Sleep for Health & Wellbeing
27th September 2013
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Sleep is an important part of life for growth and repair of muscles and mental recovery. However, it is widely accepted that the amount of time we spend asleep is reducing, with 40% of the UK population missing the NHS guidelines of 6-9hrs a night. Sleeping less than 6 hrs a night can increase the risk of CHD by 48% and lead to weight gain because sleep deprivation affects the balance of hormones ghrelin and leptin that regulate appetite. Short term sleep deprivation can also affect glucose metabolism and increase the risk of diabetes.


Lack of sleep can also be linked to reduced immunity, because T cells (white blood cells) reduce, while inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein levels increase. Increased inflammation can been associated with atherosclerosis and increased cell proliferation, which is considered to be one of the “hallmarks” of cancer.


Increases in physical activity levels and reductions in stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol all enhance sleep quality and duration.  Caffeine consumption increases the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces the quality of sleep, because it blocks adenosine receptors that increase the need to sleep.


The clinic team can review sleep hygiene and suggest other lifestyle changes to improve sleep quality such as removing electrical devices from the bedroom, avoiding TV and bright lights before bed and the development of a pre-bed routine. Furthermore, foods rich in tryptophan such as cheese, milk, turkey and chicken stimulate the production of serotonin, which can aid relaxation.


For more information about sleep health, please contact Nuffield Health Farnham on 01252 747500 or visit

About the Author

Jason R

Member since: 12th August 2013

Jason is the Clinic Manager at Nuffield Health Farnham. His team of experts include; Nutritional Therapists, Physiotherapists, a GP and physiologists. The team work hard to ensure that patients gain specific...

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