quality of sleep affects every organ and system in the body

Roe Chiacchio: The Power of Sleep

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 2:30pm

Poor health is often associated with sleep deprivation. 

Poor sleep habits can lead to cognitive decline. 

Lack of sleep can increase the risk of health disorders such as diabetes, obesity, depression, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and is considered a link to dementia.

  • Memory lapses, reduced concentration, fatigue and emotional ups and downs are other symptoms of insufficient sleep.

How are you feeling every day? Do you have energy? Are you clear minded and focused? If not look at your sleep habit and pattern.

Many of us are sleep deprived. Eighty percent of the population is not getting enough sleep and this has a negative effect on our mental and physical well-being. We may be driven by the demands of a long work days along with working two jobs, caring for our family and staying up late. We are unable to pull ourselves away from late-night TV shows or social media to get to bed at a decent time. Some boast about how little sleep they need to function. This life-style promotes health problems.  

 “Epidemiological studies have shown that patients who reported poor sleep in middle age were at greater risk for cognitive decline than control subjects when tested 25 years later,” wrote author Nedergaard M, Goldman in his article “Brain Drain” published in Science America, March 2016. 

Sleep plays a critical role in our mental and physical state of health. Organization of data, cleaning, mending and healing of our brain and body occurs throughout sleep. During this time, our brain is busy at work storing and maintaining pathways for learning, memory and other cognitive functions. Our body’s housekeeping for our brain occurs during sleep and the most important task it performs is the flushing out of toxins that have built-up during the day.  You can think of this process to the way a dishwasher cleans food particles from dishes.

In 2013 NIH news release, “NIH-funded study suggests sleep clears brain of damaging molecules associated with neurodegeneration.” 

“Each day, the adult brain eliminates a quarter of an ounce of worn-out proteins that must be replaced with newly made ones. To survive, the brain must have some way of flushing out debris,” Nedergaard M, Goldman explained. 

Our body contains lymphatic and glymphatic systems for clearing out cellular waste.

The lymphatic system is a network of fluid-carrying vessels, whose sole purpose is to eliminate protein waste from tissues throughout our body. Our brain has its own structure called the glymphatic system, which is supported by glial cells, removing toxins in the brain.

Without this cleansing we are exposed to the probable causes of dementia and neurogenic diseases.

Our quality of sleep affects every organ and system in the body, our heart, brain, lungs, liver, hormones and immune system to name a few. 

Here are tips on how you can improve your sleep habits and improve your health:

  • Take note of your caffeine intake. Avoid caffeinated drinks after 2 p.m.
  • Have a consistent bedtime and wakeup time.
  • Calm your brain several hours before bedtime by avoiding news on TV. 
  • Avoid computer, iPad and cell phone activities two hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid reading on the computer. The blue light activates the brain.
  • Use a book light to illuminate the book page instead of a lamp while reading in bed.
  • Avoid alcohol prior to bedtime. It may feel calming but it actually activates the brain.
  • Bedroom should be kept cool with a temperature of about 65 to 68 degrees
  • Practice meditation, which calms the brain and improves sleep.
  • Exercise or walk in nature during the day. Our body has a positive reaction when coexisting in the natural world. 
  • If you have restless leg syndrome, have your ferritin level checked (iron storage). Normal to high normal range of ferritin is required for good sleep. 


  • Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Talk to your primary care provider about magnesium supplements.


  • Enjoy Epsom salts baths.


  • Avoid preservative additives and colors in food.


Try adding one tip into your lifestyle each week and note how well you feel and sleep.

Make an appointment with yourself to sleep and reap the benefits of good health. 

It is up to you to take care of your health.  

Support your body in its healing powers by getting adequate sleep.



Roe Chiacchio is a cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation RN, CPT personal trainer and CDP certified dementia practitioner. She integrates her background into a specialized style of training for each of her clients and shares her perspective and knowledge in her articles published at PenBay Pilot. Her business, ONWARD, Cardiovascular Heath, Wellness and Dementia Management is located in Camden, Maine. Her education is based in behavioral science, psychology, neuroscience and gerontology studies.  Her interest is working to enhance physical performance and mental health of individuals through her training sessions and articles. Her hobbies are photography and international travel.

For more information, contact Roe at 207 249-8166, or roechiacchio@gmail.com