There is a list of negative health effects that not getting enough sleep has been linked to, and researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they know why. While working with mice, they found a gene called SIRT1, which is linked to aging. But, it also regulates our circadian rhythm and sleep.
By engineering mice with different levels of the SIRT1 gene, the evidence shows that those with the lower levels of the gene had a more difficult time adjusting their circadian clock throughout the day. The study conducted may explain why the risks for cancer and diabetes increases when our circadian rhythm is interrupted.
Regulated in the brain by a 24-hour cycle of light and darkness, the circadian cycle helps to ensure that all of our body processes take place on schedule. Disruptions to this internal clock weaken our bodies’ chances of warding off disease such as obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
Our lives are organized by so many schedules, such as work and school, and we must make a conscious effort to consider our circadian rhythms. If we get as much sunlight during the day and darkness at night as possible, our internal clocks will naturally fall in line leading to better sleep and ward off diseases.
While we cannot change the genes we were given, we can change our environments and behavior to be more conducive to sleeping well! Make 7.5-8.5 hours of restful sleep per night a top priority & your family, mind and body will thank you!!!