One of the biggest surprises in our clinic was the epidemic of sleeplessness. Many people struggle to get to sleep, stay asleep and then wake refreshed. Stress, age, diet and blood sugar imbalances can impact this issue, but simple actions can change it in a short period of time.
People who get less than 7 hours of sleep/ night are 300% more likely to catch colds (JAMA study). Sleep boosts your immunity and lack of sleep lowers it. Your body will get rest one way or the other!
People who get good rest (uninterrupted 7-9 hours) have, on average, a smaller BMI (height/weight ratio) than people who don’t get good sleep. Too little sleep impacts the hormones that regulate appetite and thus weight, especially in the mid-section.
Blood Pressure & Diabetes
Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of stress hormones that can increase blood pressure and affect glucose metabolism. Research has shown that people who sleep less than 5 hours/night are 500% more likely to have elevated blood pressure than those who get more than 6 hours/night. The same people getting 5 hours/night of sleep are 300% more likely to have diabetes. Clearly sleep is important!
- Go to bed earlier – – the hours before midnight are twice as valuable as the hours after midnight.
- Have an evening routine. Children who have ‘bedtime routines’ sleep better and so do adults. Begin to relax an hour before your bedtime to let your body know it is time to sleep.
- Consider a protein shake before bed. I often had my clients take a shake in the evening. This can help balance blood sugar which can allow the body to sleep uninterrupted (check out my recommendations for shakes at www.lifestyleforhealth.com)
- Avoid sugar after 4:00 p.m. Sugar often impacts body temperature (i.e., hot flashes) which can disrupt sleep.
- R&R Pose. Lie on the floor with your feet elevated on a chair or footstool, arms at your side. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and just relax with no stimulation (no reading, talking, music, TV, etc). Lying in that position for 15 minutes is equivalent to 4 hours of rest. Don’t do it twice and think you can skip sleeping! This is designed to help you catch up on rest!