Critical Functions of Sleep
Why is the sleep area important in building biology?
Building biology is concerned with environmental stresses because they can affect our health in varying degrees. And stresses in the sleep area are the ones that affect us the most, because it is where we spend many hours a night in the same place, resting and making repairs to the body. Contrary to being merely an inactive state, sleep is in fact a phase where critical functions of our health are restored or enhanced.
Immune system - It is our first line of defence against infections and illnesses, and it requires adequate sleep to work properly. We know from experience that lack of sleep makes us more vulnerable to colds and viruses. Over time, an immune system that is not functioning optimally can open the door to chronic problems, including risks of obesity, diabetes, and heart and blood vessel diseases.
Detoxification - We need adequate and quality sleep to support our natural detoxification system. Sleep not only helps memories form, but allows our brain to flush out toxins and prevent the accumulation of waste products such as beta-amyloid which contribute to the development of Alzhemer’s disease. Insomnia and sleep disruptions can lead to fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, lack of concentration and feelings of depression.
Cell Regeneration - The better we sleep, the better our cells can heal and regenerate through the actions of vital hormones and healthy metabolism. Normal cell metabolism and tissue regeneration are key to slowing down the ageing process. Sleep is the time when our DNA and damaged tissues are repaired, and plenty of growth hormones are released which help with bone mineralization, protein synthesis and muscle growth. Good sleep is particularly important for children to have normal development and growth both physically and mentally.
In sum, normal sleep is critical for physical and mental health. It also enables other health therapies to be more effective. Environmental stresses that disrupt your normal sleep can have a much greater health impact compared to the same stresses experienced in your waking hours during the day. This is why building biologists always start with an assessment of the sleep environment to look for any root causes of health issues, before considering other areas of the home or workplace.