What happens when we sleep? Well, all organs rest and recover – tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis primarily occur during sleep. Hormones are released and help to regulate appetite control, stress, growth, metabolism, and other bodily functions. Memory consolidation occurs, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, which is essential for learning new information.
SO LET’S GO TO SLEEP!
The BENEFITS of sleeping well?
- Increased energy to make beneficial lifestyle choices
(cooking, exercise, self-care, etc.)
- Strengthened immune system
- Heightened alertness, focus, and creativity
- Improved mood (reduced anxiety, irritability, and mental exhaustion)
- Increased libido
And the dreaded EFFECTS of sleep deprivation :
YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO GAIN WEIGHT: Leptin, your satiety hormone, is significantly reduced when you are sleep deprived. Since leptin plays an important role in appetite control and metabolism, having low levels of this hormone results in hunger not being naturally suppressed. Therefore, your appetite and cravings increase.
YOU ARE AT A HIGHER RISK FOR ILLNESS: Without a good night’s sleep, your body is more susceptible to stress. The immune system does not function optimally, and inflammatory proteins and blood sugar levels rise in response to lower levels of insulin being released throughout the night. All of these negative effects on the body contribute to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, Cancer, heart disease, stroke, and infection.
YOUR RISK OF INJURY INCREASES: When you are exhausted, both physically and mentally, there is an increased risk of injury, errors, and accidents. This tired state of mind may lead to accidents in the kitchen, or on the road.
YOUR BRAIN DOES NOT FUNCTION OPTIMALLY: There are measurable changes in brain activity that occur after a period of sleep deprivation. When you do not get a sufficient amount of sleep your mental performance suffers, impairing your ability to process new information and memories and impacting your overall mood, focus, and high-level cognitive function.
YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO STRUGGLE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS: Without sufficient rest, you may have trouble keeping your emotions in check. Increased feelings of irritability, anxiety, sadness, and anger are common. You may even find that you are more vulnerable to laughing or crying regardless of what you are experiencing.
YOU DREAM LESS: According to Dr Rubin Naiman, the first one third of the night is deep sleep and next 2/3 is dreaming. Dreaming is as critical as sleeping. When we sleep less we are actually reducing the number of hours we dream. The brain digests and assimilates information when we dream. Short sleep duration is associated with increased risks for metabolic disruption including impaired glucose tolerance, impaired insulin resistance,increased ghrelin (hunger hormone), decreased leptin,(the hormone that signals the brain that you are full) and increased BMI.
DETERRENTS to sleep:
- Alcohol can initially make you fall asleep but later wake you up and prevent a full sleep.
- Gluten sensitivity can also interfere with your sleep. If you have gluten sensitivity, that can keep you tired and that can prevent you from being active during the day and affect your sleep at night.
- Caffeine can interfere with your sleep. Even if you are one of those who can drink coffee and fall asleep.
But then how can you sleep better?
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
- Reduce intake of caffeine.
- Try to reduce the carbs in your diet
- Turn off all electronic devices such as i-pads, computers etc
- Don’t go to bed on a full or an empty stomach
- Engage in regular exercise
- Limit liquid consumption
- Have a peaceful comfortable bedroom which is quiet and dark
- Try and go to sleep and wake up using your internal clock
- Do a hot water towel scrub. Deeply relaxes you at night
- Be grateful for all that you have done and achieved during that day rather than beating yourself down for all that you have not achieved.
And for me deep breathing just before sleeping works. Share your comments with me on the number of hours of sleep you need and what you need to do ensure you get good quality of sleep . Come on, lets fall in love with our sleep!
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Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
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