Fred Turek discusses the importance of getting enough sleep
Those kids sleeping through microeconomics might very well be less susceptible to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Of course, that will only be true if econ lasts eight hours.
Fred Turek’s lecture “Circadian Clocks, Sleep and Energy Balance” on Oct. 5 at Ramaley Biology discussed the importance of the circadian rhythms on physical and mental health. Turek is the Charles and Emma Morrison professor of neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University.
Circadian rhythms are the inherent cycle of approximately 24 hours that control some of the biological processes in people. If the cycle is interrupted, it requires a certain period for it to become readjusted.
Turek said people who have jet lag or work swing shifts experience deprivation of sleep and an alteration to their normal circadian time keeping. This can lead to disease and dysfunction.
“This is a tremendously accurate biological system,” Turek said.
The central biological clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). It is this SCN clock that regulates the endocrine, behavioral, metabolic and seasonal rhythms.
Quinn Rennerfeldt is a sophomore psychology and creative writing major who said she has sleep problems. She only gets about five to six hours of sleep a night.
Turek said most workers who only sleep for about five hours a night may face lead to serious problems. He believes that the incidence of CVD, depression and Alzheimer’s disease is higher among those who have interrupted their natural rhythm to work in those jobs.
Martin Anderson, a first year graduate student in integrative physiology thought Turek’s lecture was fascinating.
“It explained a lot about sleep,” Anderson said. “How when we change our sleep cycles it can affect our health and mortality.”
Obesity is an issue in American society. Turek demonstrated the correlation between the nations sleep patterns and the rise in obesity.
“It is the royal road to obesity,” Turek said, referring to his belief that the reason Henry VII was fat was because he didn’t get enough sleep. “Probably because he had so many wives.”
An audience member asked Turek if too much sleep is a problem as well. He said that both too much and too little are associated with mortality. He believes that sleeping too much is linked to other physiological problems and not so much a disturbance of the circadian clock.
“I appreciate when issues of sleep and circadian rhythms are brought up. It is good to hear,” said Danielle Frey a fifth year graduate student in integrated physiology.