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Facts About The Human Body
31st August 2017
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Let me paint you a picture
31st August 2017

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Sleep

SLEEP REGULATES HORMONES AND BLOOD PRESSURE

 
Lack of sleep has a substantial impact on how the body regulates stress hormones, this can cause blood pressure to rise above accepted levels. Quality sleep is priceless, apart from waking up feeling refreshed after a good night’s sleep, quality sleep helps to reduce blood pressure. I must mention that quality sleep needs to occur regularly.

TIRED?

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There are many people worldwide who don’t know how it feels to wake up refreshed, unfortunately sleep cannot be banked and used at a later date. Lack of sleep has short and long-term consequences. Within this section there is information explaining how the lack of sleep can be a cause of high blood pressure, together with information how existing high blood pressure from other conditions can cause the lack of sleep.

Sleep Apnoea

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Sleep apnoea is a common condition that has a serious impact on sleep, this condition can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream, a common cause of this condition is obesity, however, it’s possible slim people can suffer with sleep apnoea. While you sleep the brain stem controls messages between your body and the brain, it’s the brain stem that keeps the body alive, controlling many functions, including breathing, heartrate, blood pressure. Should oxygen levels to the brain become reduced for any reason while you’re asleep, the brain wakes you up, possibly gasping for oxygen.

 
When sleep apnoea and other conditions reduce the flow of oxygen, apart from interrupted sleep, low oxygen causes a build up of carbon dioxide in the blood stream, in turn this can cause people to wakeup with a headache, feeling tired and feel sleepy during the day.

 
Lack of Sleep can be caused by many things, stress as mentioned being one, however ‘Sleep Apnoea’ can have a dramatic effect on sleep, another possible cause is ‘Snoring’ which stops you getting into quality REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. One of the main causes of sleep apnoea and snoring is being overweight, a cure for both these problems may be as easy as losing weight! Albeit, losing weight is not easy, but I’ve listed some ideas in the Members Section.

Effects on the heart

 
All of the episodes above have an effect on the heart, causing the heart to become stressed, in turn heart rate goes up and blood pressure goes up. These conditions are a cause of stress, in addition to all the side effects mentioned, stress causes the brain to release hormones that can cause inflammation in the body.

Before moving on, let’s look at some startling facts and figures regarding lack of sleep.

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How Much Sleep?

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How Much Sleep does the average adult person need every day? It’s a recognised fact we need around eight hours, some people more, some less. It’s not easy to measure how much sleep each individual needs, however, a good guide is determined when you wake up after eight hours’ sleep, if you’re still feeling tired, you’re not getting quality sleep, if during the day you find yourself sitting in a chair wishing you could have a ‘Power Nap’ then the chances are, you’re not getting enough quality sleep.

More Sleep

 

What happens?

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What happens if we can’t get enough regular quality sleep? Too little sleep can be the cause of many problems, I’ve listed some below that seem to occur when we don’t have the correct number of hours sleep.
  • You wake up tired
  • You lack concentration
  • You can become emotional
  • You can be moody
  • You can feel depressed
  • You may feel an increased heart rate
In addition, there are other factors that can occur when your sleep pattern changes and you don’t get a good nights sleep, there is a possibility that lack of quality sleep may cause some of the problems listed below.
  • Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Your immune system is weaker
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Risk of a heart attack
  • Risk of a stroke
  • Hormone imbalance
  • May shorten life expectancy
  • Obesity
  • Other serious medical conditions

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a serious medical condition, there are a number of symptoms, these include, headaches, memory problems, constant muscle pain and discomfort, swollen lymph nodes, more can be read about lymph nodes in section 5 of this website. The most serious symptom of CFS is long term debilitating feeling of fatigue and tiredness.
Research has indicated the cause is unknown, and there is no known cure. There are conditions that are similar to CFS that can respond to medication, these include diabetes, depression, (More on Depression in Section 19), amnesia and fibromyalgia which is a long-term condition cause pain in the body and tiredness. Both these conditions impact on sleep and possibly blood pressure.

High Blood Pressure

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Serious Health problems

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Serious Health problems can be caused by the lack of sleep, especially if people drive having been deprived of sleep. Lack of sleep affects people’s judgement while driving, records show that many accidents can be attributed to the lack of sleep, world wide more than 20,000 people die every year while driving, having fallen asleep at the wheel.

 
Heavy Goods Vehicles on United Kingdom roads are governed by European Law, this legislation states, lorry drivers during any six-day period are only permitted to drive for a maximum of 56 hours, this includes regular breaks and rest periods, there are variations increasing to 84 hours for drivers loading and delivering goods, waiting etc. Unfortunately, some drivers don’t comply which can have devastating consequences.

Sleep deficiency

 
Sleep deficiency is defined as a state of inadequate or badly timed sleep. If this is a chronic condition it can influence the brain and cognitive function, this can lead to problems at work such as the lack of concentration, a poor memory, feeling irritable as well as feeling fatigued and wanting to sleep during the day. It can however be associated with social, environmental and lifestyle factors, and cause many health problems. Looking at the overall picture regarding all sleep disorders, the consequences to society are enormous.

 
Sleep problems including disease put more strain on health authorities to treat patients, together with the associated cost. In addition, there is also a cost to insurance companies for accidents. Sleep deprivation also has an impact on longevity, together with indirect costs relating to work absenteeism. Looking at the causes of sleep deprivation, these are defined as primary and secondary, more information below.

A Hormone called Cortisol, sometimes referred to as a stress hormone.

A Hormone called Cortisol, sometimes referred to as a stress hormone. Cortisol plays an important part in your life, not only while you sleep, cortisol levels are responsible for how you feel when you wake up and get out of bed, they continue to regulate how you feel during the rest of the day through to the evening and going to sleep.

Cortisol will impact your body, every day, every night for the rest of your life, even if you are lucky enough to get quality sleep every night. Let’s look at other hormones that impact our lives. Listed below are some of the hormones which get secreted into our bloodstream day and night, these play an important part of our daily lives, and how we feel.
Cortisol plays a big part in how the human body reacts to stress, it is responsible for the way we feel, from the time we jump out of bed in the morning it peaks between 8am and 9am helping us function during the day, however the Cortisol level starts to fall late afternoon.
When stress calls for the release of the hormone cortisol, the journey starts at the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus which releases a hormone called corticotrophin, this hormone in medical terms is referred to as “The Central Driver of The Hormone System” in turn corticotrophin causes the release of the hormone adrenocorticotropic from the pituitary gland, the hormone adrenocorticotropic travels through the bloodstream until it gets to the adrenal glands, this finally secretes the hormone cortisol.

Melatonin

Melatonin can assist or be used for managing the body or providing supplements for the body that may assist in managing conditions such as the immune system, autism, cluster headaches, alzheimer’s, fat cells, gallstones, migraine and more. However, the hormone that is relevant to this section, is melatonin and how it is released from the pineal gland at the back of the brain and regulated by the central circadian rhythm.

Sleep is very much connected with your “Body Clock” also called your “Biological Clock” In medical terms this is referred to as the “Circadian Rhythm” which tells our body when to sleep, when to rise and start another day, all the above are related to the “Hypothalamus” and the main culprit called “Cortisol”. Your body clock is affected by daylight, temperature and is adjusted by external cues. These cues are known as Zeitgebers which an external time cue is, mainly related to daylight, which synchronises your internal body clock with the day/night-time 24-hour cycle of the Earths rotating cycle.

The Hypothalamus

The Hypothalamus has two nerve cells and is responsible for sending hormones to the pituitary gland, which in turn controls other parts of the endocrine system. The hormone that affects sleep is called arginine vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone that causes the kidneys to reduce the amount of urine. While we sleep this antidiuretic hormone is released into our blood stream, a high level of the hormone causes the kidneys to produce less urine while we sleep, allowing a nights sleep without having to get up and visit the bathroom.
All good news as while we sleep, more hormones are secreted into the bloodstream which are responsible for repairs to body tissues, allowing skin cells to regenerate, and repairs to muscles. In fact, a lot goes on in our brain and body while we sleep, although people may be sleeping, the body is wide awake and working to keep you fit and healthy.

The Kidneys

The Kidneys as explained above, amongst other functions, are responsible for releasing urine at night, when the antidiuretic hormone is high, it allows us to enjoy a night’s sleep, albeit it’s said nearly everyone wakes up during the night, but easily go back to sleep. There are many reasons that cause people to wake up and end up with a poor nights sleep. Some causes are alcohol which can send you to sleep quickly but wake you around 2am and not able to go back to sleep, other causes include a late meal, stress and money worries, maybe excitement of a special event.
The down side is, the antidiuretic hormone is substantially reduced, the hormones that maintain your body are less effective. It’s a combination of these occurrences that may lead to a rise in blood pressure. If lack of sleep continues over long periods the maintenance of your body suffers, your blood pressure may need to be controlled, and possibly lead to obesity, become moody, weakens your immune system, poor memory, possible cardiovascular problems, may also reduce sex drive.

Lack of Quality Seep

Lack of Quality Seep is the common denominator to all, and a lot more serious side effects. Another section will be covering simple life changes to help a good night’s sleep, plus the not so simple changes, that are still achievable. More about how darkness causes high levels of melatonin to be secreted into the bloodstream at night, this assists in quality sleep. Unfortunately, when our sleep patterns are broken, the level of melatonin into the bloodstream drops, this has a knock-on darkness effect on the kidneys, resulting in a lot more trips to the loo and, other medical problems.

Estrogen when levels are low can affect both men and women in different ways, be responsible for women’s hot flushes, lack of sleep, in men high levels of Estrogen may be attributed to prostrate cancer and cardio vascular disease. Leptin, this has a major impact on regulating how much food we eat, can be responsible for weight gain, can also inhibit insulin.
Sleep Apnoea has many symptoms, all connected with sleep, it can have serious side effects as it can disrupt sleep by stopping breathing for short periods.
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Although there is no cure for RLS at this moment in time. Treatments have shown some success in relieving the discomfort, these include massage, a hot bath to help to relax muscles. When the symptoms cause a serious lack of sleep, painkillers have been prescribed, some of these include narcotic drugs such as oxycontin, codeine, these are classed as opioids which work by binding themselves to receptors in the brain. These work by reducing the number of pain messages sent by the brain, in turn the feeling of pain is reduced. There are a number of side effects that should be considered, one of these is due to poor sleep which can cause cortisol levels to increase. There are drugs that are used to treat this syndrome, these include an injection of dopamine, called Intropin, this drug is normally used for the treatment of shock, such as a heart attack, heart failure and other serious medical conditions, but has shown some success in the treatment of RLS. Any of the treatments or medications mentioned should first be discussed with your doctor or health professional.
Sleep is so important
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Sunlight and natural daylight when compared to artificial light make a difference to sleep patterns. People who spend their day under natural light get a better night’s sleep compared to people who spend their day working under artificial light. In addition, the blue light that emits from televisions, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and computers delay the release of the sleep inducing hormone called melatonin, which is normally released into the bloodstream when we sleep. A high level of melatonin is required to help with a good night’s sleep. However, melatonin is only released in high levels when the bedroom is in darkness. Any blue light will definitely have an impact on a night’s sleep, ideally, but not easily accomplished, stop watching the TV, stop looking at the smart phone or computer for at least one hour before going to bed. Remember, poor sleep can influence a rise in blood pressure.

Blue light


 
Why? Because blue light is part of the light spectrum your eyes can see, its the blue light passing into the back of the eye that causes damage to the retina. Although the structure of the human eye virtually blocks ultraviolet rays from the sun damaging the retina at the back of the eye, looking into the sun can seriously damage your eyes in a relatively short space of time. Without going into too much detail, damage to the eyes can be caused by lasers, LED lights, UV light. Over time there is also the possibility of “Age Related Macular Degeneration”

Light is measured in wavelengths

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Light is measured in wavelengths, similar to radio wavelengths, however you can’t see radio wavelengths, but you can see visible light which has a wavelength between 400nm to 700nm, nm stands for nanometer. This spectrum of light is in effect, the colours of a rainbow, Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red. One last fact, one nanometer is one billionth of one meter, light is also measured in THz, terahertz.

 
High Energy Blue light is emitted from many sources, computer screens, tablets, your mobile phone, androids, flat screen televisions, in fact most digital devices with a screen. Research indicates that too much blue light can damage your eyes and impact on your sleep patterns. Remember, poor sleep may affect your workplace, your judgement of facts and figures.

Blue Light is not all bad news

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Blue Light is not all bad news, blue light can help the treatment of many skin disorders, helps to reduce depression, can make you more alert and less fatigued. Blue light is used in hospitals as an antibacterial to reduce infection. A search of the internet will provide more information.
 
Blue Light Protection.
If you spend time looking at screens emitting blue light, protective glasses are available, either with or without prescription lens. There are questions as to how effective they are, an internet search will reveal more.
A new section will gather more information on the hormones above, together with a fuller picture on sleep apnoea, with information how some of these conditions could be reversed, information on supplements that may assist sleep, plus information on dyssomnias, parasomnias, nightmare disorders, hypersomnia and more. More information on supplements in section 12.
 
Sleep disorders such as insomnia and disorders mentioned above and a lot more, are medically described as primary and secondary, as explained below.

 
Primary Sleep Disorder (PSD) is defined as a sleep disorder that is not caused or connected to prescription medications, medical conditions, or mental illness. Narcolepsy is a PSD, causing people to continually fall asleep during the day. There is another condition with similar symptoms called Idiopathic hypersomnia, medically the symptoms are less severe compared to narcolepsy. Another condition is called primary insomnia, symptoms include great difficulty in falling asleep, waking up during the night then having difficulty in going back to sleep, waking up too early, all leads to a poor night’s sleep resulting in waking up tired. All these disorders lead onto daytime problems such as feeling fatigued, irritable, depressed and feeling sleepy during the day, and impact blood pressure.

Secondary Sleep Disorders (SSD)

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Secondary Sleep Disorders (SSD) are totally different to primary disorders which are related to medical prescription drugs etc. mentioned above. In simple terms, a secondary disorder can be the side effect of another disorder such as a medical condition, these include asthma, feeling depressed, shingles and pain caused by many conditions, diabetes and more.

The Lack of Sleep, poor sleep, sleep disorders and more conditions affect up to 47% of the world’s population which today totals around 7.2 billion people, taking 47% as an average, that’s around a total of some 3.4 billion who don’t get enough sleep. Research has indicated some countries get more sleep, some countries get less sleep, also in general women get more sleep than men. Not good statistics!

Lack of Sleep

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The Lack of Sleep may, as explained above, cause blood pressure problems. Many people who don’t get a good night’s sleep may have blood pressure above accepted measurements. Globally it’s estimated there are around one billion people with high blood pressure, in addition, there are another three million who are unaware their blood pressure is high. People who suffer with lack of sleep, and those with conditions affecting sleep, make up a considerable proportion of a total of 1.3 billion who have, or may have blood pressure above current accepted levels. It’s the 300 million who are unaware they have high blood pressure that cause the greatest concern, unfortunately people will die from conditions related or caused by high blood pressure. Globally more people need to be made aware of the damage caused to the body from high blood pressure. This is why the medical profession refer to this as:

THE SILENT KILLER

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