Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Holistic Hottie™: Sleep. Don't underestimate it.

2 hours of sleep before midnight are worth 4 hours of sleep after midnight to your adrenal glands. When your adrenals are healthy, you feel better and don't age as quickly. My birthday is coming up...I need to get serious about my sleep!!!

I recently posted this as a factoid status update on my Facebook wall.  Someone from the military confirmed the above claim (it's a true claim by the way) and responded with: "When I was in the army, I often used to run on 4 hours of sleep but never felt sleep deprived or the negative effects of sleep deprivation because I always went to bed at 9 pm".  I didn't ask for his age - and I imagine that might have been a factor but something can definitely be said about going to bed early.  Plus I'm sure you've experienced the refreshment of waking up after a full night of rest, after having gone to bed earlier than normal.

Besides that, sleep can actually help you stay slim.  If we don't get enough sleep, we are more likely to have a sluggish immune system, metabolism and hormonal imbalance. In fact, a number of studies have shown a relationship between body mass index (BMI, an indirect measure of body fat) and sleep deprivation. These studies consistently suggest that when sleep is under seven hours, BMI is higher. Also, when we skimp on sleep we are missing out on important physical and psychogenic repair (See image below.).

So, in an ideal world we want to go to bed as early as possible - specifically  2 hours after sundown according to T.S. Wiley, author of Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar and Survival.  And we want to sleep in a completely dark room without any electronic devices.  Our bodies need complete darkness for production of the sleep hormone - melatonin - by the pineal gland.  Light (even a little bit) interferes with this important process and can throw off circadian rhythms.  I have a friend who would cover his entire head with a black t-shirt and sleep fully under the covers to avoid light. haha.  He's a "special" and lovely individual who wanted to make sure he wasn't throwing his rhythms off.  He also looks 20 years younger than his age.  A sleep mask can also work :-)

If you'd like to check out an interview with T.S. Wiley, click here to listen to the podcast.

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