predispose an individual not to recover from the deleterious effects of sleep loss,” reveals a study conducted by biologist Paul Franken.
A total lack of sleep leads to death in a few days, as has been observed in studies with rodents.
The animals suffer a metabolic imbalance, begin to quickly lose calories and increase the intake of food to compensate, but the loss is faster and a metabolic failure occurs.
At the same time the immune system stops working properly and infections appear.
These symptoms are similar to those experienced by humans with sleep disorders such as chronic insomnia, which suffers 13% of the population, and point the keys on the functions of this fundamental process.
We know that you can not live without sleeping but we do not know the exact function it has.
Fatigue due to lack of sleep makes people move less. It also causes less leptin to secrete. Leptin, is a protein that dilates the stomach walls and creates a feeling of fullness.
At the same time, more ghrelin is produced. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases appetite. Clearly, the lack of hours of sleep is making us more obese,
Most people are not aware of the harms of lack of sleep
We have an elastic concept of sleep as if it were chewing gum that we can crush when there is no time to sleep and then stretch it when we have time.
But it does not work like that. Compensating lost sleep with a binge of hours in bed relieves behavioral symptoms, such as tension and fatigue, but not the consequences on the endocrine and cardiovascular system.
It is thought that one of the fundamental functions of the dream is to classify and preserve the memories accumulated during the day.
During deep sleep, the same areas of the brain that were lit when important experiences were recorded are activated, a process that may be related to the strengthening of those memories and the discarding of irrelevant ones.
“Probably that’s one of the reasons we sleep,” says Susanne Diekelmann of the University of Tübingen in Germany.
Sleeping shuts us down to reset vital functions
“The brain has to shut down and isolate itself from the outside world so as not to interrupt the reinforcement process, otherwise we could relive past experiences and suffer hallucinations,” she argues.
Her team is one of those whose studies have shown that this process can be controlled with sensory stimuli.
If a person stores a memory and at the same time perceives a certain smell, then, during sleep, the presence of that same aroma is enough to recover that memory and reinforce it unconsciously.
The next day, the memories associated with smells are stronger than those that did not have that sensory incentive.
“This type of research could lead to new treatments for people in rehabilitation, for example, those who have to relearn how to walk after a cerebral infarction,” says Diekelmann.
Further research regarding sleep quality shows the connections between memory and sleep in patients with Alzheimer’s.
“One of the most debilitating symptoms of the disease is the enormous nocturnal agitation of the patients, who can not rest.
In fact, insomnia is the main cause of hospitalization of people with Alzheimer’s.
If you manage to avoid sleep problems in these patients, you save many of the health problems caused by the disease.
Sleeping badly activates Killer brain Cells
Internally, your brain seems to be fine. What researchers recently discovered is that the problem is not in the neurons, but in another type of brain cells known as toxic glia, responsible for killing neurons.
The lack of sleep activates the toxic glia, which could explain the high neuronal mortality of people with Alzheimer’s.
Twenty years ago scientists discovered the role of hypocretins, essential proteins, to keep the brain awake and alert.
Currently, there are antagonist drugs of these molecules that are used as sleep facilitators for people with insomnia and that, soon, could help treat other disorders.