The True Value of a Good Night Sleep
When I was younger, I led a very active and involved lifestyle. If you tried to compare my lifestyle then to the one I lead now, you would observe lives in complete contrast; which is how it should be when we grow from youth to adulthood. I have changed so much over the years that I often find it difficult to reconnect with or understand the young woman I once was.
I’m sure that many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. I remember being completely unaware of my coming age. I really had no concept that one day the poor choices I often made would catch up with me when I became older. The youth I took for granted, the beauty I did not appreciate, and the lifestyle I chose would be deeply questioned, analyzed, and regretted to some extent, later on down the road to a greater wisdom.
I shake my head in amazement that I was spared this life because I am lucky to be here today.
As I stated in the beginning, I have led an active lifestyle that began many mornings and didn’t usually end until sometime the next day. Sleeping was never an issue for me. When I found the time, I slept soundly and deeply until I woke up. Sleeping ten hours was not a luxury, it was a choice. When I finally meandered out of bed and crossed the street to the local Trattoria Machelli’s, I was well-rested and ready to take on the world again!
Sadly, those wonderful nights of deep and restful sleep ended when new responsibilities took priority and filled up an otherwise stress-free and selfish existence which was once wrapped around only me. For the first time in my life I began to understand what it was like for others who did not sleep well, if at all. I began to suffer from insomnia and sleep disorder. The anxiety brought on by not sleeping well caused me debilitating psychological and biological problems. Without going into detail and the extent I was willing to go, I will say that my condition forced me to find a solution to my problem.
R. E. M. and The True Value of a Good Night’s Sleep.
Many professionals will proclaim that sleep is more important to your health than food. The theory behind this analogy states that a person can maintain physical health longer without food than without sleep. Sleep deprivation causes several debilitating biological processes to occur within our brain and body system.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), individuals generally require about eight hours of restful sleep for every sixteen hours of time spent awake. As we age, this requirement does not decrease, yet our ability to sleep deeply for an eight hour length of time does decline. The NSF reports that 40,000,000 people suffer from seventy different types of sleep disorders, with sixty percent of adults claiming to report difficulties with sleep problems at least two times a night per week. There are many other individual cases which go undiagnosed and untreated. It’s an unfortunate dilemma when you consider that the quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life. Our sleep habits are expressed in our character and productivity each day by affecting mental clarity and sharpness, physical balance and vitality, and even in our metabolism and the measurement of our waistline.
Psychologists and scientists who study sleep disorders have shown that a lack of sleep can directly or indirectly cause physiological and pathological conditions to develop. The brain and nervous system, cardiovascular system, metabolic and immune systems can suffer serious consequences including, but not limited to; sleepiness, insomnia, hypertension, stroke, emotional problems, diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, and obesity.
It is during sleep that our bodies release three important hormones in large amounts which are vital to our health and longevity. These hormones also help to protect us from disease, so it’s vital to our well-being to ensure we are getting enough sleep.
Erythropoietin is a hormone produced in our kidneys. Erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cells which deliver oxygen to each cell in your body. Red blood cells are then able to carry away carbon dioxide waste from the cells. Growth Hormone (HGH) is released from the pituitary gland in waves, once every ninety minutes, with the strongest dose released about one hour after you fall into a deep sleep. If your pituitary gland is releasing enough growth hormone into your body, and your physiological needs are being met, you will notice leaner muscles and stronger bones. Growth hormone can also determine the amount of body fat you carry. The lack of growth hormone in individuals who do not get adequate sleep is expressed in unhealthy weight and poor body tone. Testosterone is a hormone which is produced in both the testicles of men and the ovaries of women. Adequate levels of testosterone are essential for a healthy immune system, physical energy and vitality, strong bones, and a healthy sexual drive.
It is during the R.E.M. cycle that these hormones are delivered to our system in adequate levels for sustained health and well-being. Paying special attention to your circadian rhythm and R.E.M. cycle will enhance your overall health on many different levels, in many significant ways.
Two other hormones are released and decreased during deep and restful sleep. Ghrelin is released in higher doses when you are awake. Ghrelin is referred to as the “GO” hormone because it tells your body to eat. If you’re not getting adequate sleep this hormone will make you want to eat more. Leptin is released in higher doses when you are asleep. Leptin is the “STOP” hormone because it tells your body to stop eating. If you are not sleeping enough, you do not have adequate levels of Leptin, but higher levels of Ghrelin, so you pack on body weight.
So what do you do? The first thing is to try using about .3mg. Melatonin in the evening about 30 minutes before bedtime. Create a sleep ritual that works for you. Do not read or watch television in bed. Do not eat or drink alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol metabolism actually inhibits sleep after the affects wear off. If this doesn’t work, see a professional therapist who specializes in sleep disorders, and please feel free to contact me at www.prodotfit.com to hear my story about insomnia, and what I did to combat this crazy disorder.
By Renee Haxby
I have always been athletic and competitive. In the 1970’s I was one of the first internationally recognized female bodybuilders. Over the years, my face and physique have been featured on magazine covers, numerous popular editorials and several television commercials. I have worked in the health club industry in both Seattle and Los Angeles, and also as a personal trainer for successful Seattle clients.
Education: BA in Social Sciences and a Formal Minor in Business Administration from Washington State University. I have certifications in food psychology, wellness, and life strategies from The Spencer Institute, NESTA, and the International Sports Science Association. I own and operate PRO.Fit by Renee Haxby in the Pacific Northwest area.
My business motto is “Because I’ve Gone Through it, I’ll Help You Get Through it!”
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Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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