Snooze Your Way to Good Health

Snooze Your Way to Good Health
May 6, 2015 0 Comments

By Betty Murray

If you are consistently depriving yourself of sleep, the consequences can be far more serious than simply being “sleepy” the next day. Lack of sleep is detrimental to your health and well being.

Why sleep matters for your health

If you want to stay healthy, avoid mental cobwebs, and even lose weight, getting the right amount of sleep is key. Poor sleep habits can negatively impact nearly every aspect of your life. 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).

How much sleep do you need?

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.

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
• Turn of your cell phone
• Take a melatonin supplement
• Eat healthy
• Practice yoga and meditation
• Use sleep-tracking apps

Signs of common sleep disorders

If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, or you wake up feeling like you never slept at all, you may be suffering from a sleep disorder. About 80 million Americans suffer from a sleep disorder, of which there are many different kinds. Here are three of the most common sleep disorders and their symptoms.

Insomnia
Characterized as difficulty going to sleep, waking often in the middle of the night, difficulty going back to sleep, or waking earlier than planned or desired. Symptoms of insomnia include:

• Unrefreshing or non-restorative sleep
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Lack of energy
• Difficulty concentrating
• Mood changes
• Forgetfulness
• Decreased performance at work or school
• Depression
• Trouble in personal and professional relationships

Sleep Apnea
The second most prevalent sleep disorder in America, affecting about 20 million Americans. As many as 80 percent of people with sleep apnea do not know it. Characterized by pauses of breathing during sleep. As a result, the brain partially awakens in order to breathe.  Symptoms include:

• Loud, disruptive snoring
• Frequent breaks in breathing
• Morning headaches
• Restless sleep
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Poor cognitive function
• Cardiovascular problems
• Depression or irritability

Restless Leg Syndrome
Characterized by persistent or overwhelming need to move one’s legs while resting. Symptoms include:

• Creeping, pulling, aching, itching, burning, or throbbing sensations in the legs
• Diminished quality of life
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Memory and/or cognitive impairment
• Depression

You can never really “catch up” on sleep, but an ongoing sleep deficiency raises your risk for health problems and can also affect cognitive skills, decision-making, problem solving, creativity, productivity, and even relationships. Make sleep a priority and use the tips in this article to help you get better sleep each night.

If you experience any symptoms of the above-mentioned sleep disorders, make an appointment with your physician. Sleep apnea can be life threatening, so having a sleep test and getting treatment if necessary is critical. Receiving treatment for other sleep disorders such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome can also improve your overall health and well being.

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.