By Betty Murray
If you’re not sleeping well at night, you’re losing more than rest. Lack of sleep affects our reaction to stress, impacts our immunity, leads to inflammation and weight gain and can be a detriment to your overall health. Sleep deprivation truly is a hazard to your health.
How exactly does a lack of sleep affect your health? This >a href=”https://www.healthcentral.com/common/includes/guides/guides/sleep-disorders/SleepDeprived.pdf?1363271416> infographic from HealthCentral.com shows the various ways sleep deprivation affects your body and health.
Lack of sleep…
• leads to depression by causing a decrease in neurotransmitters, which are responsible for regulating mood.
• impairs memory and cognitive function.
• increases anxiety levels by amplifying anticipatory reactions in the brain.
• disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm, leading to poor white blood cell health, weakening immunity.
• increases risk of stroke by affecting cardiovascular health, restricting blood flow to the brain.
• increases production of the hunger hormone ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) and decreases production of leptin (which makes you feel full).
For maximum energy during the day, a healthy body and to keep from gaining weight or storing fat, the average adult should get 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. As a busy adult, good sleep can be hard to come by.
Here are a few tips for getting a solid night of rest:
Make your room dark.
The darker the room at night, the more melatonin the body produces. Melatonin will help you sleep. Even the slightest bit of light from an alarm clock or cell phone can interfere with melatonin production. Even if you have to get up during the night, use “low blue” lights, which do not interfere with melatonin production.
Turn of your cell phone.
In a society that finds it difficult to disconnect from technology, it is not uncommon for individuals to sleep with their cell phones on or near their beds. At the very least, keep these devices at least 3 feet away. Not only can a dim light from your cell phone interrupt your body’s ability to produce melatonin, but a phone call or text message during the night can interrupt sleep cycles, which are crucial to feeling rested and overall wellness. If you use your phone as your alarm, set it so that your alarm will still sound even if your ringer is off.
Take a melatonin supplement.
If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, talk with your doctor about adding melatonin to your daily supplements. Keep in mind that small doses of melatonin may help you achieve a normal and healthy sleep cycle, but long-term use of melatonin can interrupt the integral relationship between melatonin production and the body’s adrenal glands.
Sleep is a crucial component of our overall health and wellness. Make getting a full night of sleep a priority and you’ll not only find you have more energy during the day, but you will also likely notice a reduction in belly fat.
Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.