Is Your Sleep Killing You?
Your sleep matters- but this probably isn’t new information to you. We’ve known this for decades; when you sleep better, you do better. But are you aware of the myriad of things that are impacted by poor quality sleep? At Genesis Performance, we interviewed Dr. Kathleen Carson to learn more about the innumerable benefits of quality sleep patterns. Below are some of the repercussions of poor sleep, as well as some tips for improving your sleep health!
Immunity and Disease
Routinely sleeping less than seven hours a night impacts your immune system in more ways than you realize. While its immediate results sometimes show themselves through a runny nose or an irritating cough, the consistent thrashing of your immune system greatly increases your chances of being diagnosed with various cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. Poor sleep also disrupts blood sugar levels so profoundly that it expedites your chances of being diagnosed with diabetes. In addition, a lack of sleep increases the likelihood of your coronary arteries becoming blocked and brittle, setting you on a path towards cardiovascular disease, stroke, and congestive heart failure. Sleep disruption further contributes to all major psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and suicidality.
In addition, sleep impacts your hormone levels, which impact your body’s ability to determine if it is actually hungry. There are two hormones that control appetite: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin signals a sense of feeling full, while ghrelin triggers strong sensations of hunger. The intense rise of hunger pangs and increased appetite occur by just the second day of sleep deficit. This is because exhaustion signals increase release of ghrelin, while decreasing leptin. Individuals who suffer from poor sleep quality will consume, on average, 300 more calories daily than those who do get enough sleep.
Of course, it’s important to prioritize sleep so that your body and mind can function optimally. People who sleep well will be more productive because all of their cylinders are firing. In addition, they’re going to have more energy and present themselves with more vitality. Energy impacts personal relationships as well as business relationships. With enough quality sleep, you can be more effective in sales, which translates to landing your next client or sealing your next big deal. Despite these realities, some people brag about getting 5 hours of sleep. They might say, “I’m fine. My body has adjusted.” While they think that they can bring their A-game after just 5 to 6 hours of sleep, it will eventually take its toll on their health. During the day, those individuals’ bodies are taking resources that they need to be productive to counteract the lack of sleep. Remember, when you sleep, the body is performing thousands of functions to repair, restore, and revitalize at the cellular level. If you shortchange the amount of time you allow your body to do that, you’re shortchanging your overall longevity and vitality.
Cultivating Good Sleep Habits
At Genesis Performance, we equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to achieve your health goals. As it relates to improving sleep quality, below are four of our favorites. Follow the Four Sleep Preparation Steps below in order to have your best night of sleep tonight!
- Stop eating 2-3 hours before turndown time. Giving your digestive system time to prepare for sleep ensures a higher quality of sleep. Food gives you energy, so when you eat, you are stimulating your body’s energy systems. Of course, you don’t want to do this when you’re asking your body to calm down. Additionally, when you go to sleep, you don’t want your body focusing on digestion; you want your body to devote all of its resources to recovery, restoring & repairing the body.
- Shut down electronics at least 60 minutes before you want to go to sleep. This means that you power down your phone and turn off your computer and television. The light and electromagnetic frequency they leave behind counteracts any messages you send to your brain about sleep, so it’s important to be intentional about turning everything off.
- Turn down your lights. Bright lights tell your brain that it’s time to be alert and awake, not winding down for sleep. We also suggest the use of light blocking glasses, such as TrueDark, at least one hour before bed. These glasses block your body’s sensitivity to blue light. Essentially, they help cue your brain into the fact that it is time to go to sleep.
- Mediate. Relax your mind so that you can prepare mentally for a sound night sleep. Try writing out concerns or tomorrow’s tasks on a piece of paper prior to meditation so that you aren’t consumed by anxiety during this time.
Dr. Kathleen Carson graduated cum laude from UCLA School of Dentistry. She is the owner of Integrative Dental Arts in Agoura Hills, CA and is committed to improving the overall health and longevity of her patients and to advancing healthcare professionals’ perception of airway centric dentistry. For nearly 20 years, Kathleen and her team have focused on a comprehensive care model utilizing a variety of integrative modalities to improve overall health and well-being of patients. You can find out more information at: www.AgouraHillsIDA.com