Sleep Deprivation Consequences and Cures

If you google just about any health ailment or nagging symptom, sleep deprivation will be on the list of possible causes. Why is that?  Because people are just too (potentially dangerously so) busy and plugged in to sleep these days. When we do sleep, we don’t sleep well.

From small children to retirement age, our lives are jam packed with structure and technology, leaving no (or very little) down time.  If you ask a retiree, they will most likely tell you one of the most enjoyable things about retiring is the ability to nap when you want.

What can you do to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep to ward off sleep deprivation? Start by unplugging yourself, literally and figuratively, at least four hours before your bedtime. Instead of focusing on the screens of a television, game console, computer or cell phone, shut them down. Read a book, cook and savour a nice meal, or go out for a drink or meal with a friend or loved one. Sans the phone.

This applies to your children too. Remember, you are their most influential teacher. They will pick up your unhealthy habits just as easily as your good ones. They do need routine in their lives, but organized structure not so much. Kids also need down time instead of being shuttled from event to event.

Sleep deprivation shows up in their behaviour and their health.  Research has shown that overly active (organized) kids tend to suffer from anxiety, which in turn leads to poor quality of sleep.  It is very easy to cut back on their organized activities.  Let them play at home with their siblings and parents. Bring back the board games of our youth. Encourage older kids to read books or experiment in the kitchen.  Simply slow down their lives, especially before bed time.

Think of your brain as a computer that controls your body. Even the best computers need to reboot or update regularly to stay efficient and healthy. Similarly, every cell in your body, especially those in your brain, needs down time to repair and recuperate from everything we throw at them. They can only do that when we sleep. When we don’t provide these cells with quality sleep to perform this maintenance on a regular basis, sleep deprivation sets in and cells start to break down, causing all those symptoms you are googling about.

Advertisements

SIMPLE STEPS TO LOSE WEIGHT

 

 

Fat storage is directly linked to two hormones; insulin and cortisol.  Insulin is controlled by the food you eat, and cortisol is controlled by the amount of stress in your life.  Increases in either or both of these hormones causes your body to store fat. Unfortunately, poor food choices and stress often occur together, and like the chicken and the egg story, which one comes first is debatable….

Eating the wrong carbohydrates  (sugar, bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, processed snacks etc) causes increases of insulin in your body.  Eating good carbohydrates (quinoa, fruit, vegetables, bread with sprouted grains) controls your blood sugar and insulin levels.

To help keep your insulin level in check and keep your body in a fat burning zone, follow these simple steps:

Read labels:  avoid -processed and packaged foods like cereals, muffins, chips, crackers, genetically modified corn, soy and wheat, hydrogenated oils, canola oil, corn syrup, margarine, sugar and artificial sweeteners.

These products not only increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, they are treated as foreign toxins in your body, causing inflammation in many organs.  Avoiding these products will not only make you lose weight, but other health issues such as eczema, asthma, arthritis, will improve too.

Stick to the outer aisles in the grocery stores; they contain the fresh produce, meat, dairy etc, while the inner aisles typically hold the bad stuff.

Clean out your kitchen pantry, getting rid of any of the above items.

To control cortisol levels, try to reduce the stresses in your life by following these steps:

Get enough  sleep.  Sleep deprivation stresses your body.  If you cannot get enough at night, try to sneak in a nap during the day, since even a short 30 minute nap is beneficial for you.

Get some, but not too much  exercise.  An exercise regime that is too strenuous will temporarily stress your body, causing a spike in your cortisol level.  Your exercise regime does not have to be complicated or expensive.  Go for a brisk walk every day, or at least every second day.

Surround yourself with positive people.  Negative people are stressors you do not need.

Spend more time doing the things you like to do.  Take up a new hobby or rediscover an old one.

Other points to remember:

Good fats burn body fat:  Avoid  margarine, canola and hydrogenated oils.  Choose eggs, olive oil, avocado, almonds, coconut oil and cold water fish.

Stay hydrated:  Drink lots of water.  Carry a water bottle around with you while running errands, chauffeuring your kids, and especially while exercising.   Add a splash of lemon juice to your water to liven up the taste.

 

Good luck!

Sleep Deprivation: Its Causes and how it Affects your Health…

It seemed appropriate to talk about sleep deprivation today, after we lost one hour sleep by setting our clocks ahead one hour this past weekend in honor of daylight saving time.  I find it simply amazing that one single hour can affect our lives so drastically.  When my children were small, daylight saving time would really send them for a loop, affecting their nap times and altering their internal clocks.  I thought adults would adjust better, but apparently there are a lot of people out there who do not adjust well, with shift workers at the top of the list.  I just heard on the news that within the three days following daylight saving time there are significantly more heart attacks reported.  On the flip side, in the fall when our clocks fall back and we gain one hour of sleep, there are significantly less heart attacks reported…

Sleep deprivation can be caused by hormone imbalance, sleep apnea, snoring, room temperature, stress/anxiety and sleeping conditions.  It is a known fact that sleep deprivation is the most common cause of many health issues affecting both adults and children, and yet I have the same argument with my teenaged son many school nights, about taking his cell phone to bed with him.  His argument is that the phone actually helps him to fall asleep.  I, on the other hand, believe electronic devices of any kind keep the brain stimulated, delaying and preventing a restful sleep.  Sleep deprivation is caused by many things, but I am sure stimulation by electronic devices is way up at the top of the list for many teens and adults.

If you are not getting an average of eight hours (more for children and teens) of restorative sleep a day,  your long term good health may be at risk.  In fact, it is now being suggested that sleep deprivation can be worse for you than lack of exercise….

If you research the causes of many illnesses or conditions including ADD/ADHD, (both childhood and adult forms) anxiety, depression and other psychiatric illnesses, heart problems, type II diabetes, obesity, brain fog, difficulty focusing and/or concentrating, poor/slow reaction time, memory loss, lethargy, irritability, headaches and loss of energy, just to name a few, you will find sleep deprivation at or near the top of the list.

Every part of our bodies need sleep to function properly.  Our cells rejuvenate and grow, our energy levels are boosted, our brains refuel with energy and reboot our memories, our aching joints and muscles repair and strengthen, and our organs release essential hormones, all when we are asleep.

This research has tired me out, I think I will take a nap to rejuvenate!