What if I told you that there has been a scientific breakthrough for a new medication that has been proven to protect you from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, colds and the flu?
And… that this medication has a powerful healing effect on every system and cell in your body…
And this amazing medication can also enhance your learning ability, memory, and creativity, all, while making you happier, looking younger, thinner, and even improves your sex life?
Plus, this new medication has no negative side effects and is completely free.
Would this be of interest to you?
If so, then I have some very good news for you. This miracle cure-all does exist and is yours for the taking.
It’s called quality sleep.
In episode 59 I’m going to be sharing with you what I believe to be the most important and timely podcast that I have ever produced over the last 5 years or so.
Good, quality sleep is so much more than a luxury for us boomers. It is an absolute, vital necessity to our very lives.
This podcast is a major update to episode #36 on sleep that I did years ago, prior to all of the latest research that has emerged.
My eyes were opened to the importance of sleep from listening to the audio book, Why We Sleep, written by Matthew Walker PhD. Dr. Walker is a sleep researcher out of UC Berkeley. He’s been doing sleep research for over 20 years so he knows what he’s talking about. I highly recommend that you read his book. It should be required reading for everybody in high school and beyond.
I also encourage you to listen to interviews of Dr. Walker by Rhonda Patrick PhD on her FoundMyFitness podcast and with Joe Rogan on his podcast. They are both excellent and will provide you with much more valuable information than I can talk about here.
I urge you to listen to all of this podcast. I know it’s a bit long but it’s very important and relevant to you, no matter what stage of life you’re in.
You may already think you know all there is to know about sleep but trust me, most likely you don’t.
And please share this with your younger friends and family. I wish that I had known this way back when I could have had a head start on preserving this precious gift that is free for the taking.
If nothing else, I encourage you to download my free 20-page companion PDF – 20 Solid Tips to Enable Baby Boomers to Get a Great Night Sleep Every Night.
It’s packed with the latest science-based tips that can go a long way to help you get those full 8 hours of quality sleep that we, as boomers, need as much as we need oxygen.
This PDF also contains some great resources to help you to get those zzzz’s that you need.
I recommend that you read this PDF while connected to the internet because there are many links to information and resources that will help you to get that quality sleep that you’re looking for.
Sleep. We all know that we need it, yet so many of us treat it as an optional commodity.
How many of us have spent most of our lives sacrificing a full 8 hours of sleep in order to pursue “more important” goals such as getting off to school early, leading to getting off to work early, which turns into just getting up earlier in retirement because you don’t need as much sleep as you used to.
I can hear many of you now…
I can get along just fine on 6 hours of sleep. I have for years. And besides, it’s been proven that we don’t need as much sleep as we get older. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
Well, that may be a prophetic thought because we now know, for sure, that chronic sleep deprivation will lead to an earlier death, which quite often follows a serious bought with cancer or heart disease or a long, losing battle to hold on to your cherished memories, with Alzheimer’s disease.
And science now has proven beyond a doubt that almost everybody needs 7 – 9 hours of sleep nightly. Many people think that they can do fine on 6 hours or less. Sadly, this just isn’t true.
The problem is that people that are chronically sleep-deprived may often feel like they get plenty of sleep. This is because their body adjusts to sleep deprivation, but it is still putting them at serious risk for serious physical, cognitive, and emotional problems.
Oh, then I must be in that small percentage of people who can get on with less than 7 hours just fine.
Okay. Well, that is extremely unlikely. In fact, the odds of you being one of those people who genetically are fine with less than 7 hours of sleep is way less than your odds of being struck by lightning.
Or, another way to look at it is the percentage of people on this planet with that rare genetic predisposition, when rounded to the nearest whole number, is ZERO. So no, you aren’t one of those people.
The fact is that sleep is a lot more important than most of us could have possibly imagined. It is THE MAIN driver of our health and happiness.
There are 4 stages of sleep that you experience every night.
This is broken into two sub-categories with one called REM, or rapid eye movement sleep. This is the period of sleep where you are dreaming and experiencing a lot of brain activity and cardiovascular activity. Then there is non-REM sleep or NREM sleep, which contains levels 1 – 3, with level one being the lightest and level 3 being the deepest. In fact, it is often referred to as deep level 3 sleep. This is where many of the restorative processes take place.
In a typical night’s sleep, you will go through all these levels every 90 minutes with NREM sleep dominating in the early evening with a slow progression of increased REM sleep until it dominates the 90-minute cycles toward the end of your sleep in the morning.
Every stage of sleep is important for your physical, psychological, and emotional health, and thus cutting short any of your sleep with going to bed too late or getting up too early will disturb this pattern causing sleep deprivation.
your quality of sleep affects every aspect of your life. And, like a double-edged sword, obtaining regular, quality sleep has truly wondrous health benefits, while depriving our self of it, has predictably tragic consequences.
If there is one overriding theme in the plethora of studies looking at the effect of sleep on our health it is this…
The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life.
And the shorter your telomeres…
You may recall from previous podcasts me talking about telomeres and how important they are to our health and aging. Telomeres are protective bits of DNA, like little bumpers or caps, that are attached to each end of all of our DNA strands.
These telomeres protect our DNA from damage, which can wreak havoc on our health causing cancer and many other health-related problems.
You can accurately determine the biological age of someone by the lengths of their telomeres. So, the longer the better.
Many factors affect the length of your telomeres. Negative lifestyle factors like poor diet and stress can cause premature shortening of your telomeres. And, as you probably have already guessed, sleep has a significant effect on your telomeres.
A healthy, 7 – 9 hours of quality sleep promotes the lengthening of your telomeres, while a consistent 6 hours or less, causes a substantial decrease in the length of your telomeres. This alone significantly increases your risk of cancer.
And, speaking of cancer. Here’s a sobering fact:
We all have cancer.
Every single day, our immune system seeks out and destroys cells in our bodies that have become cancerous. It is our immune system’s T-cells that are responsible for this very important mission. Obviously, we owe our very existence to the combined efforts of these amazing ninja-style warriors within our immune system.
Studies have shown that even one single night of only 4 hours of sleep in a young, healthy person will diminish the number of T-cells in their bodies by 70%. And that’s after just one single night of sleep deprivation. Imagine multiplying that kind of sleep deprivation by weeks, months, years, or decades.
It is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. It’s no wonder that cancer is the number 2 cause of death behind heart disease.
And speaking of heart disease. We now know that deep sleep is very important for the maintenance of a healthy cardiovascular system. It is in deep sleep that our body re-calibrates the cardiovascular system and lowers our blood pressure. We know that even one night of poor sleep will have significant, negative effects on our blood pressure.
And we also know that, due to the constant onslaught of brain atrophy, that starts in our 20’s, that we slowly lose our ability to generate the deep sleep that is so important for our health. By the time most people are 50, they will have lost 50% of their ability to generate deep sleep and by the time most people are 70, it’s down to a paltry 5%.
So, it’s no big surprise that heart disease is the number one killer of American’s. Most of us have lost our abilities to adequately care for our cardiovascular system with deep sleep.
Here are some sobering statistics. In a ½ million-person study done in 2012 included people from 8 countries with varying ages, races, and ethnicities. Progressively shorter sleep was responsible for a 45% increase in developing or dying from cardiovascular heart disease. And, in a similar 14-year study in Japan which looked at over 4,000 males. Those participants who slept for 6 hours or less over this 14-year period were 400% to 500% more likely to experience a heart attack as compared to those who slept for 7 or more hours over the same 14 years.
And as we get older, it gets worse. In another study 45-year-old or older adults who slept less than 6 hours per night were shown to be 200% more likely to experience a heart attack or a stroke at some point in their life.
The problem can be boiled down to the fact that sleep deprivation ramps up our sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as our “fight or flight” system. When we miss out on our healing, quality sleep that would normally take our heart rate and blood pressure way down in deep level 3 sleep. So, as a by-product, our bodies end up in a constant “fight or flight” mode with a higher heart rate and blood pressure, which quickly puts an unsustainable load on our cardiovascular system.
REM sleep has also been shown to be very important for your cardiovascular system. One of the reasons is that, unlike the very slow heart rate characteristic of deep sleep, REM sleep sees a very high variability of your heart rate from very slow to high. This seems to be of particular importance to the health of your cardiovascular system.
Many of these studies are long-range studies showing the effects of sleep deprivation for weeks, months, or years. But how important is a single night’s sleep? Surely that can’t cause much harm to anyone.
Well… You and I have all been participants in a huge yearly study with over 1 and ½ billion other people where we all lose only one hour of sleep in a 24-hour period. You know this as daylight savings time when we all turn our clocks forward for one hour in March, thus causing the loss of a single hour of sleep for over 1 and 1/2 billion people.
When you go over all of the hospital records for the day following this change in time, there is an obvious and sharp spike in heart attacks and car accidents. And, when we go back to standard time in the fall and gain an hour of sleep, we find just the opposite. There is a huge dip in heart attacks as well as car accidents. All from the loss or gain of a single hour of sleep.
And it’s not just your susceptibility to heart disease and cancer that is affected by chronic sleep deprivation. Literally, every system and cell in your body is adversely affected.
sleep deprivation has a profound effect on your ability to metabolize sugar due to a desensitization of your body’s insulin response.
In many studies, where normally healthy, young subjects were subjected to 6 hours of sleep or less for one week, it was shown that their body lost over 30% of their insulin response. To put that into perspective, if they were to go to their doctors in such a state, they would immediately be placed on a major pharmaceutical-driven protocol to prevent them from developing full-blown type 2 diabetes.
Just imagine how your body would respond to chronic sleep deprivation of 6 hours or less over years.
It has also been demonstrated in multiple studies that sleep deprivation is a major driver of obesity due to this metabolic effect, as well as changes in the brain, which increases your appetite along with your craving for junk food high in sugar and carbohydrates. It’s a vicious cycle, driven by the lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation is now known to be a major contributing factor in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists now know that the buildup of amyloid plaques are the culprits that cause the destruction of certain areas of the brain, which lead to the neurological symptoms associated with these diseases. So what causes these amyloid plaques to build up.
It turns out that during normal deep sleep, our brains flush out the amyloid plaques in the cells of our brain with something called our glymphatic system, which like our lymphatic system, rids our bodies of cellular waste products.
What makes this even more insidious is that these amyloid plaques tend to build up in the prefrontal cortex of our brains which is the same area that deep sleep is generated. This creates a viscous cycle where the loss of our ability to generate deep sleep actually increases the destruction of the very area responsible for deep sleep.
And let me make one more point here.
The loss of deep sleep only, for even one single night, has been shown to increase the amount of amyloid plaque in a person by 25-30 percent. Let that sink in.
But this system does not work well when our deep sleep is diminished, from age, or from sleep deprivation. This is when these amyloid plaques start to build up in certain areas of the brain, eventually leading to neurological disease.
Sleep deprivation is also a major contributing factor for anxiety, depression as well as many other psychological disorders. The connection is undeniable, starting within even 15 hours of wakefulness, after a night’s sleep.
Poor sleep is the trademark of literally all psychological and emotional disorders. Said another way, healthy, quality sleep has never been found to be associated with anybody suffering from ANY psychosocial or emotional disorder. Does this mean that lack of sleep is the cause of all these conditions? No, but it appears that there is a strong correlation between mental illness and the quality of sleep one receives and sleep has been shown to play a major role in mental illness.
Deprive anybody, of sleep for a single night and they will all exhibit symptoms of psychological and emotional disorders that increase rapidly with the continued lack of sleep.
We now know that it is during quality sleep, that we process all the information and memories from the day before into permanent memories. And, the lack of quality sleep will dramatically affect our ability to learn by processing memories.
Therefore, many of us baby boomers, and seniors, experience significant problems with learning and memory, due to the chronic sleep deprivation that many of them have due to loss of their ability to obtain both deep sleep and a full 7 hours or more sleep each night.
And men! chronic sleep deprivation can seriously impact your testosterone levels.
In one study, men who regularly slept for 5 hours or less were shown to have levels of testosterone that were in line with those who were 10 years older. It’s no wonder that Viagra has brought in 10’s of billions of dollars since it was introduced to the market over 20 years ago.
All of this should underscore an important point that should be blatantly obvious to us baby boomers, and that is that big, bright, flashing sign directly in our face that says…
SAVE YOUR SLEEP!
Preserving what you have left of your ability to generate quality sleep is your prime directive if you’re seriously interested in extending your healthspan. This isn’t optional. It is mandatory. It is use-it or lose it, big-time.
Okay, so hopefully by now you have a renewed reverence for sleep and fully understand the importance of preserving it.
So how can you fully optimize and preserve your precious ability to sleep so you can reap the benefits of a good night’s sleep for as long as possible?
Get your FREE Companion PDF!
And…I would be remiss not to give a big thanks to my favorite blues guitar player of all time, Mr. Dave Hydie for generously providing such a great intro and outro for each of my podcasts. I love you Dave, you da man.
Any information as found within our Website, Facebook groups, and associated materials is for general educational and informational purposes only. This information is not intended nor otherwise implied to be medical advice.
It is strongly recommended that you consult with your physician prior to embarking on any changes to your lifestyle as discussed in this report.
CLICK HERE to view all The Essential Boomer LLC important disclaimers