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Does Sleep Really Matter

The Sleep Foundation has a really nice chart of sleep needs for ALL ages. Check it out at

STAT FACTS (Harvard Medical School, 2019):

  • 70% of people are sleep deprived

  • 33% get 6 hours or less of sleep per night

  • 20% of all automobile crashes are related to sleep deprivation

During the day, toxins build up in our body and brain. When we sleep, our body detoxifies itself; the brain rids itself of toxins via the lymph system. When we sleep, our cells regenerate themselves, and our memories consolidate.

So what happens when we don’t sleep?

This is your brain on NO Sleep

  • Loss of focus, attention and alertness

  • Poor judgment

  • Decreased vision (from less energy to the occipital cortex)

  • Increase of the “hungry hormones”

  • Build up of brain toxins such as amyloid beta (amyloid Beta plaques are DIRECTLY related to causing Alzheimer’s disease)

  • Decreased immunity. Poor sleep one week before receiving a vaccine causes a 50% reduction in antibody response. (Harvard Medical School, 2019). Go to sleep before your vaccine!!

Insufficient sleep contributes to: inflammation, cancer, hormone dysregulation, depression, decreased vaccine response, type 2 diabetes, and weight gain. (Harvard Medical School, 2019).

Additionally, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by emotional instability, impulsive behavior, and lack of focus. Well, so is sleep deprivation!

This very topic was just discussed in our management meeting with the neurologists last month. Why are so many ritalin prescriptions written for kids? Why not FIRST look at their sleep habits and get them in bed before 11pm!

Now I lay me down to sleep.....

Let’s also lay these other things down:

  • Electronics- distract us; blue light decreases the melatonin (sleepy hormone)

  • Caffeine--wake-promoting. Don't’ drink too close to bedtime

  • TV in the room (ideal NOT to have one in the room.)

But pick these habits up:

  • Optimum room temperature for sleeping is 65 degrees

  • Consistent wake time

  • Try LAVENDER essential oil, in diffusers or as a spray.

Two main Sleep Disorders disruptive to Sleep and Health and Well Being:


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the inability to breathe at night while sleep, due to an obstructed airway. OSA increases cardiovascular risk by 420%!! (Harvard Medical School, 2019). Typical signs of OSA include snoring, gasping for air, and night awakenings. If you are concerned or suspect that you or a loved one may have OSA, see your primary care physician promptly to see if you should have a sleep study.

Make sleep your priority, and as I always say, REMember to SLEEP!!



Harvard Medical School. (2019, May 2). Why sleep matters [Video file]. Retrieved from

National Institutes of Health. (2019, August 13). Brain basics: Understanding sleep

National Sleep Foundation. (2020, December 28). Sleep, immune health, and vaccination

Sleep Foundation. (2021). How much sleep do we really need?


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