Sleeping your way to better health

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So before I jump in, what we can do to increase our sleep and control how much we can get, first I want to show you a list of impacting factors that will hopefully make you realise just how serious sleep is and why it’s literally killing you everyday when not getting enough of it.

ImageHandlerBelow you’ll see the effects of lack of sleep can have from studies recorded and this projected outcomes in the book “Why We Sleep” by Matt Walker and no I have no relation, although it would be great to pick his brain!

Sleep loss inflicts such devastating effects on the brain, linking it to numerous neurological and psychiatric conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, stroke, and chronic pain), and on every physiological system in the body, further contributing to countless disorders and disease (e.g., cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, infertility, weight gain, obesity, and immune deficiency).  No facet of the human body is spared the crippling, noxious harm of sleep loss

Sleep Deprivation and the Body

Widening the lens of focus, there are more than twenty large-scale epidemiological studies that have tracked millions of people over many decades, all of which report the same clear relationship: the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. The leading causes of disease and death in developed nations—diseases that are crippling health-care systems, such as heart disease, obesity, dementia, diabetes, and cancer—all have recognized causal links to a lack of sleep.

Sleep Loss and the Cardiovascular System

heartIn the Northern Hemisphere, the switch to daylight savings time in March results in most people losing an hour of sleep opportunity.  Should you tabulate millions of daily hospital records, as researchers have done, you discover that this seemingly trivial sleep reduction comes with a frightening spike in heart attacks the following day. Impressively, it works both ways. In the autumn within the Northern Hemisphere, when the clocks move forward and we gain an hour of sleep opportunity time, rates of heart attacks plummet the day after. A similar rise-and-fall relationship can be seen with the number of traffic accidents, proving that the brain, by way of attention lapses and microsleeps, is just as sensitive as the heart to very small perturbations of sleep.

Weight Gain and Obesity

The upshot of all this work can be summarized as follows: short sleep (of the type that many adults in first-world countries commonly and routinely report) will increase hunger and appetite, compromise impulse control within the brain, increase food consumption (especially of high-calorie foods), decrease feelings of food satisfaction after eating, and prevent effective weight loss when dieting.

Sleep Loss and the Reproductive System

Take a group of lean, healthy young males in their mid-twenties and limit them to five hours of sleep for one week, as a research group did at the University of Chicago.

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Sample the hormone levels circulating in the blood of these tired participants and you will find a marked drop in testosterone relative to their own baseline levels of testosterone when fully rested. The size of the hormonal blunting effect is so large that it effectively ages a man by ten to fifteen years in terms of testosterone virility.

Sleep Loss and the Immune System

Sleep deprivation vastly increases your likelihood of infection, and reduces your response to flu vaccine.

As you can see from the outcomes of studies above this can be so important to not compromise your sleep as it will take you out by the ankles as you are trying to escape the effects of lack of sleep instead of just making a plan to get more sleep for the long run.

It can be pretty confronting but once we all see the effects of these things we can start to work towards fixing the issues before its too late.

So we now understand the effects and see that just by getting enought sleep (8 hours) that we can start to really reap the benefits for our mental and physical health just by fixing a small part of the puzzle most neglect.

So how do you get sleep? and whats stopping you?

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I have dropped below the reasons behind lack of sleep from the referenced studies below:

What’s Stopping You from Sleeping?Beyond longer commute times and sleep procrastination caused by late-evening television and digital entertainment—both of which are not unimportant in their top-and-tail snipping of our sleep time and that of our children—five key factors have powerfully changed how much and how well we sleep:

(1) Constant electric light as well as LED light
(2) Regularized temperature
(3) Caffeine
(4) Alcohol

  • Compared to reading a printed book, reading on an iPad suppressed melatonin release by over 50 percent at night. Indeed, iPad reading delayed the rise of melatonin by up to three hours, relative to the natural rise in these same individuals when reading a printed book.
  • Due to its omnipresence, solutions for limiting exposure to artificial evening light are challenging. A good start is to create lowered, dim light in the rooms where you spend your evening hours. Avoid powerful overhead lights. Mood lighting is the order of the night. Some committed individuals will even wear yellow-tinted glasses indoors in the afternoon and evening to help filter out the most harmful blue light that suppresses melatonin.
  • Maintaining complete darkness throughout the night is equally critical, the easiest fix for which comes from blackout curtains. Finally, you can install software on your computers, phones, and tablet devices that gradually de-saturate the harmful blue LED light as evening progresses.
  • Turning Down the Nightcap – Alcohol
  • Yet this is not the worst of it when considering the effects of the evening nightcap on your slumber. More than its artificial sedating influence, alcohol dismantles an individual’s sleep in an additional two ways.
  • First, alcohol fragments sleep, littering the night with brief awakenings. Alcohol-infused sleep is therefore not continuous and, as a result, not restorative. Unfortunately, most of these nighttime awakenings go unnoticed by the sleeper since they don’t remember them
  • Second, alcohol is one of the most powerful suppressors of REM sleep that we know of.
  • Glib advice aside, what is the recommendation when it comes to sleep and alcohol? It is hard not to sound puritanical, but the evidence is so strong regarding alcohol’s harmful effects on sleep that to do otherwise would be doing you, and the science, a disservice. Many people enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, even an aperitif thereafter. But it takes your liver and kidneys many hours to degrade and excrete that alcohol, even if you are an individual with fast-acting enzymes for ethanol decomposition. Nightly alcohol will disrupt your sleep, and the annoying advice of abstinence is the best, and most honest, I can offer.
  • Get the Nighttime Chills
  • Thermal environment, specifically the proximal temperature around your body and brain, is perhaps the most underappreciated factor determining the ease with which you will fall asleep tonight, and the quality of sleep you will obtain. Ambient room temperature, bedding, and nightclothes dictate the thermal envelope that wraps around your body at night.
  • A bedroom temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3°C) is ideal for the sleep of most people, assuming standard bedding and clothing.
  • Knowingly or not, you have probably used this proven temperature manipulation to help your own sleep. A luxury for many is to draw a hot bath in the evening and soak the body before bedtime. We feel it helps us fall asleep more quickly, which it can, but for the opposite reason most people imagine. You do not fall asleep faster because you are toasty and warm to the core. Instead, the hot bath invites blood to the surface of your skin, giving you that flushed appearance. When you get out of the bath, those dilated blood vessels on the surface quickly help radiate out inner heat, and your core body temperature plummets. Consequently, you fall asleep more quickly because your core is colder. Hot baths prior to bed can also induce 10 to 15 percent more deep NREM sleep in healthy adults.So the factors above give you a brief overview of what affects you and how to overcome some of the issues at hand and im sure by now your want to just know a simple routine to go through at night to get you to sleep right? I thought so and well lets keep this basic and simple and just remember only you can do this routine and if you don’t than understand that you only have yourself to blame…

Night Routine:

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1. 3 Hours before sleep shut off all technology (phones, tv, ipads)

2. 2 hours before have your last meal (your body needs time to use the energy you feed it so if you have a meal before bed your sleep will be effected)

3. Have a hot bath or shower to help reduce core temperature to fall asleep quicker.

4. Keep your room at 18.3’C if possible to help yourself ease into restful state

5. 1 hour before bed no big lights, a side bed light is best as you want to reduce the unnatural light as this effect your sleep pattern having so much unnatural light.

6. Read a real book in bed to help wind down your brain and body before you set off to sleep, a personal development book is best as this helps you focus on your own personal growth journey to being better and feeding your mind life changing information.

7. Watch the sun rise or leave your windows open to be awoken by the sun as this helps repattern your sleeping habits and watch the sun set as this creates a pattern of your body knowing that its time for bed soon and when to wake up.

8. Start following a set schedule for sleep go to bed the same time everyday including weekends and wake up the same time. Creating a pattern is important for your bodies circadian rhythm which regulates the sleep cycle in the body (without this pattern functioning properly we won’t get proper sleep)

9. Expend more energy through out the day to exhaust yourself for a easier sleep at night, also be sure to eat correctly to support this energy expenditure correctly.

10. Drink at least 2-4 liters of water a day depending on your body type and size it may differ, being hydrated will help your body function properly and help you get to sleep when its time to jump into bed.

This will completely change how you think and feel and give you a boost of progress towards achieving your results


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chriswalkerpt14@thenextrushmagazine.com

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