Bones and Sleep: A Surprising Connection

bones and sleep elderly woman sleeping

The adult human skeleton is made up of 206 bones. These bones move you, protect your organs, and make blood cells. Let's learn a little more about bones and sleep.

Living Bones

Bones are living tissue. They are alive! Collagen inside the bones replenishes itself all the time, so the bones you had eight years ago become entirely new bones. Teeth are considered to be part of the skeleton, too, but they don't contain the collagen that makes bones flexible enough to withstand stress.

Children have growth plates at the ends of the long bones in their arms and legs. Around puberty, these growth plates close, ending the child's growing season. Babies, on the other hand, actually have more bones than adults. As they grow, some bones fuse (especially in the skull), and eventually it becomes 206 bones in the skeleton instead of 300. We certainly have an active skeletal system during youth!

A Few More Facts

Hands and feet contain a lot of bones. The human hand (with the wrist included) has 54 bones, and the human foot has 26 bones.

All the bones connect, or join, together...except one. There is a V-shaped bone called the hyoid at the base of the tongue that does not touch any other bones.

Bones Break and Heal

When a bone breaks, the body starts working on the healing process right away. That healing process is why you need to get the bone set in the right place with a cast or brace. Bones heal themselves by knitting new bone tissue over the break. We certainly have a fantastic body.

Your bones will keep getting denser until you hit about 30 years old. Then, your bone density will naturally begin to decline unless you take measures to maintain it.

Bones need plenty of calcium and Vitamin D to stay strong. They also need regular exercise. When bones become too fragile, you become prone to the most common bone disease: osteoporosis. Thin and brittle bones fracture easily.

The Link Between Bones and Sleep

Your bones not only need calcium, Vitamin D, and exercise; they also need sleep! Research shows chronic sleep deprivation negatively affects bone density. That correlation means people who regularly don't get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from low bone density. Their bones become fragile over time. They are more likely to get osteoporosis. Additionally, their bones don't heal themselves as well as they should.

Research shows sleep deprivation in animals stopped bone growth. There were abnormalities in the bone and marrow, which resulted in thinner, less flexible bone tissue.

The process by which normal bone heals itself and forms new bone tissue is called bone remodeling. When the tested animals did not get a healthy amount of sleep, the bone remodeling stopped or slowed, meaning the bones were not working correctly.

The research goes on to show the same thing that happened in the animals' bones can also happen in a sleep-deprived human's bones. We live in a working culture that keeps people awake, but bones need sleep to be healthy.

Declining Melatonin and Natural Aging: Partners in Crime

There is a good reason osteoporosis usually occurs in older people. Bone density naturally diminishes as we age, even with plenty of sleep.

However, there is another factor keeping older people from getting a good night's rest. It's called melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone which helps regulate our sleeping patterns. As people age, they naturally produce less melatonin. Less melatonin means your body is doing less to help you get to sleep.

The result can be difficulties in falling asleep, various sleep patterns, and easily-disturbed sleep. Low amounts of melatonin and natural aging are the two partners in crime robbing you of your sleep and your bone density.

Maybe you're wondering if there's a mattress to keep you from aging? If there were such a thing, Nest Bedding would be the first to make it affordable for you!

Or maybe you're wondering if Nest Bedding is selling melatonin supplements on the side? Nope. We're not recommending a supplement.

However, we do suggest you naturally get better sleep. When your sleep patterns are healthier, your body produces more melatonin.

What Can You Do to Sleep Better?

Here are some simple, natural steps to help you get on a healthier sleeping track.

  • Strive for at least seven full hours of sleep each night. That might mean going to bed earlier.
  • Darken your room. Light disrupts melatonin production. Try to get your body to equate darkness with sleeping time.
  • Eliminate screen time an hour before you go to bed. That includes phones and computers!
  • Meditate before going to sleep.
  • Exercise regularly during the day.
  • Get some sunlight during the day. The sunlight stops melatonin production, therefore giving that gland a rest. It will be all charged up and ready to produce when it is dark at night.

A Good Sleeping Diet

Some foods have melatonin in them. These foods have plenty of melatonin:

  • mustard seeds
  • alfalfa seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • fennel seeds
  • lemon verbena

These foods offer some melatonin:

  • oats
  • tomatoes
  • corn
  • barley

Enjoying any of these foods will nourish your bones for better sleep.

Want More About the Relationship Between Bones and Sleep?

Check out this humorous blog post about Oscar the Osteoclast. Oscar shows how a natural approach to healthy bones is much better than a medicated approach.

Take a look at this article or this one to learn more about the harmful effects sleep apnea can have on bone growth and repair.

Learn more here about how sleep can heal the body.

At Nest Bedding, we want to help you reach your healthy sleeping goals. The best we can do is provide you with high-quality mattresses to fit your needs. Don't lose those precious healing hours of sleep because your bed is old and uncomfortable! Contact us today to find out which mattress is right for you and your bones.

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