In my hyperactive modes, I wonder why can’t I just go full steam ahead all the time — why do I have to “waste” time sleeping?
These silly thoughts soon come crashing down — just as I do after even a short period of inadequate sleep. In all of nature, our activity is based on rest, and the proper amount of sleep is essential for uncounted biological and physiological processes.
Now a recent Chinese study shows us how adequate sleep is critical for optimum bone health.
When looking at sleep patterns and bone density of 602 premenopausal and postmenopausal Chinese women, researchers found that “With decreased sleep duration, women were more likely to have lower total and all body regional BMD.” Specifically those sleeping eight, or even seven, hours had significantly higher BMD than those sleeping six hours or less.
And exactly how does sleep deprivation reduce bone mass?
This is due, at least in part, to the rise in bone-depleting cortisol and over activity of pro-inflammatory responses. Adequate sleep provides a time and environment for repair and regeneration. Inadequate sleep is a pro-inflammatory stressor that results in “repair deficit”— a deficit that goes bone deep.
How’s your sleep? Are you getting enough? Is it of high quality?
Let me know if you would like some tips on getting to sleep and staying asleep.
Fu, X et al. 2011. Association between sleep duration and bone mineral density in Chinese women. Bone, 49 (2011) 1062-1066