Most of us understand that good nutrition and exercise are essential to good health; however, many of us overlook the importance of sleep. Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, explains that sleep is essential to both our brains and our bodies.
During sleep, the brain is flushed of toxins and new learning experiences are integrated, says Dr. Czeisler. Inadequate sleep, he continues, can have wide-ranging effects on our physical health, including a dampening of the immune response, disruption of hormones that regulate weight, reduction in the effectiveness of insulin metabolism, and increased risk for calcification of the arteries. Dr. Czeisler also describes how artificial light exposure can lead to shortened sleep cycles or insomnia by disrupting our circadian rhythms.
Watch a video of Dr. Czeisler discussing the impact of sleep on health and innovative sleep research being conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.