By: Tamara Weinstein, PT, DPT, MS, CCN
Director of Sales and Continued Education for Health & Nutrition
Sleep is essential for the body to function properly. It allows the body and brain to rest and recover. The way you function, think, and feel overall when you’re awake depends on the quality of sleep you’re getting. It is during the time that you are asleep that your body does its hardest work as it presses the “reset” button and prepares you for a new day.
The hormone Melatonin is one of the best-known hormones related to sleep. Melatonin plays an integral role in signaling and regulating sleep-wake states as it tells your brain when to relax and head to bed. It is naturally produced as light exposure decreases.
Lack of sleep may affect concentration, decision making and mood. Lack of sleep may affect blood sugar and sex drive. If you don’t sleep enough at night, your body boosts its levels of stress hormones. The brain chemicals connected with deep sleep are the same ones that tell the body to stop the production of stress hormones. As a result, when you don’t sleep well, your body keeps pumping out those hormones.
Sleep, along with proper nutrition, plays a critical role in our mental and physical health. Even a few days of impaired sleep, particularly loss of slow-wave sleep, has shown to derange metabolism. While the foods you eat can influence the quality of your sleep, the amount one sleeps can influence your body weight.
Decreased sleep means an increase in hunger hormones. Ghrelin goes up and the counter regulatory hormone Leptin goes down. Since inadequate sleep affects the normal production of Leptin and Ghrelin that helps control appetite and hunger, people may be more likely to increase their food consumption or select high-calorie nutrient deficient foods that create a risk of weight gain. As a result, getting enough sleep may help maintain a healthier body weight and may be beneficial for those trying to lose weight.
What causes the occasional inability to sleep?
- Stress is the #1 cause of sleep problems
- Extreme temperatures
- Jet lag — change in time zones
- Excessive amounts of caffeine
- Smoking cigarettes before bedtime
- Drinking alcohol before bedtime
- Expecting to have difficulty sleeping and worrying about it
- Irregular sleeping habits
- Excessive exercise close to bedtime
As a rule, eat a well-balanced diet of fresh colorful fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and 100% whole grains. Avoid processed foods, refined carbs, sugary foods and trans fats. Make sure that you include the vitamins, minerals and botanicals that may contribute to better sleep. Sleep deficiency takes a toll on body and mind. Eat smarter, exercise, manage stress, sleep better and live a healthier life.
Additional TIPS to improve sleep hygiene:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
- Expose yourself to bright sunlight every morning and throughout the day
- Remove the TV from your bedroom
- Reserve the bed for sleeping and sex
- Limit eating and drinking before bed
- Eliminate the blue light from electronic devices before bed
- Turn the lights and the temperature down
- As difficult as it may be, relax and clear your mind
- Practice relaxation techniques
- Take a Melatonin supplement*
- Start a complete nutritional supplementation program designed to help maintain proper health*
- Supplementation may include nutraMetrix Prime Sleep with Melatonin, nutraMetrix Isotonix® Essentials Turn Down, nutraMetrix Isotonix® Magnesium, and nutraMetrix CannabiQuin*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.