How important is restorative sleep for health?
As an adult, you probably feel that you need more sleep than you usually get. And while we often shrug it off as something that we’ll just catch up on later, getting a good night’s sleep is, in fact, crucial to overall wellness and health. In his new video, integrative oncology and metabolic medicine expert Dr. Thomas Lodi talks about just how important restorative sleep is
But, first things first: What is restorative sleep?
Restorative sleep is that stage of sleep wherein our blood pressure drops, our muscles relax and when tissue growth and repair occur. It is also at this stage that energy is restored, hormones are released, and our body recovers from the rigors of the day.
Did you know that there are four stages of sleep?
The first three are the non-REM (rapid eye movement) stages of sleep while the final stage is the REM sleep. Stage 1 is the “lightest stage,” and at this stage, sleep can still be easily disrupted. Stage 2 is the “first actual stage” of NREM sleep. This is when our heart rate begins to slow down and body temperature decreases. Stage 3 is deep NREM sleep, the “most restorative stage of sleep.” Finally, we go into REM sleep, also known as the “dreaming stage.”
Dr. Lodi explained that “restorative sleep is an intercellular and extracellular detox or auto fast.”
He furthered, “What’s important to remember is our cells need energy and they never stop needing energy. When you stop eating, you stop giving the cells glucose and the inside of the cells start getting recycled.
The mitochondria get worn down throughout the day because they have been busy. The mitochondria are the little organelles that make energy.”
Ideally, according to Dr. Lodi, we should stop eating at least three hours before going to bed. “Your cells still need glucose, so it turns on the lysosomal system and starts eating all those old mitochondria.
Once those old mitochondria are eaten up, they are reproduced immediately and when you wake up in the morning, your cells are full of ripe, healthy brand-new mitochondria. You are able to jump out of bed with renewed energy,” he said.
Going to sleep early is also a factor in reaping the benefits of restorative sleep.
The American Psychological Association (APA) reaffirmed what many adults have always known and, often, taken for granted. An expert cited in an article on the website noted that there is 50 years’ worth of data “showing that people who sleep between seven and eight hours live the longest.”
Good sleep, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is also crucial to maintaining optimal health. Studies show that “good sleepers” eat fewer calories compared to those who do not sleep well. This is because sleep deprivation affects the appetite hormones which then causes poor appetite regulation. Other benefits of a good sleep include improved concentration and productivity, enhanced athletic performance and stronger immune system, among others.
Dr. Lodi concluded, “All these wonderful things happen to the body if and only if you go to bed early enough to allow restorative sleep before you get to the reset. If you don’t go to bed early enough, the reset doesn’t happen.”
And a final note from Dr. Lodi, for those who are worried about premature aging: “If you want to age as quickly as possible, then don’t go to bed early.”