A good night’s sleep: More important than you think!

By Janice Naiken
UK’s Leading Holistic Health Advisor

Sleeping tight has never been more important than it is today! Did you know If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can have a devastating impact on your metabolism causing weight gain, increasing risk of diabetes, and putting you at increased risk of heart disease and stroke?

Research shows that sleep affects your metabolism in several ways:
1. Sleep alters glucose metabolism and sensitivity to insulin
Not getting enough sleep can stimulate circulating cortisol (stress hormone)
This releases glucose into your bloodstream, prompting your pancreas to release more insulin. Your cells can then start becoming resistant to insulin. The excess glucose (both from increased intake and a reduced ability to uptake into the tissues) is now converted to fatty acids and stored as fat. Thus, poor sleep can decrease glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity due to the spikes in blood glucose levels.

2.With elevated cortisol levels, the body also produces less testosterone, leading to a decrease in muscle mass, and your body starts to burn fewer calories. Studies have also shown that elevated cortisol can cause the accumulation of abdominal fat leading to Type 2 Diabetes

3.Poor sleep affects your hormonal and brain health

Due to working habits and lifestyle practices where people have less exposure to daylight and increased exposure to artificial light at night, many people experience dysregulation of their circadian rhythm, not just shift workers. The reason many health experts tell you to avoid artificial light in the evening is because it has a suppressing effect on your melatonin production. In fact, dim room lighting and short-wave light emitted from electronic devices can reduce melatonin production by 88%!

If you’re perimenopausal you may already be low on melatonin so these two operating together is literally a nightmare causing insomnia and increased inflammation.

In addition, inadequate sleep can impair the normal function of your brain’s waste clearance system, called the glymphatic system. This can lead to cognitive decline, irritability, and low mood

4.Poor sleep affects appetite and food habits
Sleep affects two important appetite hormones in your body’s “leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is a hormone that decreases appetite, so when leptin levels are high, you feel fuller. Ghrelin, on the other hand, is known as the hunger hormones because it is responsible for the feeling of hunger.
Research has found that lack of sleep increases ghrelin levels and reduces leptin, making it harder for your body to know when to stop eating and increasing fat retention. A lack of sleep has also been shown to impact food selection and how your brain perceives food, making you more likely to reach for carbohydrate-rich foods and sugar-filled snacks.

5. A lack of sleep affects your gut health
As we’ve just seen, poor gut health (gut dysbiosis) is another underlying factor that can contribute to metabolic dysregulation and weight gain. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced when your gut bacteria ferment fiber in your colon and are the primary source of energy for the cells lining your gut. The three primary SCFAs are butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
SCFAs are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. They regulate fat metabolism by increasing fat burning and decreasing fat storage. They do this by stimulating thermogenesis and increasing metabolic rate.
In addition, SCFA’s in particular, acetate and propionate also activate your satiety hormones. These SCFAs bind to receptors in the gut lining, where they are involved in controlling appetite and in regulating the storage of fat. These receptors also play critical roles in promoting the release of specific gut hormones peptides YY and GLP-1 which regulate your appetite. When these hormones are released by cells in the small intestine, you no longer feel hungry, less inclined to snack, and less likely to gain weight.

So proper sleep keeps you more youthful, trim, toned, more cheerful, alert, less prone to bad eating habits and more energetic and productive, helping you reduce inflammation and pain in the body.

Hands down its’s worth investing in!

How?

1. Use candles or dim lights after sunset- dim red lights are the best option for night lights, as they are less likely to shift circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin. If you like to read before bedtime, save the ebooks for daytime reading and choose a print book.

2. De-stress – worrying about a problem or a long to-do list can be a recipe for insomnia. Well, before you turn in, try prayer and offloading try writing down your concerns in a journal before I advise you to avoid watching the news or reading anything stressful late at night. I love listening to scripture.

2 Have a relaxation routine- before going to bed, try a warm bath followed by a cup of chamomile tea. You can also do some easy and gentle stretches, listen to soft music and do a deep breathing exercise.

3 Avoid caffeine, tobacco alcohol and the contraceptive pill- if you have been struggling to improve your sleep quality, avoid substances that interfere with your natural ability to sleep. Caffeine blocks adenosine, a brain chemical that helps you fall asleep. Alcohol suppresses REM sleep, and drinkers have more frequent awakenings. Finally, nicotine is a potent brain stimulant that keeps you awake.
Both types of contraceptive pill will disrupt hormones and potentially jeopardize sleep in later life.

4.Create a sleep sanctuary – turn your bedroom into a sleep-friendly environment by controlling the noise and keeping the room dark using blackout curtains or blinds. If you can’t block all the light from entering your room, try wearing a sleep mask. Keep the bedroom well ventilated: fresh air soothes the nerves and generally, most people sleep best in a slightly cool room, as a bedroom that’s too hot or too cold may interfere with sleep.

Make sure your sheets are supporting your health. Befitted sheets have permanent antimicrobial fibers which are naturally self-cleaning, eliminate odors, kill bacteria, viruses, and fungus. We only use clinically backed and ISO tested fabrics.

This is good news for the body especially in the context of Covid where our bodies immunity has been threatened and certainly add to your peace of mind as you sleep.

For help with sleep problems contact www.intelligent-healing.com

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