Sleep and Inflammation 101 by Dr. Breus

Sleep and Inflammation 101 by Dr. Breus

Swissline is proud to announce our content partnership with world-renowned Sleep Expert and Psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus (The Sleep Doctor)! This article was written by Dr. Breus to share fascinating and practical tips to help our readers understand the importance of sleep in their everyday lives. In this content series, Dr. Breus will also share the benefits of sleep for improving the aging process overall - especially as it's related to skin health.

Chronic Inflammation is a Major Driver of Biological Aging

Inflammation accelerates the aging of our cells and impairs the function of our organs and systems, including the ability of the immune system to function optimally. 

Sleep plays a critical role in regulating inflammation in the body, and the relationship between sleep and inflammation profound implications for our health and longevity, and how we look, feel and perform in our lives. 

As one recent study described it, sleep and inflammation are “partners in sickness and in health.” A strong, consistent routine of high-quality, restful sleep can help limit chronic, low-grade inflammation as we age. Sleeping poorly—not getting enough sleep, sleeping restlessly, keeping an irregular sleep schedule—creates dysfunction in the immune system and contributes to higher levels of systemic inflammation. 

Inflammation 101 

Not all inflammation is bad: in fact, the body’s inflammatory response is essential to our health and survival. Inflammation is a natural, protective biological response from the immune system to help the body heal from injury and fight off harmful foreign pathogens that cause illness and disease. 

The symptoms of acute inflammation, which include swelling and redness, fever and chills, pain, stiffness, and fatigue, are signs the body’s immune system is in “fight mode,” working hard to neutralize a threat. 

Inflammation poses problems for aging, and disease risk, when “fight mode” becomes chronic. When inflammation is chronic, the immune system is constantly on high alert, activating disease-fighting cells that have no threat to eliminate.  Over time, these fighter cells can wear down, and cause damage to healthy cells, tissues, organs, and systems.

Chronic inflammation contributes to outward signs of aging. And persistent, low-grade inflammation is a significant factor in illness, and in the chronic and life-threatening diseases of our time, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. 

What Causes Chronic Inflammation? 

  • Poor diet, lack of exercise, environmental toxins, stress are all contributors to persistent low-grade inflammation 
  • And aging itself is a factor in uncontrolled inflammation. As we age, our immune systems are more prone to dysfunction that can lead to a state of chronic, low-grade inflammation  
  • Poor sleep is also a contributor to chronic inflammation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR. MICHAEL J. BREUS, PhD.

Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and both a Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He is one of only 168 psychologists in the world to have passed the Sleep Medical Speciality board without going to Medical School. Dr. Breus was recently named the Top Sleep Specialist in California by Reader’s Digest, and one of the 10 most influential people in sleep. Dr. Breus is on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and on the show (40 times).

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