3-2-1-Go to Sleep! Here’s Why… (Part 3)
Sleep and Loneliness Awareness
Last week we learned that sleep is a key player in cognitive decline. This week we are continuing our focus on sleep but as it pertains to social health and physical health.
84% of pastors desire to have close fellowship with someone they can trust and confide with.
70% of pastors do not have someone they consider to be a close friend.
27% of pastors report not having anyone to turn to for help in a crisis situation.
“Loneliness as a contagion promoted by sleep loss
Another, somewhat troubling, consequence of sleep deprivation is that it triggers the onset of a “loneliness phenotype.” Lack of sleep induces critical changes within the brain, altering behavior and emotions, while also disturbing essential metabolic processes and influencing the expression of immune-related genes. The end result is that people who are sleep-deprived avoid social interaction. This asocial profile is recognizable by other people, who, in turn, shun the sleep-deprived people in a psychosocial loop that perpetuates in a vicious cycle of loneliness and other mental health disorders.
Impairment of glucose regulation and the promotion of an obesogenic profile
For anyone who habitually tracks their glucose levels, the importance of sleep can quickly become obvious. As Dr. Walker teaches, even a few days of impaired sleep, particularly loss of slow wave sleep, manifests itself in a rather remarkable way: a change from potentially good glucose management, to something akin to a rapid onset of pre-diabetes. This is real-world observable.
In fact, sleeping less than seven hours per night itself has been associated with either having diabetes or eventually developing the condition. The problem is multifactorial:
- lost sleep causes our pancreatic beta islet cells that produce insulin to become less responsive to glucose signals
- muscle and other cells become less responsive to insulin
These adverse changes from sleep loss are then compounded by deleterious alterations in the body’s levels of appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin, which lead to, as Dr. Walker terms it, an obesogenic profile of energy consumption as a consequence of potentially chronic sleep loss.
Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining optimal mental and physical health throughout life, so sleep is critical to our survival.”