If you’re eating well, exercising, and still not hitting your health goals, lack of sleep may be the culprit. 7-9 hours a night is optimal. As we sleep, our body works to repair muscles, boost our immune system, regulate hormones, and organize our memories. Sleep deprivation hinders our immune system, imbalances our hormones, inhibits memory, impairs cognitive function and causes alterations in metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
1. HGH- human growth hormone is secreted during sleep. HGH is amazing. It stimulates tissue regeneration, muscle building, breakdown of fat stores, and normalization of blood sugar. It’s what fights again. You want more of this. Without sleep, you’re missing out on optimal amounts.
2. Leptin- the hormone that signals the body that it is full. Sleep deprivation causes leptin resistance.
3. Ghrelin-the hormone that signals the body to eat. It increases with sleep deprivation.
4. Melatonin-the hormone secreted during nighttime hours only, works as a powerful antioxidant fighting free radical damage. It inhibits aromatase, the enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. Excess estrogen is associated with higher cancer risk.
5. Insulin- sleep deprivation causes chronically high levels of this hormone. Insulin is vital because it shuttles glucose from the blood to the cells for energy, but high levels lead to weight gain and insulin resistance, causing the cells to lose the signal to burn the sugar for energy.
How to Get Better Sleep:
1. Follow a routine- the body loves routine. Our circadian rhythm follows the earth’s rhythm. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day ideally by 10pm.
2. Balance Blood Sugar throughout the day to avoid low blood sugar at night. This can cause a spike in cortisol that will wake you up.
3. Avoid TV, computers, iPhones, and etc. 1 hour before bed. The electronic waves mess with your melatonin release.
4. Sleep in complete darkness. Take out any TVs or computers from your bedroom. Buy a blackout curtain.
5. Keep your bedroom cool
6. Write down any nagging thoughts to clear the mind.