Sabotaged by Lack of Sleep

You’ll hear me say this all the time: SLEEP is the most critical component of a healthy lifestyle. I know, I know – Primal Health says 80% food, 10% exercise & 10% sleep and stress management. The truth that we see the most, is that in spite of the best food and exercise habits, lack of sleep can increase stress and appetite (agitated and hungry), interfere with satiety signals and metabolism (overeat and store more fat), and leave you cognitively impaired throughout your day (dangerous and foggy). Can you see why I feel so strongly about it?

In the book Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival, authors T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby explain that our modern day habits of bright artificial year round light late into the evening, messes with our natural circadian rhythm that our bodies were designed to follow based on the sun and seasons. The long exposure tells our bodies that it is summer, which is the time to eat heartily to store fat up for the winter famine coming ahead. But we never experience the winter famine – our short winter days are extended by light and our refrigerators are always full.

When we expose ourselves to light after dark, it stimulates the release of cortisol in our bodies, which suppresses melatonin (the make you sleepy hormone), in order to keep us awake and alert. This cortisol also promotes carbohydrate cravings in an effort to boost the energy you’ll need to stay up. Late night snack anyone? Do you notice that your cravings are typically for something sweet or starchy – popcorn, ice cream, chips or a bowl of cereal?

The insulin spike from that snack also suppresses melatonin and then releases more stress hormones when it crashes. A crash is bad by day, but worse at night, not just because it inhibits your ability to fall asleep. It can also suppress adaptive hormones, like human growth hormone, and suppresses immune function, both important in overnight restoration and recovery. You know how our bodies keep us from moving to act out our dreams? When the night shift comes on, all unnecessary functions get put on hold, so that all focus can be on restoration and recovery. When we fire up the digestive system for a snack, we are keeping the body from doing its nighttime duties – the damaging results of which will show up the next day and beyond, particularly if it becomes habitual.

To learn more about the science and understanding of sleep, I highly recommend the Lights Out book which you can find HERE. What are some ways that you can ensure a great night’s sleep every night? It starts with excellent Sleep Hygiene (habits, tricks & routines) and I’ve put together a FREE PDF of 6 things you can do today that can improve your sleep. I know that when I don’t sleep well. I feel out of it all day long, restless, short tempered and hungry, yet nothing seems to satisfy. Fortunately, that rarely happens to me anymore and I can fall asleep quickly and easily, very shortly after I climb in to bed. You can download the FREE PDF by clicking on the image below. Try the tips out and let me know which ones helped you the most in the comments below.

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