Written by Dr. Alan Christianson NMD
What's the big deal about not getting enough sleep? What can a few missed hours really do to you? Something you might not have considered is this; the more sleep you loose, the more weight you gain! Lack of sleep can cause you to gain up to 10 pounds of fat per year, for each hour you miss per night on a regular basis.
Data has shown a link between ghrelin levels, a hormone of appetite, and sleep quality. So, if you get 5 hours of the required 7+ per night, that's 20 pounds of weight gain per year you have to work harder at keeping off. Lack of sleep not only increases your appetite, but you'll also be at higher risk for depression, heart disease and premature memory losses.
As a culture we really take sleep for granted. Did you know that before electric light the average American slept nine and a half hours per night? During the past few decades that average has gone down to just 6 1/2 - 7 hours per night. Your body needs 7 1/2 - 9 hours of sleep per night.
You can sleep poorly due to medical issues like sleep apnea, anxiety or hypoglycemia. But medical issues aside, a good night's sleep can be as simple as reading before bed instead of watching TV. Now if only there were a recipe for sleep.....
Wait there is!
Dr. C's Favorite Sleep Recipe:
1.Wake early, get some intense exercise in direct sunlight. Early daytime sunlight is important for night time sleep.
2.Eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar steady. If you're missing meals or eating sugary junk all day your blood sugar will crash at night and you'll wake up at 3 AM with your mind racing.
3.Try zero caffeine for a few weeks. I promise you won't die, but you might get a headache for a few days. Just don't take Excedrin for it because it also has caffeine. And remember, it takes 36 hours to leave your body. If you don't sleep well, even a little caffeine in the AM can be the culprit.
4.Turn off the computer and TV for the night.
5.Now relax in a bath or shower about 8 PM. This will help to relax your body and slow your brain waves.
6.Lower your home's thermostat to 72-74 degrees by 9 PM.
7.Sip on chamomile tea and take 150-250 mg of magnesium.
8.Take 5-10 minutes to jot down all those things you need to remember for tomorrow.
9.Dim or turn off your lights. Turn on a single reading lamp and read some light fiction, inspirational stories or spiritual literature. No current events.
10.Lights out! For real, make it as dark as you can in the room you sleep in. This is important.
Still need some help?
Try this Easy Relaxation Technique. One of the simplest is called Barons Mini-Miracle Meditations. It’s only a $1.99 download onto your cell phone and takes only 6 minutes to a restful night’s sleep. Try it, it’s awesome. Download it at: www.baronsminimeds.com and select.
Things that don't work: pills, alcohol, or spending time in front of a television or computer screen. Pills can be helpful short term yet very few actually encourage more quality sleep and many are habit forming. Alcohol will also knock you out but will give you less quality sleep. Television and computer screens refresh at rates of 30-100 Hz. This speedy flash is too fast to see, but your brain tries to mimic it. This keeps your mind too engaged to easily fall asleep.
Still can't sleep? There are people you can talk to when you're up. Sorry not me. But National Sleep Foundation has an insomnia hot-line! Between now and September 15th call 1-888-846-3475 for helpful advice free and in person.
So keep your body leaner, and your mind sharper by getting some extra shut-eye on a regular basis. (Yawn)
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