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The Importance of a Good Night Sleep and How to Self-Assess it

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

sleep effect on hormones

Here you are on a mission to overhaul your health regimen, buying good organic foods, exercising five times a week, using a fancy water filter, and taking all your personalized supplementation on a daily basis. However, you still feel there is something missing in your routine. With all the heavy work you have been doing for your health, you still feel fatigued and unrefreshed. And you finally come to wonder, can it be my sleep that is lacking quality and causing all my symptoms?

A good night sleep is vital for optimal health and survival. It protects our bodies against so many ailments and diseases. Studies show that people with sleep difficulties are twice as likely to develop depression compared to people with sound sleep. Lack of sleep is also linked to many other negative health effects such as weight gain, metabolic syndrome, hypertension and even increased risk of car accidents.

Sleep is highly essential, especially during these stressful times we are living today. The looming fear of the unknown and impeding stress that comes with it. During sleep, our bodies go through balancing and building processes, which clear out toxins and lower inflammatory and stress mediators, while increasing the activity of regenerative hormones such as the anti-aging human growth hormone (HGH). However, the quality of sleep is important as well and many of these feel good anti-aging hormones are released during the deeper stages of sleep.

In a healthy person, with a healthy night sleep, the body goes through about five cycles of sleep. Each cycle consists of four stages, that is: 1. A transition phase between wakefulness and sleep 2. Non-rapid eye movement (N-REM) sleep in which our body temperature starts to drop, and our heart rate slows down 3. Deepest level of sleep where most of body tissue and muscle repair occurs. And lastly, 4. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, and this is when dreams occur. I wanted to discuss this briefly to show that not all sleep is the same. Some of us unfortunately fail to move into these deeper levels of sleep and live their lives not knowing so. This can manifest as many ailments and mental health issues, and sleep can be easily brushed away as root cause since most medical providers are not trained well to assess it.

Today, I wanted to leave you with a little cheat sheet to help you self-assess your sleep and find out if you are getting the sleep you should be getting:

1. Am I getting 6-8 hours of sleep?

2. Does it take me more than 30 minutes to fall asleep?

3. Do I wake up more than three times per night?

4. Can I go back to sleep easily after I wake up?

5. Do I feel refreshed when I wake up in the morning?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, I encourage you to have your sleep assessed further and look into the reasons behind your sleep insufficiency.

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