Serious health problems linked to reduced sleep
New research highlights that we are now sleeping two hours less than we did in the 1960s, and this is risking serious health problems, such as cancer, heart disease and obesity.
Increased pressure of modern life and technology are considered the main reasons why we are not getting the sleep required to stay a healthy weight and ward off diseases and infections.
In fact, researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester and Surrey universities suggest people are now “living against” their body clocks, which is resulting in huge changes in the human body.
These changes can affect mood, physical strength and the risk of heart attack.
Prof Russell Foster, at the University of Oxford said: “We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle.
“What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock. And long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.”
Evidence suggests the boom of modern technology is one of the biggest causes of our sleep-deprived lifestyles. The high levels of blue light emitted by devices such as mobile phones and tablets is known to disrupt the body clock.
Prof Charles Czeisler, from Harvard University, said: “Light is the most powerful synchroniser of your internal biological clock.
“Light exposure, especially short wavelength blue-ish light in the evening, will reset our circadian rhythms to a later hour, postponing the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin and making it more difficult for us to get up in the morning.”
In light of this new research, there is growing concern that the government is not showing enough interest in the health consequences of reduced sleep.
Prof Andrew Loudon, from the University of Manchester said: “Governments need to take this seriously, starting perhaps with reviewing the health consequences of shift work, and society and legislators need to take this on board.”
If you are feeling overly stressed and struggling to wind down before bed, complementary therapies can help to restore your body’s balance, tackle stress and aid restful sleep. Homeopathy and reiki are particularly good for promoting calmness and better well-being.
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