Wellness series blog post 2 of 12, and we are discussing one of my favorite topics: SLEEP!
An adequate amount of quality shut eye is crucial for optimal health and wellbeing. Lacking in zzz’s can lead to negative side effects, such as decreased mental alertness and concentration, increased risk of accidents and injuries, weight gain, decreased mood, suppressed immune function, and increased risk of chronic disease.
Let’s take a look at the less visible consequences of sleep deprivation:
1. Increased Cellular Stress
– In everyday activities, you are exposed to various internal (by-products from cellular processes) and external (toxins, pollutants, and chemicals) stressors. These stressors create tiny free radicals, which sole purpose is to wreck havoc, resulting in cellular damage. While you sleep, your body works to repair this free radical damage throughout the body. Without sleep, the build up of free radicals leads to damage within your cells, and though the effects may go unnoticed for some time… the long-term effects could lead to permanent damage to your health.
2. Decreased Brain Function
– Contrary to popular belief, your brain is in super active mode while you sleep. One vital role of sleep is allowing the brain to create, solidify and consolidate memories from events that day. These bits and pieces of info are processed and transferred from short-term to long-term memory in our sleep (consolidation). In addition to making memories, the brain is also working to clear out dangerous toxins that have accumulated through everyday life. Therefore, without proper sleep, you are preventing your brain from performing important housekeeping tasks that are necessary for optional functioning.
3. Hormonal Imbalances
During waking hours your body releases hormones (cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon) essential for maintaining homeostasis. When you sleep, levels of these hormones drop and your body starts releasing a set of hormones that are involved in growth and repair processes. Without adequate sleep, we are exposed to higher and prolonged levels of daytime hormones which have been shown to have widespread negative effects on the body, including: blood sugar imbalances, increased muscle protein breakdown, elevated blood pressure, lowered immune function, and increased inflammation.
Struggling to maintain a healthy weight? Hormones regulating appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Surprise surprise! Inadequate sleep is associated with reductions in leptin (hormone for appetite suppressant) and elevations in ghrelin (hormone for appetite stimulation). This imbalance results in increased feelings of hunger, and likely overeating.
How can you improve your snooze?
- Try catching a few more hours of sleep each night. (Obviously!) Get ready for bed (and ready to sleep!) 15 minutes earlier every couple days to move your bedtime up.
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends and on vacation. This helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
- Monitor your intake before bedtime. Avoid eating too much or too little, try to reduce the amount you drink before bed, and limit your intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol right before you go to sleep. Both caffeine and nicotine have stimulatory effects and though alcohol may make you sleepy initially, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.
- Make your bedroom more sleep friendly. Reduce noise or create background noise with a fan, and keep your room cool and dark. Turn off your electronics (including your smart phone!). The blue light from electronics stimulates your mind and can suppress melatonin production, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.
- Increase your physical activity. Exercise is associated with better quality sleep., but avoid exercising too close to bedtime as it may leave you too energized to fall asleep.
But let’s get real, making time for eight hours in your day for uninterrupted shut-eye isn’t always possible. So, let’s discuss what you CAN do to reduce the less visible side effects of sleep loss, and keep your body working at an optimal level.
1. Try taking an NRF2-activating supplement, like Protandim, that is formulated to combat cellular stress.
– Protandim repairs damaged cells by activating cellular anti-stress genes and increasing production of internal protective enzymes and proteins.
-Protandim helps the brain recharge. Those powerful protective enzymes and proteins (i.e., SOD, catalase, & glutathione peroxidase) work to clear out toxins in the brain, which may reduce wear and tear on the brain that is linked to impaired learning and memory.
-Protandim supports the adrenal and thyroid glands, two key players in regulating hormonal balance, and helps regulate hormones involved in many functions including: the stress response, energy metabolism, immune function, and blood pressure.
Experience and learn more about Protandim HERE.
2. Try taking an all-natural, multi-dimensional energy product, like Axio, that not only provides a physical boost of energy, but also improves mental clarity.
-Axio is an anti-fatigue, non-stimulant energy drink. Axio works by blocking the activity of a neuromodulator (i.e., adenosine) that makes you feel tired, and stimulating the release of hormones (i.e., adrenaline) that enhance mental alertness and increase energy levels.
-Axio increases the transmission of neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, acetylcholine, & serotonin) involved in the regulation of mood and emotional stability.
-Axio helps boost cellular protection, promotes normal brain and nervous system function, and helps improve learning performance, focus, and mental acuity.
Experience and learn more about Axio HERE.
Thank you for reading! Please email me with specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for next week’s Wellness Series Blog Post… Recovery =)
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Lisk, C. et al. (2013). Nrf2 activation: a potential strategy for the prevention of acute mountain sickness. Free Radic Biol Med 63: 264-273.
McEwen, B.S. (2006). Sleep deprivation as a neurobiologic and physiologic stressor. Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 55(2): S20-S23.
Merck Manuals. (2013). Endocrine function. Retrieved fromhttp://www.merckmanuals.com/home/hormonal_and_metabolic_disorders
NIH. (2014). Brain basics: understanding sleep. Retrieved fromhttp://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/brain_basics/understanding_sleep.htm.
Randall, M. (2011). The physiology of stress: cortisol and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Retrieved fromhttp://dujs.dartmouth.edu/fall-2010/the-physiology-of-stress-cortisol-and-the-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis#.VPfypS5iu28.