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Sep 14 2012

Sleep – Is It REALLY That Important?

Believe it of not sleep is really more important to being “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed”. With modern-day lifestyles the average person survives on just 5 to 6 hours sleep PER night!

You know what it’s like if you don’t get sufficient sleep – you become grumpy and lethargic right? The thing is, there’s a lot more to lack of sleep too – lack of sleep will also make you FAT and SICK!!

So what exactly happens when we sleep?

  • For starters, liver function is at its highest. The liver is responsible for a number of activities, one of which is to cleanse the body, the more ‘acidic’ your body is the better the breeding ground for disease. Lack of sleep reduces the time the liver can spend ‘cleansing’ the body before it needs to ‘wake up’ and perform other functions.
  • Growth Hormone is produced while we sleep,  this promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones. Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any time when awake, hence lack of growth hormone is one of the reasons people become fat and weak!
  • During sleep the sex hormone testosterone and the fertility hormones, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone production is highest
  • Immune system activity is highest during sleep, as the levels of certain agents which fight disease rise during sleep and drop when we are awake.

Ok, so that’s what happens during sleep – so what can happen if we don’t get enough sleep?

Quite simply lack of sleep will make you fat and sick! Lack of sleep has been linked with:

  • Obesity
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure)
  • And if that’s not bad enough… Loss of fertility and lack of sex drive
  • And even worse – research has shown lack of sleep can lead to Cancer!*
So What’s The Problem?
Quite simply put – modern-day life!
  • We work late
  • Watch TV in bed
  • Spend time on the Internet & Facebook too late at night
  • Street lighting keeps us awake
  • We drink too much caffeine
  • Eat too much processed food
  • and quite simply our cortisol – stress hormone, levels are just too high late at night.

Ok, so you know most of that anyway – so HOW can you improve your sleep?

  • Remove processed foods from your diet – there’s literally no benefit on them being there anyway, other than for convenience! (See my other posts for more info)
  • Reduce or ideally remove caffeine from your diet, particularly in the evening – this will lead to a reduction in cortisol levels and aid sleep
  • Eating a banana before bed can increase dopamine levels and again aid sleep
  • Rub on Magnesium oil – this is a relaxant & absorbed by all cells in the body (you can read my post on Magnesium here)
  • Create a CAVE with no disruption by artificial light / stimulants
  • Read fiction before bed rather than watching TV, this helps you to switch off and relax without the stimulation of flashing images.
And Finally….
Do You Wake Up Regularly During The Night?
If you wake up regularly between the hours of 1:00am and 3:00am you most probably have what we term a ‘toxic liver’  and if you wake up regularly between the hours of 3:00am and 5:00am you most probably suffer from adrenal fatigue. Both of these can easily be overcome with diet, exercise and a few lifestyle changes.
Give me a shout if you’d like to know more!
Till next time,
Martin

*Research has shown that people who stayed up until 3am had one-third fewer cells containing  the cancer killer TNF (tumour necrosis factor) the next day!

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