Running around 12-15 hours out of your day, does this erringly ring familiar to you? If your central nervous system is in overdrive all day long due to kids, work, cramming for an exam etc., your circadian rhythm is thrown for a tremendous loop. The Circadian rhythm is found in the brain, your cells are working hard to regulate and function properly. It controls your hunger (ghrelin is the primary hormone) and keeps your body temperature normal. Habits which lead to your sleep being off kilter include excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol before bed , artificial lights that are triggered from electronics can stunt your natural melatonin production.
When you being to lack sleep, we'll say 3-5 hours a night for a couple of days straight: here's what you can expect:
- Impaired Judgement
- Reduced concentration
- Potential increase of depressive states
- Leads you to eat more food (hunger increases) due to increased cravings which come from a lack of energy
- Slower reaction times
- Higher doses of caffeine to once again produce artificial energy
- Insulin resistance is increased. That means you have difficulty extracting sugar out of the bloodstream and into your cells. so your body begins to CRAVE sugar but has difficulty burning the sugar you eat. Therefore you are more than likely exhausted and can lead to becoming a diabetic.
- Leptin (the hormone that signals for you to stop eating) is decreased
- You have a lack of drive to participate in fitness activities
- Cortisol (your stress hormone) increases. Which leads to metabolic dysfunction.
The negative repercussions are plenty and I could add a few more in there as well! You can reverse your fortunes with a few inciteful methods:
De-stressing is a wonderful to get the heck to sleep. Reading a book, meditating, deep breathing, a light walk for 10 minutes around the block
A hot shower before bed-a short 5 to 10 minute shower increases your body temperature for a brief period. Thus when your temp drops, your heart rate, breathing and CNS slow down. Allowing your body to enter a relaxed state.
Pitch black conditions. A couple of hours before bedtime, make things dim. Avoid your computer and all other electronics if possible (which is really just a giant light that you put close to your face) and sit far away from the TV. If you read, use a directed reading light, rather than large lamps or overhead lights that brighten the whole room. Don’t turn on too many lights while getting ready for bed. A dim light in your general vicinity is optimal.
Limit your fluid intake. There is a condition- "Nocturia" which is caused from an overactive bladder. Attempt to slow down the water, juice, milk or whatever you're consuming from a liquid perspective (limit those liquid calories!!) after dinner.
Oatmeal before bed-my favorite remedy!! Oatmeal is high in complex, slow releasing carbohydrates. They release serotonin which is a neurochemical that helps your body become relaxed.
Lastly, for all of you alcohol drinkers. Alcohol reduces your REM sleep stage and can cause you skip the first cycle. This is when you dream and it’s considered the most restorative sleep state. Alcohol consumption leads to missing several REM cycles, which leaves your mind sleep-deprived. The REM cycle restores your brain while deep sleep restores your body. Alcohol CAN put you directly into a deep sleep, it gives off the sensation of having had a restful sleep, but you can wake up mentally exhausted. This is why staying asleep for more than a few hours after drinking can be difficult.
Sleep is pivotal to your body's function and muscle growth. It's a critical piece to your health puzzle that I definitely wouldn't "sleep on."
My name is Jesse Velasquez from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I empower and inspire other's with vision and education to reach their optimal fitness potential. Follow me on Twitter @JCVWellness, Snapchat @JCV24 or Instagram @ JCVWellness.