How is your sleep?
Sleep is one of the most commonly neglected aspects of health. Adequate sleep, usually 8-10 hours is necessary for the body to heel. Sleep deprivation can lead to many negative health outcomes such as weight gain, changes in mood, poor decision making, and reduced ability to fight illness. When we talk about sleep, there are many factors that influence how deep and long we sleep. Many of these factors take time to change or implement, but your body will thank you after!
Sleep occurs in a 24 hour cycle or a circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm acts like an internal clock that regulates systems in the body, one of those systems being the sleep-wake cycle. Important contributors to the sleep-wake cycle are the brain (hypothalamus) as well as the hormones cortisol and melatonin.
Cortisol: Commonly associated with stress, is a hormone that wakes us up and gets our day going. Cortisol usually starts to rise around 3AM and continues to rise until around 8AM. After cortisol peaks in the morning, it should slowly decrease throughout the day and be the lowest around bedtime. Low cortisol in the morning may cause you to have trouble getting out of bed, or leave you feeling sluggish. High cortisol in the evening or around bedtime may lead to light sleep, or frequent awakening.
Melatonin: A hormone produced primarily by the pineal gland (brain) and gut, has many different functions. Melatonin produced in the pineal gland promotes sleep, among other functions. Melatonin largely follows the inverse of cortisol. Melatonin should start to rise in the evening and decrease towards the morning.
Tips for Better Sleep:
- No electronic use 1 hour before bedtime
- blue light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin
- Take 1 hour to wind down and dim the lights
- allows the body do relax and start reducing cortisol while increasing melatonin
- Sleep in a dark, cool room
- body temperature naturally drops in the evening
- darkness signals circadian rhythm that it is time to sleep
- No caffeine after 12:00 PM
- caffeine can increase cortisol and alertness
- it can take many hours for your body to fully metabolize caffeine
- Stay on a schedule
- optimize falling asleep and staying asleep
- helps stabilize hormone (cortisol and melatonin) production
**Note: These recommendations do not replace advice given by your healthcare provider. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice. Recommendations and Information provided are designed for informational purposes only, they are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.