Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sleep - Luxury or Necessity???

Sleep… is it a luxury?  It is actually a necessity for hormone balance.  Research shows that if you do not get at least 7 hours of sleep a night, you can drastically increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and depression.   Without adequate sleep, you tend to eat more sugary foods & consume more caffeine just to “keep you awake.”  Thus, the excess calories and overworked adrenaline gland (which is a major contributor gland for metabolic hormones!!).
You have five stages of sleep each night.  Research has shown that the deep sleep (dreamless & slow-wave sleep) –which takes place about 4 times a night – may actually help in regulating metabolism.  The 4th stage of slow-wave sleep (can start as little as an hour after you fall asleep), is when you release higher pulses of your hormone that helps the body burn stored fat(Growth Hormone).   The older you get, the less time you spend in this stage!!!  That’s right, less fat burning hormone!
Now what happens to make us want to snack on sugary foods & caffeine when we don’t get enough sleep?  Insufficient sleep will cut the satiety hormone (Leptin) down by 20% while it increases your hunger hormone (Ghrelin) by 30%.  Now that can do some major damage!!  Plus the excess food intake can bring about insulin resistance (eventually leading to more obesity and diabetes!).
So if you want to prevent the whole domino effect from happening, … allow the fat burning hormone to be released, prevent the fat-storage hormone level from increasing, it is essential that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night!
And if you have problems falling asleep at night, there are a few things to do:                         
1) Do NOT exercise late in the evening/night – it stimulates energy & prevents falling asleep.
2) Take Melatonin.  This is a natural hormone that your body produces to relax you and helps in falling asleep.  IF you are under stress OR your adrenaline gland is fatigued, your body might not produce adequate melatonin to help you relax.  You can purchase it over the counter at any drug store.                  
3) Take a hot bath of at least 103 degrees right before bed.  This will aid in loosening muscles and relaxes them.  Put some lavender bath salts in the water OR light a lavender candle to help you relax.  

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