In my work as a health coach I’m always helping people who are constantly tired and stressed. The very first thing I ask them is “How is your sleep? About 99% of them respond “Ok”, but when I dig deeper I realize that “Ok sleep” doesn’t mean good sleep. The vast majority of Americans are sleep deprived. Sleep aiding drugs are on the top 3 prescription medications used by Americans…we are in the middle of a sleeplessness epidemic. And the saddest thing is that we underestimate the power of sleep, not knowing the suffering caused to our brain, our body our relationships and ultimately to our happiness by every hour of sleep we miss.
Poor sleep is directly related to early aging, and no face cream, however expensive will fix that. Not enough zzz also causes imbalances of the nervous system (responsible for the fly or fight or stress response). We become more anxious, more reactive, less focused and less patient people for this reason, so technically even your relationships are affected by this. Physiologically, bad sleep is also responsible for poor metabolism and weight gain. I always shine light on this, and the top observation I make to clients with poor sleep is their lack of energy, shown as mental fog, cravings and overall tiredness followed closely by their inability to lose weight.
Not sleeping properly causes overeating, and typically you go for foods that rise your glucose levels. This is followed by a crash as sugar is transformed into body fat, and consequently cravings return…so the vicious cycle never stops. The hormone leptin, has also been shown to be lower in people that do not sleep well. What is leptin? It is the hormone partly in charge of telling your brain that you are full (yep, low leptin is like driving with bad brakes!). But the damage doesn’t end there. Poor sleep also affects the brain and it inhibits the repair of tissues and detoxification processes that can only happen when you get deep sleep.
The minimum amount sleep you should be getting is 7 hours. But that isn’t all. It must be quality, uninterrupted sleep. The only way to achieve this is creating a routine that allows for your circadian rhythm to recalibrate and return to a healthy cycle. Over the counter medications, even the so called “natural” melatonin (it isn’t natural if is not found in nature!) may help for a while but they create more damage as they can inhibit your body natural ability to produce its own melatonin, and we all know that that can create dependence.
There are many ways you can start building a new live with healthy sleep without drugs or gimmicks. Yoga, for example, has tools specific to help you sleep, as it has been know for ages that sleep is crucial to reach higher levels of health and fulfillment. These techniques include using controlled breathing exercises, practicing specific postures and stretches, adopting key self care habits, and consuming helpful herbs and food (while avoiding others). Adopting a few of these items will improve your sleep in a matter of a week if done regularly and in tandem. This is scientifically proven and cheaper than drugs and gadgets. Imagine finally being able to go to bed without tossing and turning and waking up refreshed! Care to learn some of these techniques? Join us on Sunday April 30th at 10 am for a workshop on how to do exactly that. This will be and educational as well as practical, hands-on experience. You’ll leave with tools to help you achieve your goals so you can have a well deserved good night sleep. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE & REGISTER