Want to Get Healthy – Take a Nap?

Sleep the Key Ingredient

If wellness was a sandwich, nutrition would be the bottom slice of bread and exercise the top and the filling would be SLEEP.

Are you making mistakes at work? Or are you noticing less than normal or slower performance or a greater number of errors creeping into your work?

Then, lack of sleep may be the culprit…

Do you feel annoyed a lot of the time? Grumpy? Flying off the handle? Depressed?

Do you need an alarm clock (or even two) to get you out of bed?

How do you feel when you wake up? Feel groggy? Like it’s a struggle to get out of bed?

How quickly do you fall asleep? Is it almost instant or do you find yourself staring at the ceiling for an eternity?

How much do you sleep on holiday? Did you sleep in every day or wake early without an alarm clock?

If any of that sounds familiar, then you’re simply not getting the sleep your body craves.

Yet, here’s what nobody is telling you:

It’s not just the amount of sleep; but it’s the QUALITY of sleep and when you get it, you’ll notice the BIGGEST difference…

A lack of quality sleep over time will lead to…

  • More viral and bacterial infections
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Hypertension
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Cancer, heart disease, diabetes and
  • Countless other chronic issues as you’ll see in a moment…

However, the answer is NOT just to get an early night or take a sleeping pill or so-called “natural” remedy. Instead, there is a way to ‘reset’ your body’s automatic sleep-wake cycle. So you effortlessly relax into the most natural, highest quality sleep your body craves. The kind of sleep you may not have experienced in a long time.

Most of your day are you locked in front of a computer, laptop, iPad or smartphone. So with the never ending emails, texts, Skype chats and tweets, your eyes stay glued to a glaring computer screen as long as you are physically and mentally able.

On the outside, the symptoms of sleep deprivation will take their toll.

Is your complexion bad, skin white as a sheet, bags under the eyes and do you look physically DRAINED all the time? Any chance you get; do you try to get a quick snooze in during the day or certainly feel like you need to?

Even when you finally collapse into bed, your mind still keeps racing and you can’t switch off. Then, when you eventually drift off, you wake up at 2am! Eyes bolted open, now feeling miserable because you know it will take AT LEAST another couple hours to fall back to sleep.

Little do you know…

ONE THIRD of British people are getting an average of 6 hours or LESS sleep a night.

And even if you ARE getting enough sleep, you’re probably not getting the RIGHT KIND of QUALITY sleep.

You see, sleep deprivation has a cumulative effect, and it’s not something you can recover from sleeping in on weekends. The longer your sleep debt continues, the more damaging the effect on your health.

Did you Know…

The National Sleep Foundation recently uncovered exactly how many hours of sleep you and I need every night.

  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Young adults (18-25): 7-9 Hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

If you’re between the ages of 13 and 65 you need a solid 7-9 hours sleep in order to stay mentally sharp and healthy. However, the amount of sleep is NOT the most important factor for your health…

Recently, researchers conducted an experiment to uncover the effects on your brain depending on whether you had 8, 6 or just 4 hours of sleep at night

Here’s what happened…

Predictably, the person enjoying a full 8 hours of uninterrupted slumber woke bright and alert the next morning. Their mind stayed sharp and clear throughout the day.

But those who only had 6 hours – so just 2 hours LESS a night – the difference was dramatic…

After only 2 weeks surviving on 6 hours sleep, the participant showed similar reaction times to a person with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%. In other words, lack of sleep caused them to act as if they were drunk!

And for the person on only 4 hours? Well, their minds just couldn’t cope. They kept collapsing and falling asleep during the day.

Devastating sleep debt effect #1: Can cause ” brain fog” and slow the brain down

First, it slows down attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.
Second is its little-known effect on your memory. Memory consolidation happens while you sleep particularly between the hours of 2am and 6am. During the day you take in new knowledge, while at night your memory solidifies, strengthening neural connections that form brainwaves. So, if you want to learn something, you’ll learn it better with sleep!

As well as strengthening your memory, your brain reorganises and restructures memories, resulting in magnified creativity.

PROVEN: Lack of quality sleep SHRIVELS your brain…

Scientists at University of Bristol studied the effects of jet-lag on airline cabin crew. They found that lack of sleep can actually shrink your brain and skyrocket stress levels.

Further tests showed those whose brains had shrunk had worse memories and higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Devastating sleep debt effect #2: Lowers your libido…

It’s no secret a lack of energy, sleepiness and increased tension can have a detrimental effect on your sex life.

One study, involving 171 women, showed that each additional hour of sleep increased the likelihood of sexual activity with a partner by 14 per cent.

Incredibly, a 2011 study found that lack of sleep actually significantly reduces testosterone production to the level of a 15-year-old male!

Not only does low testosterone flatten libido it can cause low energy levels, poor concentration and fatigue.

Devastating sleep debt effect #3: Triggers stress, depression and anxiety…

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling anxious, stressed and worried after a bad night’s sleep, you weren’t just imagining it.

Researchers at Berkeley found a lack of sleep can actually fire up the regions of our brain that increase feelings of anxiety. The study discovered that when a person is deprived of sleep, anxiety-producing activity in certain parts of the brain increases wildly compared to those who enjoyed a full night of sleep.

Devastating sleep debt effect #4: Ages your skin…

Getting your beauty sleep is no myth. Sleep deprivation can actually accelerate ageing of your skin.

In a 2013 study focused on 60 pre-menopausal women but for not just length of sleep but also the quality of their sleep. They found that sleep deprivation results in fine lines, saggy, drooping skin and a blotchy uneven skin tone.

Remember, your skin cells repair themselves overnight typically between the hours of 10pm and 2am. It’s so crucial to get the highest quality of sleep for a good 8 hours. Your body secretes growth hormone during deep sleep to repair and rebuild body tissues like muscle and bone.

Therefore, sleep heals on the outside as well as inside.

Devastating sleep debt effect #5: Weakens your Immune System…

While you sleep your body produces protective cytokines and infection-fighting antibodies and cells. Their function is to fight off bacteria and viruses.

However, as The Mayo Clinic reports a lack of quality sleep means your immune system doesn’t have a chance to strengthen its defences. It may also take you longer to recover from illness and increase the risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

Devastating sleep debt effect #6: Increases the amount of fat stored around the belly…

Not getting the right kind of sleep sends your metabolism off the rails, affecting your ability to lose weight. Why?Two hormones: Ghrelin and Leptin.

Grehlin is the hormone that tells your body to eat. So when you’re deprived of sleep, your body produces MORE of it, meaning you’re hungrier more of the time.

And then there’s Leptin. Now, leptin is the hormone that tells you when to STOP eating. Yet when you’re sleep-deprived your body produces LESS of this.

More Ghrelin + Less Leptin = Stubborner, Unwanted Fat!

Amazingly, Research compared two groups of dieters, one set were well rested and the other were sleep deprived. The group who were well rested lost more fat compared to the other group who lost more muscle mass. However, interestingly both groups lost similar amounts of total weight regardless of type of sleep.

In Summary

We need 7-9 hours of sleep a day, preferably between the hours of 10pm and 8am in order for us to have a chance of gaining or regaining optimal health. We could eat the best organic diet and hit the gym 5 times a week and all of this would be wasted if we don’t get a good nights rest.

The Solution

1. Get to bed by 10pm, your bodies physical repair happens between 10pm and 2am. Even if you start by doing this once a week you will reap the benefits. Ideally if you can do this between 2 and 5 times a week the health benefits will show immediately.

2. The result of going to be bed at 10pm has an automatic knock on effect and increases your chances by 50% of having deep quality sleep between 2am and 6am. During this period the brain repairs and physiological recovery happens.

3. During the winter, relax in the evening from 7pm until 10pm in candle light or very dim natural bulb light, dramatically reduce the use of phones, computers, tablets etc. The bright light of the screens will stimulate the the brain and make it difficult to fall a sleep when you go to bed.

4. Don’t drink tea, coffee, alcohol or even water late at night, make your last drink as close to 7pm as possible. The after effect of caffeine lasts for 4-6 hours and again will effect your ability to fall a sleep. Drinking water late at night may put pressure on your bladder causing irritation in the middle of the night.

5. Try eating some good quality fats as an evening snack, full-fat yoghurt, nuts, avocados. If you go to bed hungry you will cause organ stress and this can wake you between 2am and 6am. Good fats don’t make you fat they repair the body and don’t store.

6. Meditate for 5 minutes before you sleep, or listen to instrumental music without words. Let go of the day’s stresses and release the temptation to project onto the next day. Meditation is all about now, not yesterday or tomorrow. I will talk more about meditation in future newsletters.

Finally, have a good night sleep!

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