All those things your Mom told you about getting more rest when you’re sick? They’re all true, and backed by solid, extensive medical research.
Sleep is an essential component of homeostasis, the body’s ability to maintain itself. If we are deprived of sleep, many of the body’s systems are compromised, including the immune system.
If we don’t get enough sleep, we are more likely to get sick; and if we don’t get enough sleep and are already sick, it will take us longer get better.
While this is true for the general population, it has special significance for diabetics. Diabetics
are prone to nonhealing wounds, particularly foot ulcers. And foot ulcers in a diabetic can be
quite serious: According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 14 to 24% of diabetics
with a foot ulcer end up needing a lower limb amputation. For this reason, diabetics should do everything possible to prevent foot ulcers — and if they do get one, they should take all possible measures to ensure the wound heals as quickly as possible.
A recent study, published in the medical journal Sleep, quantified the degree to which sleep affects the healing of wounds in diabetics.
At least, in diabetic mice…
The research involved two sets of mice, both of which were obese and diabetic. Both sets had small wounds. The mice who had normal sleeping patterns needed approximately 10 days to achieve 50% healing of their wounds. The diabetic mice whose sleep was interrupted needed
13 days to achieve the same level of healing, a 30% increase.
By comparison, mice of normal weight, without diabetes, have 50% wound healing in just 6 days, and complete healing in 14.
Clearly, being obese and having diabetes impairs the immune system. But what this study showed was that having interrupted sleep made healing even more difficult for the obese, diabetic mice.
Interrupted sleep is a common feature in the elderly, especially in those with Alzheimer’s. At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, part of the way we keep our residents healthy and happy is by ensuring proper sleep hygiene.
Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.