This past week I’ve been learning a lot about the human cycle and how nutrition affects each stage of our lives. From early childhood to old age, it’s amazing to see how important nutrition is in all stages of life. It is always important to eat a natural whole food diet rich in vitamins and minerals. In each stage of life there are different vitamins needed for growth, maintenance, and cleansing, as well as varying types and quantities of food that should be eaten. While it is important to know these differences and eat accordingly, there are some common health principles that tie directly in with healthy living in all stages of life. Those being: regular exercise and sleep.
Today I wanted to talk particularly about the importance of sleep. I will give you 5 reasons sufficient sleep is critical for sustained weight loss and optimised health. I will be referencing Penny Shelton’s book, “Raw Food Cleanse - Life Practices for Ageless Health,” as well as Elson M. Haas’ book, “Staying Healthy with Nutrition.” In addition to getting adequate sleep, the amino acid Tryptophan is said to help with improving your sleep cycle. Tryptophan is a “precursor for a vital neurotransmitter, serotonin, which influences moods and sleep; serotonin levels are directly related to tryptophan intake.”
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise.”
( This here is my adorable nephew Sebastien :) )
5 Reasons to Sleep More
- SLEEP REDUCES STRESS- If your body is sleep deficient, it goes into a state of stress. The body’s functions are put on high alert, which causes an increase in blood pressure and the production of stress hormones. Higher blood pressure increases your risk for heart attacks and strokes. The stress hormones also, unfortunately, make it harder to sleep.
- SLEEP MAY HELP YOU WITH WEIGHT LOSS – Researchers have shown that those who get less than 7 hours of sleep a night are more likely to become overweight or obese. It is thought that the lack of sleep impacts the balance of hormones in the body that affect appetite. The hormones ghrelin and leptin, important for the regulation of appetite, have been found to be disrupted by lack of sleep.
- SLEEP MAKES YOU MORE ALERT – A good night’s sleep makes you feel energized and alert for the next day. When you wake up feeling refreshed, you feel like going out into the day, being active and engaged in your world. You’ll sleep better the next night and increase your daily energy level.
- SLEEP HELPS THE BODY MAKE REPAIRS – Sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposures. Your cells produce more protein while you are sleeping. These protein molecules form the building blocks for cells, allowing them to repair damage.
- SLEEP MAY REDUCE YOUR RISK FOR DEPRESSION – Sleep impacts many of the chemicals in your body, including serotonin. People with a deficiency in serotonin are more likely to suffer from depression. You can help to prevent depression by making sure you are getting the right amount of sleep, between 7 and 9 hours each night.
Did you know?
In the early 1900’s the average American slept 9.5 hours. That number has now dropped to under 7 hours. 100 Million Americans fail to get an adequate nights rest.
“Our immune system functions best if we go to sleep by 10 p.m. As we sleep physical repair takes place between approximately 10 p.m. and 2a.m. Our immune cells patrol our bodies, eliminating cancer cells, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful agents. Then from about 2a.m. to 6a.m., we enter a stage of psychic regeneration. During this time, the brain releases chemicals that enhance our immune system. Throughout the night, we experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep state and non-REM sleep, alternating between light sleep and deep dream states. This is how we process the mental and emotional events of the previous day and restore our minds for the day ahead.”
That's all for today! Make sure to get lots of sleep. See you next Friday! :)