All the sleep processes work together to restore and rebuild, and prevent illness and disease. Photo: Pexels
Inadequate sleep can increase risk for conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Have you ever driven tired? Would you want to have surgery if you knew the surgeon had not slept the night before? How would the congregation be impacted if the Pastor fell asleep during the sermon?
Often, I have found myself falling asleep with my computer still open, trying to get that last task completed. But recently, I was forced to rest and rediscover the healing benefits of sleep.
At night, the brain releases a natural hormone called melatonin. Rises in melatonin levels results in fatigue and sleepiness. Some other properties of melatonin include blood pressure regulation, immune regulation, detoxification of free radicals, and antioxidant activities. Not only does melatonin prepare the body for sleep, it also helps to protect our bodies from infection and disease.
During deep stages of sleep, the body is involved in regulatory processes that include repair and regrowth, bone and muscle remodeling and rebuilding, and immune system strengthening.
During sleep, the body produces anti-inflammatory cytokines, which target infection and inflammation, producing an effective immune response. Reduced sleep decreases the production of these important immune regulating cells, increasing the body’s susceptibility to infection and inflammation.
All these sleep processes work together to restore and rebuild, and prevent illness and disease.
Commit to renewing your body every night with the restorative power of sleep!
Tordjman, Sylvie et al. “Melatonin: Pharmacology, Functions and Therapeutic Benefits.” Current neuropharmacology vol. 15,3 (2017): 434-443. doi:10.2174/1570159X14666161228122115
Christina Wells is Lake Region Conference’s health director.