Numerous studies have confirmed that getting the right amount of sleep a night typically 7-8 hours, significantly reduce certain inflammatory markers that can lead to an increase in blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity. When a reduction in sleep occurs an increase in the inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein and Interleukin 6 is increased this poses a threat to the immune system and increases the threshold for bacterial infection. C-reactive protein is a protein found in the blood and synthesized by the liver. Studies suggest that when blood levels of this protein are increased, higher incidences of high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer are present. When the body loses sleep, many different hormonal changes occur, one such change being the release of Growth Hormone. In an article written in the British Medical Journal, it states the a lack of sleep can cause a decrease in the output of luteinizing hormone( growth hormone ) in both young and adult men and women. This Hormone triggers ovulation in females and the increase of testosterone in males. A decrease in Sleep has also been shown to decrease metabolism by throwing off the normal metabolic release of two key hunger hormones, Ghrelin and Leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is secreted by the cell lining of the stomach and is responsible for the feeling of hunger. When Ghrelin in released it signals the Hypothalamus (the part of the brain that tells us when we are hungry, thirsty and tired) and tells us it is time to eat. Leptin, which is also secreted by the cell lining of the stomach is responsible for telling our brain and our gut when we are full.
Research suggests that when sleep is disrupted and the bodies receives less than the recommended 7-8 hours a night Ghrelin release is increased and Leptin release in decreased. Some tips to help get more sleep can be found below.
- Get into a routine- Try going to bed a half an hour earlier each week or set a bedtime. This will get your body used to a schedule.
- Relax before bed- Turning the television off and taking some time out for yourself before bedtime, whether it be relaxing with a good book or meditating. This will help reset your brain and get it into sleep mode.
- Cut out the caffeine- As we all know, caffeine keeps us alert and ready to start the day. If you are the type of person that gets a jolt from caffeine, cutting it out 4-6 hours before bedtime can help ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep.
- Eat a high protein snack before bed- This can provide the L-tryptophan your body needs to process melatonin and serotonin.
- Avoid alcohol- You may think that having a drink before bed might make you sleepy but the effects are short lived. You will often awake several hours later, unable to fall back to sleep.
Use an eye mask- Wearing an eye mask will block out all unnecessaryTweet