Sleep- It's more Important then you think
Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night weakens your immune system and doubles your risk of cancer. Insufficient sleep is a key lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s disease. Inadequate sleep disrupts blood sugar increasing the risk of pre-diabetes. Short sleep increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path towards cardiovascular disease, stroke and congestive heart failure. Do I have your attention?
When you sleep, you regenerate, you stay young. You are able to subconsciously process emotional turmoil. Proper sleep resets all of your body mechanisms including your appetite.
In today’s society there seems to be worth on exhaustion. Working yourself to the point of break is viewed as a badge of honour. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. A turn of phrase that makes me cringe. When your sleep deprived, not only are you being unhealthy, you’re just not present for your life. You become irritable, no longer living in relaxed state. You feel that every day you are pushing yourself to the limit. Not sleeping generally means that you’re foggy or irritable. You’ll crave more sugar (your body is looking for something to keep you awake). Maybe you’ll come to rely on caffeine- its acidic and it slams your adrenal glands. Being sleepy takes you out of flow state of being. Work hard and play hard leaves little time to sleep. You hear conversations of what was accomplished over the weekend, or bragging about working long hours. But maybe we should be bragging about how well we were able to relax. Or how we managed to get 8 good hours of sleep in every single night. Not just while on holiday or on weekends – but finding a balance- figuring out a way to maintain a regular sleep pattern.
If you have problems getting to sleep at a good hour, or staying asleep for a full night I might be able to help:
Magnesium – deficiency in this mineral leads to poor heart health, muscle cramps, tremors, nausea, high BP and respiratory illness. It’s a good mineral to supplement with, always. In addition to all of the health benefits (helping organs function properly) it might be your answer to a better nights sleep. It also assists with bowel movements the next day! Questions on your dosage? Give me a call, I am happy to help with this.
GABA – An inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal excitability. In plain speak, this stuff creates a natural state of calm. It reduces feelings of anxiety. As an added bonus it also reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Melatonin – Not for everyone. I’ve heard reports of this causing some vivid dreams, even nightmares. I’ve heard others that say it does nothing. But – I have also heard that it is the absolute answer to any sleep disturbances that you maybe living with. It is a hormone that directs your body’s sleep/wake cycles and missing out on too much sleep causes these levels to drop. Supplementing with melatonin carries several other health benefits as well.
Castor oil mask – Shown to be effective at improving quality of sleep and naturally increase melatonin levels.
Breath – three count in, hold for two count, four count out to calm vagus nerve. This breath helps to promote the parasympathetic (rest and digest system) nerve system, which is where you want to be for a good nights rest. Your heart rate slows as well as intestinal and gland activity. Many functions begin to relax.
Cat – Cows – a gentle well known yoga flow. Employ deep inhales and exhales throughout the movements for 2 to 5 minutes. Relaxes the spine (in turn the nerves) releases the hips and while we concentrate on the breath, the mind will quiet. Not sure how to preform Cat/Cows? Call me, I am happy to pass on a detailed email to assist.
How much is enough? Well, the science says Children 6-13 need 9-11 hours. Teens need 14-15 need 8-10 hours for optimal heath. How much do adults need? Science says 7-9 hours. Which is a gap! It’s the difference between going to bed at 10pm or midnight if you get up at 7am through the week. So check yourself. If you’re being honest, maybe you’re yawning at 3pm despite having a day of excellent nutrition. Maybe you feel like if you don’t have that second coffee you’ll never make it through the day, or you’ll be in a fog. Frankly, you shouldn’t need coffee at all. So if you feel like you NEED a second one, you’re not getting enough sleep. Check your nutrition if 9 hours of dream-time isn’t cutting it.
We all need to work. Many need to rush their children to and from places, then make lunches, clean up and do it all over again the next day. But what are you sacrificing in the name of getting everything accomplished that you feel the need to accomplish. How long can you sustain without proper sleep before your body rebels?
As you sleep your body cleanses and repairs itself. You get the opportunity to recharge yourself for the next day. If you aren’t sleeping 7-9 hours a night then you are putting stress on your body, leaving yourself unable to renew. You can’t pour from an empty cup. The key is always in finding balance.
Dana Smith DO(MP)