Lack of Sleep and Inflammation – Why You Need To Know About It.

Do you often find yourself bragging about your lack of sleep? Perhaps you’ve overheard a work colleague gloating about their ability to run on 4-5 hours of sleep?

I know this sounds crazy, but I know plenty of people who do – even when working 24/7.

The thing is, its actually not a joking matter.

This is serious stuff.

There are MANY REASONS why sleep is critically important on our health, but one of the most poignant is that lack of sleep can obliterate your immune system – the very system that is designed to keep you well.

It’s also bi-directional, meaning an overactive immune system can lead to poor sleep.

It’s why I want to discuss an area of your immune system called inflammation, and the connection it has with lack of sleep.

So first up – you may be wondering, what exactly is inflammation?

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HSW 94 – Project Sunrise and Jet Lag with Dr Sun Bin.

Today we’re talking all things jet-lag with Dr Sun Bin from the University of Sydney who is an epidemiologist and public health researcher, who has a particular interest in sleep and circadian rhythms.

Dr Sun Bin and her team are currently working on a research project with Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, called “Project Sunrise” to ascertain the feasibility of running non-stop 19-20 hour commercial flights from the east coast of Australia, to London and New York, with a special focus around passenger and crew well-being.

What you’re going to learn:

– What is Project Sunrise, and some of the aims of the research?
– What scientists are specifically monitoring throughout the flights, as part of the research.
– Why passengers are being encouraged not to eat during the biological night, to help reduce digestive discomfort.
– Some of the results and findings so far, along with future research plans.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into Sleep Health Awareness

Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep-deprived young women.

Dr Bin’s work and research

Are You A Sucker For The Lollie Jar At Work? Try These Orange Jellies Instead.

As tired, weary shift workers it’s not surprising that we’re lured in by the lollie jar at work, as a source of energy for our sleep-deprived brains.

But have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients label of some of these packaged lollies?

Let me share an example to help prove my point:

Exhibit A

Ingredients:  Glucose Syrup ( Wheat  Or Corn), Cane Sugar, Thickener (Dextrin Roasted Starch, Acid Treated Starch Or Starch Acetate)( Wheat ), Gelatine, Food Acids (Citric, Lactic), Invert Syrup, Flavours, Colours (Carminic Acid, Turmeric, Vegetable Carbon, Paprika Oleoresin, Copper Chlorophyllin, Black Carrot).   Contains Wheat. May Contain Milk.

As you can see, there are lots of extra “bonuses” included in that packet, besides the glucose itself.

It’s what makes these 3-ingredient jellies or “lollies” a much healthier alternative.

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Sleep Loss and Glucose Regulation.

This is why shift work and a diet high in refined and processed sugars is not a good mix.

Results published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism identified how just one night of sleep deprivation caused a 40% reduction in the body’s ability to handle glucose.

What does this mean?

Quite simply, when you don’t get enough sleep, your body struggles to keep your blood sugar in check

Given consistently elevated blood sugar can damage blood vessels and contribute to cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes … shift workers need to know this stuff!!

Unfortunately it becomes a bit of a Catch-22.

When we’re sleep deprived, our body screams out for sugar, because the brain is seeking out a source of energy to help it to function and remain alert.

But too much sugar – AKA donuts, cakes, biscuits, energy drinks etc, (in lieu of sufficient amounts of protein, healthy fats and fibre), can lead to blood sugar dysregulation and inflammation.

So please be mindful of your sugar intake whilst working 24/7 – not just from a weight gain perspective, but to help reduce your risk factors for developing other chronic health conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease.

Audra x

HSW 93 – Weight Loss Study for Shift Workers with Professor Maxine Bonham

Are you struggling to lose weight whilst working 24/7?  If so, this episode is for you!

Today I’m talking with Associate Professor Maxine Bonham who is a registered nutritionist and research academic at Monash University in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food here in Australia.  Maxine is currently involved in research examining some of the adverse health effects associated with sleep debt, poor dietary habits and misalignment of circadian rhythms in shift workers.  All super relevant for anyone working 24/7.

Maxine and I discuss how alternating our mealtime or food intake can conflict with our natural body clock or circadian rhythms, and how this can negatively impact on our health including our weight, along with her latest research – a world-first study trialling weight-loss interventions for those working night shift.

Links mentioned on the podcast:

The Swift Study open to night shift workers based in Melbourne or Adelaide – https://www.monash.edu/medicine/swiftstudy

Shifting the Risk – A study investigating meal timing and heart health in shift workers –
https://www.monash.edu/medicine/base/about/volunteer/shiftwork