Taken from chapter 12 “Sleep” of the book Live young TWO times longer
Recent studies have clearly shown that short nights of sleep (less than 5 hours) and long nights (more than 9 hours) are associated with lower longevity. Sleep problems also exacerbate several other health problems. It is thus possible to improve this state of health, the response to a treatment and of course, this state of mind, by improving sleep. Here are some details.
Sleep and body functioning
There is a natural oscillation of several bodily functions known as the circadian cycle. This, on a 24-hour basis, regulates a large number of metabolic parameters ensuring the proper functioning of the organism such as hormone production, body temperature, glucose management, and sleep. Certain lifestyle habits and even certain foods could have a direct influence on the circadian rhythm and thus influence our sleep (ex: physical activity, sugar intake, frequency of meals).
Sleep also serves as a conductor to coordinate a whole set of processes specific to each of the organs and tissues of the human body. During sleep, cells in different tissues and organs change their functions to complete certain activities, to repair what is to be repaired, or to accumulate what must be available for the next day. It thus changes the gene expression of cells throughout the human body, not just the brain.
Sleep and aging
It is true that as you get older, both the quantity and the quality of sleep decrease. Should we believe that we need less sleep?
For older people, it becomes more difficult to fall asleep due to the decreased production of melatonin and to stay asleep and/or reach a deep and restful sleep, due to stress and anxiety. One study has estimated that you lose the equivalent of 30 minutes of sleep per 10 years, from the age of 40. Several other reasons can be cited: taking medication, phase shift in the circadian cycle, psychological problems and other health problems that can interfere with sleep such as pain. Some vicious cycles that can set in: lack of sleep makes it more feasible to establish certain health problems and these health problems interfere with sleep.
Lack of sleep causes health problems
In the United States, people with insomnia have an average annual health care cost of $ 2,000 higher than the rest of the population. They also have higher risks of death, hospitalization and traffic accidents.
The circadian cycle, mentioned earlier, is directly linked to aging by the metabolic pathways of primary aging. Sirtuins, AMPK and MTOR, are modulators of the primary aging of the organism directly linked to the circadian rhythm. We recently described primary aging in another article (Olive polyphenols and Vitoli products – Article 1: primary aging). It is not yet known whether primary aging influences the circadian rhythm or vice versa, but both are responsible for the incidence of diseases associated with aging.
Inflammation, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and nerve degeneration
Sleep disorders increase the levels of systemic inflammation which can contribute to the negative effects of inflammatory processes related to aging. These inflammatory processes will impair the proper functioning of the immune system and facilitate the development of various health problems such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, nerve degeneration and even cancer. In addition to the increase in systemic inflammation, people with sleep deficits have higher levels of systemic oxidation. Systemic oxidation can be considered the main waste of energy production by the body. It can cause damage to lipids, proteins, DNA and facilitate the development of cancer or nerve degeneration. Biologically speaking, sleep-deprived people age faster.
Body weight, obesity, blood lipids and depression
It is clearly established that lack of sleep increases the risks of body weight gain and obesity, by modifying our interest in food, but also, lipid metabolism. Deep sleep and dreams are also important for our psychological balance and for reducing, among other things, the risk of depression.
Unfortunately, for many people, sleep problems will cause or facilitate other health problems which in turn will be treated as a disease. We thus treat the symptom instead of the cause.
Sleep: one of the facets of healthy lifestyle habits?
For healthy lifestyles, we often talk about diet and physical activity. However, to get the most benefit from healthy lifestyles, it is important to pay attention to all facets. In a context of longevity, we have described 4 factors grouping all of these facets in addition to a 5th facilitating factor:
- Physical activity
- Sound management of stress and anxiety
- The quality of social life
- (Facilitating) Being fundamentally positive.
Here we include the quality of sleep in the healthy management of stress and anxiety because it is the first approach to consider upon improving it.
It is true that it is not always easy to improve sleep. You should also know that taking sleeping pills does not allow a deep and restful sleep, as would natural sleep. We published an article proposing 5 steps to help stop sleeping pills (read here).
Two of the Vitoli® products are used for sleep problems: Vitoli® Sleep and Vitoli® Stress and Anxiety, one or two capsules, 30 to 40 minutes before going to bed. Usually Vitoli® Sleep is more effective, but some people prefer Vitoli® Stress and Anxiety. It is also possible to use a capsule of each product. An important advantage of using them is the absence of addiction and dependence. They can be used as needed: there is no need to use them every day.
Here are the claims allowed by Health Canada for Vitoli® Sleep:
- Helps reduce the time to fall asleep.
- Helps to increase the total duration and quality of sleep in people with restricted or altered sleep schedules.
- Used in herbal medicine to help sleep.
- Helps relieve nervousness.
- Provides antioxidants.
Do not hesitate to talk to your pharmacist about VITOLI®; they will be able to advise you accordingly.
- Anafi RC, Pellegrino R, Shockley KR, Romer M, Tufik S, Pack AI. 2013. Sleep is not just for the brain: transcriptional responses to sleep in peripheral tissues. BMC Genomics. 2013 May 30;14:362.
- Campos Costa, et al, 2013. Aging, circadian rhythms and depressive disorders: a review. Am J Neurodegener Dis. Nov 29;2(4):228-46. Review.
- Cirelli C. 2012. Brain plasticity, sleep and aging. 2012;58(5):441-5.
- Eric Simard, Dr en biologie et Jacques Lambert, MD. 2018. Vivre jeune DEUX fois plus longtemps. Marcel Broquet la nouvelle édition, 270 pages.
- Hood S, Amir S. 2017. The aging clock: circadian rhythms and later life. J Clin Invest. 2017 Feb 1;127(2):437-446.
- Liu F, Chang HC. 2017. Physiological links of circadian clock and biological clock of aging. Protein Cell. 2017 Jul;8(7):477-488.
- Mazzotti DR, Guindalini C, Moraes WA, Andersen ML, Cendoroglo MS, Ramos LR, Tufik S. 2014. Human longevity is associated with regular sleep patterns, maintenance of slow wave sleep, and favorable lipid profile. Front Aging Neurosci. 2014 Jun 24;6:134.
- Moa Bengtsson, 2018. Middle age men with short sleep duration have two times higher risk of cardiovascular events than those with normal sleep duration, a cohort study with 21 years follow-up. European society of cardiology; Congress 2018.
- Ohara et al, 2018. Association Between Daily Sleep Duration and Risk of Dementia and Mortality in a Japanese Community. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Oct;66(10):1911-1918.