Dr. Takhar's Blog


Sleep – why it is so important

In the western world, we really do not value sleep. Actually many see it as a waste of time. They think an extra hour working would be more worthwhile. It is not. In many ways.

Sleep used to occur much earlier when we had no electricity. So our forefathers went to sleep when the sun went down. So around 9pm everyone was asleep. And they woke with the sun.

This ensured that our bodies did what they were meant to. The blood insulin levels stayed low, the melatonin and growth hormone got the peak necessary and cortisol stayed low. I cannot overestimate how crucial that is to anti aging, to good brain function, prevention of diabetes, and to keep weight stable. I would go as far as to say that sleeping an extra hour or two is a way to lose weight without making any other change.

I know my friends reading this think this is my get out clause from going to the gym (ladies, I am sleeping in…you go work out, I prefer my strategy to lose weight!). Believe me it works. Try it. I challenge you.

Although I like to keep the illusion going that I work long hours and don’t rest….gets me lots of sympathy from staff…in fact my little secret is that I sleep a good 9 hrs a night. Every night. And I am lucky I sleep through anything. My family all sleep a lot and we all seem to have a youthful looks…I believe there is a connection.

Deep sleep is essential. In order to have the correct hormonal changes, the sleep must be deep and uninterrupted. It is vital that all light sources by shut down. Even the pinpoint light on your phone, or the clock or some charger. A study showed that the tiniest amount can run havoc with the hormone surges.

If your sleep is disturbed due to hot flashes/night sweats, I would suggest that you see a good doctor who specializes in hormones. Whether you go bioidentical or synthetic (I will leave that for you to discuss with your doctor- although I am a big proponent of bio identical) hormone control is vital.

If you are not sleeping, look into the causes, is it depression, anxiety, pain, or menopause? (or all 4 at once!). Check that you are not taking medications that keep you awake or too much caffeine. Maybe your bed isn’t comfortable, maybe it’s noisy around you. You can fix these things.Sometimes it’s just worry that can keep us awake at night. Try to keep your life in perspective. Most things we worry about don’t actually happen. And when they do…its often a blessing in disguise.