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The Importance of Sleep

Good sleep helps the body to become more resistant to stress or more robust; able to handle what it's thrown at us throughout our day. Stress placed on the body isn't just saved for that extra 5 reps that you did with that dumbbell press at the gym, stress is applied to the body in all forms of mental, physical, even environmental stress like noise pollution can hinder our functioning capacity. 

How do we become more efficient at "filling the tank"? Well, when it comes to sleep. Sleep is the king of the school yard and sleep rules our recovery and metabolism. Our body is a master at metabolic regulation when you get enough sleep. 



When we sleep enough:

- Lose fat

- gain muscle

- recover and repair

- regulate our blood sugar and blood lipids

- regulate our hormones

- regulate our appetite, hunger, and satiety 

- cleans up and gets rid of waist production 


It is amazing what 8 hours of sleep can do for you and when we don't get enough the opposite effect happens. For example you will see more problems with excess body fat, poor recovery, have a hard time with food cravings , and controlling appetite. Over time you will be more susceptible to chronic healthy conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and some forms of cancer. 


There are several powerful clocks that throughout the entire body that impact all these functions. Let's break these down. Do you have a better concept of what they do for us. 


Circadian clock: biological processes that operate on roughly a 24 hour cycle. 


Sleep - wake Cycle: influenced by light and dark, but also by a build- up of particular proteins and cells


Central Clock: located in the brain; the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) located in the hypothalamus.


Peripheral Clock: is in each of our cells as well as tissues and organs; all these have a particular time they function by.


Cellular Clock: used as a feedback loop of expression of various genes. These genes and proteins go back and forth being more or less active within that 24 hour day cycle.


These clocks organize and regulate our biological functions, The system varies with speed throughout the 24 hours cycle.  Our temperature is one of these systems that fluctuate, even in different time zones your body has to adjust to this and your temperature might vary more compared to being in your regular time zone. 


It is so important to understand these systems and how to have them work to our advantage to adjust and regulate our own health. 


Below is a full list of what these systems affect in the body ! 


Brain:

- overa;l metabolism

- sleep- wake cycle

- body temperature

- appetite and hunger

-cognition and memory

- energy

- mood


Adipose Tissue ( body fat) : 

- storing or losing fat

- change in fatty acid composition 

- making or maintaining fat cells

- release of hormones and adipokines ( signaling molecules)

- appetite and hunger 

- nutrition storage 


Pancreas:

- insulin secretion

- glucose regulation

- decreased growth and repair of insulin - secreting cells and glucagon- secreting cells


Heart and Circulatory system: - heart rate 

- blood flow and opening or narrowing of blood vessels 

- cardiac tissue metabolism 

- heart growth and repair

- heart muscle cells

- risk of cardiovascular disease


Muscle:

- synthesis of proteins involved in muscle contraction

- muscle inflammation, repair , recovery

- muscle mass

- energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity 


Bones and connective tissue:

- differentiation of bone marrow stem cells

- bone growth, formation, ad turnover

- bone mass and density

- cartilage repair and maintenance

- bone and connective tissue mineralization


Kidney:

- blood pressure regulation

- electrolyte absorption or excretion

- regulate of mineralocorticoids( cortisol) waste production 


Lungs:

- airway disease symptoms ( asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

- response to respiratory pathogens and toxins ( bacteria, smog, cigarette smoke)


Liver:

- glucose metabolism and regulation

- lipid metabolism and regulation 

- detoxifications


GI Tract:

- digestion, nutrition absorption, and excretion 

- appetite, hunger and fullness

- gut microbiome


Immune System:

- inflammation

- autoimmune and allergic disease symptoms

- function and proliferation of immune cells such as macrophages, monocytes, and natural killer cells 

- Immune cytokine response 


Cycles of light and dark are powerful cues , teaching our body when to be awake and when to sleep, or when to do particular metabolic functions can affect our rhythms as well. These also include physical activity, eating, environmental temperature, sensory stimulation, social interactions and the changing of the seasons. 


Sleep is so powerful, but you think how do I adjust this and make it easier on me? Create a sleeping ritual that fits with your schedule. Pick one aspect of your sleep to work on for a few weeks. Once you have achieved this goal, then add another little sleep ritual. Adding these small incremental tasks as you learn how to adjust with your sleep ritual will help you create a new healthier habit and it will be easier every time you add a new one in. 


Here are a few examples that you can try to add into your sleeping ritual .


- Dimming lights or investing in black out curtains

-  Setting an alarm to tell you to go to bed at a set time, schedule a reminder 1 to 2 hours to remind you that you should start winding down

- Have a cool or hot shower/ bath 

- listening to calm music

- Turn of stimulating electronics 

- Write in a journal and doing a " brain dump" of all your worries and concerns from that day

- deep breathing like the techniques we went over a few week ago!

- Using aromatherapy to help you relax

- Drink some non caffeinated tea before bed

- Cut down on caffeine or other stimulates 8 hours before scheduled bed time


Now that I gave you a little bit more insight on how important sleep it, I want all of you to give one of these techniques a try for 2 to 3 weeks and see if you notice a difference!


Happy experimenting and stay healthy !


Reference to PN nutrition for more information on sleep!


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