It was in Macbeth that William Shakespeare wrote, “Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care. The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath. Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”
Sleep—it is necessary for life. The absence of sleep could be our ultimate demise.
This is according to a study which was published in EuroPRevent just this month.
The article was recently accepted and is going to be published in the Medical Journal, Sleep.
In this study, it was found that individuals who slept poorly or not long enough had a 65 per cent increased risk of cardiovascular disease and an even higher risk of coronary heart disease when compared to normal sleepers.
Dr. Marieke Hoevenaar-Blom, with the National Institute for Public Health and Environment in the Netherlands led the study which took 15 years to conclude.
The study involved 20,432 participants, 9217 were men and 11,215 were female, aged 20 to 65 years of age.
Participants were asked how many hours of sleep they usually obtained in a 24-hour period.
Sleep duration of six hours or less was considered short, while long sleep duration was considered nine hours or more in a 24-hour period.
Those who slept seven to eight hours were considered to be normal.
After a 10 to 15 year follow-up, 1,486 participants developed cardiovascular disease, 177 died.
It was realized that short sleepers have a 15 per cent higher risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to the normal sleep duration participants.
Those who were deemed short sleepers had a 20 per cent higher risk of coronary heart disease when compared to the normal sleepers.
What was interesting in the study was the realization that those who had slept for short durations and reported a poor quality of sleep had a 65 per cent higher chance of cardiovascular disease and 85 per cent higher chance of coronary heart disease when compared to the normal duration group that reported a good quality of sleep.
That being said, there are many things that you can do to assist yourself in sleeping better if you are experiencing insomnia or a poor quality of sleep.
Firstly, eliminate all caffeinated beverages entirely and see how your sleep changes accordingly.
In addition, do not spend your last waking hours in front of the computer or TV as these are considered stimulatory to the central nervous system.
Such activities will make it very difficult to fall and stay asleep.
You have to ask yourself if your bed or your pillow is killing you.
The sag monster of a mattress with little support, or a pillow that you are constantly negotiating with, could be the culprit.
Use of alcohol can also rob you of your REM sleep—the most important phase of sleep for restoration, repair and deep relaxation.
I hate to say it, but mom was right.
Markus Thiel is a chiropractor practicing in Kelowna. Questions or comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org