Did you know that 70% of women do not get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night? Might not sound too surprising since women tend to be care takers who are making sure that everything is done and everyone is taken care of before taking care of themselves.
However, lack of sleep and sleep disturbance is connected to a lot of health issues that many women are experiencing today. Such as:
- Hormone Imbalances
- Weight gain
- Immune imbalances
- Decreased in performance and productivity
- Decrease in cognitive ability and memory
So women (and men) are sacrificing sleep in the name of getting more done, when in actuality they are not performing as well and piling on more health issues. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to me!
Sleep is when are body is able to do some critical functions like detoxify, heal, repair, and clear out any damaged cells or waste that has accumulated. These processes are vital for maintaining health and reducing risk of chronic illness such as cancer and even neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. Without adequate sleep, the body is not able to repair and heal itself, so waste and damaged cells accumulate, increasing risk of illness and disease.
In addition, lack of sleep also has a big impact on our endocrine system, mainly our adrenals. When sleep is reduced or when sleep is interrupted, cortisol levels increase – mainly for 2 reasons.
- Cortisol spikes every time we wake up. Therefore, if you wake up multiple times a night, then you are spiking cortisol levels multiple times a night. Cortisol will also spike blood sugar and insulin, both of which are associated with weight gain and disease.
- When the body is deprived a sleep, it goes into a stress response and pumps out cortisol in response. Consistent and prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can lead to HPA-axis dysfunction, chronic disease, leaky gut, and much more.
Hopefully, you are now starting to understand why adequate, quality sleep is so important to maintaining health and an ideal weight.
Here are some actions to take to help with getting a good night’s rest:
- Get plenty of regular exercise and try to complete your workout at least 3 hours before bedtime. Exercise increases the amount of deep sleep you get. Aerobic exercise each day and weight-lifting twice a week is optimum.
- Avoid nicotine (this is only one reason you shouldn’t smoke). Nicotine can lead to fragmented sleep if used close to bedtime.
- Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion prior to sleep.
- Take 1/2 hour before bed to use for relaxing, such as soothing in a warm bath, meditating, reading a book, and/or listening to calming music.
- Avoid products containing caffeine. If you have trouble sleeping, this is very important! Do not consume caffeine after 12pm if you have trouble sleeping.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime as if can interfere with your sleep later in the night.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar. As your sugar level drops during the night, your sleep may be disrupted.
- Establish regular times for bed and for waking. Stick to them 7 days a week.
- Improve the sleep environment, i.e. comfortable mattress and pillows, quiet, dark, comfortable room temperature. Limit screen time an hour before bed.
- Don’t drink liquids before bedtime. Drinking liquids before bed-time could be causing you to wake up because you have to urinate.
- Supplements can also help with sleeping. Ask for recommendations, since there are certain supplements depending on your sleep issue and what else is going on.
Remember, 2 hours of sleep before midnight is worth 4 hours of sleep after midnight. Get to bed early! Nothing good really happens past 10pm anyway!
If you feel that no matter what you do, you still can’t sleep, then please book a complimentary discovery call with me. Poor sleep could also be due to some underlying, hidden stressors. Uncovering what those are just might be the key to unlocking your health potential!