In May of this year, I discovered that I had adrenal problems. Adrenal problems are brought on by chronic stress. It is estimated that all Americans have some type of adrenal issues because of the severe amount of stress we face daily. One of the best ways to combat adrenal issues is rest and sleep. I have struggled with good sleep since I was pregnant with my first child over five years ago. I am finally finding peaceful sleep and I LOVE IT!
Lack of sleep not only impairs the proper function of the adrenal system, but it impacts the function of ALL systems in the body. A recent article posted on CNN.com titled “Too little sleep may fuel insulin resistance,” talks about the impact lack of sleep has on our fat cells. Researchers discovered that fat cells recognize sleep deprivation and triggers the body’s stress response, which leads to the release of stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, which are associated with insulin resistance. The author also states that long term sleep deprivation increases the risk of serious health problems like obesity and type II diabetes.
In addition, the lack of sleep increases a person’s estrogen levels which throws off a person’s hormone balance—so if your hormones are out of whack, you might want to try sleeping more. And lastly, lack of sleep decreases your body’s ability to heal itself.
According to the author, James Wilson, who wrote Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, states, “Chronic lack of sleep is now regarded as a health hazard and has been associated with several health conditions.”
So are you getting sleepy yet? Ready to put on your PJs and get some sleep? Well, some of you, like myself, may be tired and want to sleep, but simply can’t sleep. Been there. Here are a few tips to help you go to sleep.
- Create a blessings list. Prior to going to bed write down things that you are thankful for. Focus on positive elements in your life and not negative.
- Avoid stimulants like coffee, colas, nicotine, and chocolate.
- Avoid sweets prior to bed. (Yes, that means skipping the ice cream or eating the ice cream earlier in the evening).
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid the TV, computer, and your phone. All of these devices keep melatonin from rising to induce sleep.
- Practice deep breathing exercises.
- Practice light yoga poses.
- Take melatonin. (I have found USANA’s Pure Rest to be really helpful. Check out the right column to learn more).
- If you awake between the hours of 1 am and 3 am, it may be the result of your liver lacking the glycogen reserves it needs to perform the cleansing cycle the liver goes through at night. To avoid this, eat a small snack prior to bed that includes some protein and carbs. For example, a piece of toast with peanut butter or an apple slice with peanut butter.
- Use lots of props. Grab some extra pillows or blankets to make yourself comfortable. When sleeping, you want bring your body into correct alignment. So if you are a side sleeper, that includes additional pillows. If you are a back sleeper, it may mean no pillow at all to keep your neck in alignment. Click HERE to read more about proper alignment during sleep.