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Why Sleep Is As Important As Diet

We’re all aware that a balanced diet and regular exercise are critical components of optimal health. We also believe that sleep is beneficial to our health, yet it is sometimes overlooked in our wellness routine. 

Are you too busy to sleep? Although some people consider sleep a luxury rather than a need, studies suggest that you may struggle to stay healthy without enough sleep even if you eat and exercise. Consider the following statistic: 1 in 3 Americans is sleep-deprived. Compared to the 35% of Americans categorized as obese, the sleep-weight relationship becomes rather obvious.

That’s a scary statistic, right? Don’t be a part of that statistic and learn how important sleep is to your body. Let’s take a look at what sleep does to you in this article.

Why Is Sleep So Important?

Sleep is an important activity that refuels your body and mind. When you have a good night’s sleep, you’ll be up and ready to face the day. Additionally, enough sleep helps the body maintain its balance and ward off sickness.

Moreover, the brain cannot operate normally without adequate sleep. This may hinder your concentration, clarity of thought, and memory processing. 

Let’s check out more reasons why everyone needs to have enough sleep.

Helps Brain Function

Did you know that even a single night of sleep deprivation may have a detrimental effect on the brain? Researchers studied people’s betting choices after a restful night’s sleep and following a restless night. They observed that individuals deprived of sleep took riskier choices and gambled big sums regardless of the possibility of loss.

For years, casino operators were aware of this. The bright lights, loud music, and absence of windows at casinos are all meant to distract people from time flow. This setup keeps people at the tables long after they should be in bed, making worse kinds of decisions possible. If you frequent a casino, you might have noticed this. 

Fun fact about our brain: it has its drainage system called the glymphatic system. It’s a brain cleaning and mending mechanism. It’s triggered at night when we sleep, which means that if we’re not sleeping enough, we are not cleaning away brain waste. So, we’ll wake up with a brain full of sludge and waste products.

Moreover, lack of sleep impairs the brain’s ability to eliminate waste associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is why good sleep and Glymphatic clearance are essential in preventing the disease. 

Keeps Emotions In Check

During sleep, your brain is busy making preparations for the following day. It’s creating new neural connections that will aid our ability to recall and learn. It helps you focus, make decisions, and develop new ideas. To put it another way, if we don’t get adequate sleep the night before, we’ll have a difficult time making choices and dealing with change.

Are you irritable or agitated when you lack sleep? Believe it or not, a night of sleep deprivation can make us irritable. More so, constant sleep deprivation may result in long-term mood issues. Hence, sleep deprivation has been linked to sadness, anxiety, and mental anguish.

According to research, individuals who suffer from anxiety or depression are more likely to have experienced poorer sleep quality than those who do not. Other studies have shown that those who suffer from sleeping problems such as insomnia have a greater prevalence of depression than those who sleep better.

At the end of the day, lack of sleep may cause unpleasant mood swings. These mood changes have the potential to disrupt practically every aspect of your life, especially your social relationship. And, we don’t want these to happen.

Reduces Risk of Diseases

If you continue to function without adequate sleep, you risk developing more significant health concerns. Sleep deprivation is associated with cardiovascular illness, renal disease, and hypertension. Recent research discovered that even little sleep deprivation was related to a significantly higher risk of artery hardening, which is linked to heart attacks.

Sleep deprivation is also associated with elevated levels of inflammation. This may significantly raise the chance of getting cardiovascular disease, depression, and dementia over time.

Throughout sleep, the number of particular T-cells and other immune cells increases significantly. Hence, lack of sleep may impair the immune system’s response to infections and other illnesses. As a result, if you don’t get much sleep, you are more prone to illness.

Keeps Weight Under Control

Sleep loss raises ghrelin levels and lowers leptin levels. Sounds like those tiny mischievous creatures, right? Hormones ghrelin and leptin are responsible for your hunger and fullness, respectively. This may increase your appetite and drive you to overeat.

Numerous studies have found people who are deprived of sleep have an increased appetite and consume more calories. Additionally, to make up for a deficiency of energy, poor sleep may cause you to crave meals heavy in fats and sugars, owing to their greater caloric value.

If that wasn’t bad enough, lack of sleep might leave you feeling sluggish and uninspired to engage in any physical exercise. Hence, making sleep a top priority may help you maintain a healthy weight.

How Much Sleep Should You Be Getting?

Your age is a major factor in determining how much sleep you need. The average adult requires about seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Kids and teens require significantly more sleep, especially those under five.

It’s alright if you skip a full night of sleep from time to time. However, if it becomes a recurring issue, it is a concern. Eventually, your body’s capacity to operate normally will deteriorate. Sleep deprivation may be caused by working arrangements, daily stressors, a disturbed bedroom atmosphere, and medical issues.

Ways To Improve Your Sleep

Okay, so we all know that getting enough sleep is beneficial to one’s health. However, being able to get adequate sleep during hectic days is not always simple. Fortunately, it is possible, particularly if you have a strategy in place.

Improve Your Sleep Environment

One major factor in your sleep quality is your sleep environment. It’s important that your bedroom is dark. Keep in mind that your primitive brain determines the time of day and night solely based on the amount of light. Your brain is tricked into thinking it’s daylight because of the light it process.

Also, make sure your room is kept at a comfortable temperature. Your body temperature drops when you sleep, so you’ll be more comfortable if the environment isn’t too hot or chilly. It will tell you it’s time to go to sleep and help you produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

A good night’s rest may be achieved by sticking to a healthy sleep routine or “sleep hygiene.” Good sleep is a matter of taking charge of your daily sleep regimen. Be consistent with your sleep pattern so your body can fall into a routine and function properly.

Consistent sleep schedule. A good sleep routine entails sleeping and getting up at about the same time each day, even on weekends. This will assist in regulating your body’s natural sleep schedule (referred to as the circadian rhythm) and making falling asleep easier.

Relaxing bedtime routine. You can also establish a relaxing evening routine around 30-60 minutes before bedtime. When you are relaxed, it is much simpler to drift asleep peacefully. Creating a sleep-inducing nighttime routine might include meditating, listening to soothing music, and performing relaxation exercises.

Keep your gadgets away. Tablets, mobile phones, and computers may keep your mind occupied, making it difficult to unwind completely. Additionally, the light from these gadgets might reduce your natural melatonin synthesis. These devices stimulate your brain to think and be active, making it harder to fall asleep. So, try to unplug for at least 30 minutes before sleeping.

Consume Food And Drinks Wisely

What you consume throughout the day affects your sleep. After lunch, you must begin thinking about your sleep. Sleep is affected by every food and drinks you consume after that moment.

Caffeine. Let’s admit it, coffee is the one constant in our lives. Caffeine, as you may well know, is a stimulant. However, you may be unaware that the effects of caffeine consumption may last for hours after you experience the first rush. Caffeine may remain in your body for up to 12 hours, so it’s necessary to avoid caffeinated food and beverages (even chocolate) at night.

And while we’re on the subject of stimulants, keep in mind that it’s not only coffee, soda, or sugary foods that might interfere with sleep. Keep an eye on your medicines, particularly decongestants.

Last meal before bed. Excessive eating might disrupt proper sleep. The digestion process, which may take many hours after a full meal, requires the body to expend energy. However, digestion often slows during sleep, conflicting with the body’s digestion processes. This may be the reason why studies show that eating right before bedtime causes more sleep interruptions.

Fluid intake. Consuming an excessive amount of fluids before bedtime might have a detrimental effect on the length and quality of sleep. When individuals consume excessive fluids, they may wake up multiple times throughout the night to pee. So, limit your fluid intake before going to bed.

Alcohol. Many individuals believe that alcohol aids in sleep since it leaves them sleepy. Though initially sedating, it has a jarring impact on sleep and should be avoided if possible. The implications are manifested by increased sleep fragmentation and frequent awakening. These effects result from the alcohol being metabolized throughout the latter half of the night.

Bottom Line

Along with healthy eating and exercise, sleep is a critical component of health. Moreover, sleep deprivation has been linked to various severe health consequences, such as heart disease, depression, obesity, and inflammation.

Do you need some shut-eye? Take some time to wind down before going to sleep, maybe by meditating. Watch out for your electronics keeping you up at night as well! Those messages and notifications will all be there when you wake up the next day.

If you’re having trouble sleeping and don’t know where to turn, reach out to us. With our Knew method, we can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hi! I’m Dr. E, The NP with a PHD. Several years ago, my wife was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and the only options given to us were heavy duty medications.

We KNEW there had to be a better way. After a long search, we discovered functional medicine.

With functional medicine we found alternative ways we were able to manage her disease and get her back to feeling like her old self.

We discovered that this way of life not only helps people with various issues, including autoimmune, chronic issues and “I-don’t-feel-good-itis.”

Functional medicine drastically changed our lives and using it I developed The KNEW Method to help others who are suffering or not feeling optimal.

Let’s work together to get you to feeling like your old self again.

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If you are suffering from one (or more) of these issues – chronic pain, high blood pressure, mental fog, fatigue, low energy, poor sleep, lack of focus, loss of libido, aches, pains, or general “I-don’t-feel-good-itis”… YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE