Sleep is such an important component of our lives. We spend approximately a third of our lives, asleep – and for a very good reason. Sleep is when your body and mind recover from the events of the day. As we have led increasingly stressful lives, our sleep schedules and abilities have diminished, and there are many different reasons why our sleep can be disturbed.
Here are some of the most common reasons for sleep disturbance and some simple steps that you can take to make significant positive changes for more restful sleep.
As our lives have become increasingly technological, we have begun to spend more and more time in front of our screens. TVs, computers, tablets and cell phones all have a significant amount of light that they emit into our eyes. This light contains various component colors including blue, red and yellow.
Blue light has been shown to enter the eyes and increase levels of Serotonin, which is okay during the day time. The problem occurs when we continue to flood our vision with blue light in the evening and night time before we fall asleep.
As we continue to visualize blue light, we continue to produce Serotonin rather than Melatonin, the hormone of relaxation which allows us to fall asleep. We need to ensure that we get enough Melatonin production to allow us to fall asleep. Our Melatonin production should alternate with the rising and setting sun.
Many of us watch television until 11 pm, watch movies or do work on the computer at all hours and even have our cell phones beside us as we go down for the night. Here are some suggestions for how to minimize screen time before bed:
- Purchase Amber Lenses (Uvex is a good brand) that you can wear while watching TV in the evening as they help cut down on blue light entering your eyes.
- Download Flux for your computer. This free app helps to decrease the amount of blue light emitted by your computer screen, based on your location and sunrise/sunset times.
- Turn down the blue light on your phone screen using Nightshift on Apple devices and Twilight app on Android devices.
- Cancel your cable subscription and sell your TV.
As we know from above, our hormones determine our cellular ability to perform tasks such as initiating sleep. Our adrenal glands produce stress hormones that help our cells to determine how much energy they need to make.
If your body is constantly under stress, then it will continuously produce adrenal stress hormones such as cortisol. The main function of cortisol is to increase blood sugar levels so that we produce more energy to deal with stress.
Adrenal fatigue can be caused by constant low grade stress and inflammation that is affecting the body. Often, the source of this stress can be found affecting the gut. It is therefore important to ensure you have good gut health and are not dealing with an infection, yeast or bacterial overgrowth, food or chemical sensitivities and even parasites.
If you have symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, loose stools, constipation or diarrhea, then it is highly recommended that you have functional lab testing performed to determine the source of your symptoms which can often cause adrenal fatigue through constant low grade inflammation.
- Eat real foods, cut down on sugars and processed “food-like” products
- Get functional lab testing done to determine the source of your issues
- Take the correct supplements to help eliminate the source of inflammation as well as to help repair gut lining
Blood Sugar Issues
If you are waking up multiple times at night consistently to urinate, then you may be dealing with blood sugar control issues. The issue with controlling blood sugar occurs due to ineffective hormonal control by Insulin.
Your hormones are incredibly important for all ongoing bodily functions. Insulin is the hormone which directly contributes to a decrease in blood sugar, but if insulin cannot perform its function, then blood sugar levels will remain high, leading to excessive urination.
It is important to ensure that your blood sugar control is strong and that your cells have not become resistant to insulin. If you have some extra weight around the torso and midsection, it can be reasonably concluded that you are likely suffering from insulin resistance, which is the first step towards type II diabetes.
- Decrease sugar and carbohydrate levels in your diet
- Begin walking or performing some low level exercise on a daily basis
- Get tested for blood glucose and insulin levels by your family doctor
- Make small, sustainable and positive lifestyle changes to ensure that your cells and hormones can begin to function correctly.
Hormones are the major control of our sleep and cellular functions. They must be functioning synergistically and in a correct balance in order to all you to sleep, wake and have enough energy during the day to enjoy your life.
Each of us can make small, positive changes that are sustainable but the first step is to decide that you are willing to make these changes. Once you are ready to make these changes, you are significantly closer to true health.
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