The Wonders of Sleep
When it comes to health, sleep is a huge deal. Our bodies use the time we’re asleep to clean up clutter, recharge body parts, and do good.
Lack of sleep means leftover clutter, even in the brain. Perhaps, especially in the brain. A brain that looks like the local dump doesn’t function all that well.
At 10pm, your endocrine system starts a nightly “overhaul.” Gland by gland it goes, tidying, recharging, and generally blessing the socks off the various members of this unruly gang.
Not getting enough sleep means not getting ready to take on the next day with style and grace.
Sleep plays a role in your weight, too. Did you know sleep burns .9 calories per kg per hour? So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you divide your weight by 2.2 (to convert kg to pounds) and find you burn about 68 calories an hour-just sleeping! The deeper you sleep, you the more calories you burn.
Sleep burns even more calories than tossing and turning! Who knew? And a good night’s sleep means you’ll continue to burn more calories the next day.
Also, good sleep means the hypothalamus, your body’s king, has better control of your appetite.
Plus, sleep gives you energy, pumps up your brain, even makes you better-looking. What’s not to like?
But a lot of people can’t make a good night’s sleep happen. What can they do?
Improving your chances of good sleep
- Remove all electronic devices from your bedroom. The electromagnetic fields they give off cause sleep problems. I know, I know, I know: Your phone is your alarm clock, your computer needs a home, and you fall asleep to television. If you’re not sleeping well, these things have to change. I use my mother’s pre-PC clock radio to wake me up; it’s not even close to trendy, but it works and reminds me of day gone by.
- Keep the room temperature low; 60, if possible. You can pile on the blankets and quilts; somehow your body senses the cool room, and you sleep better.
- Make your bedroom dark. Light-blocking shades are available, but for my test of whether a dark bedroom made a difference, I just got a bunch of black fabric and made curtains. The bedroom looks like a cave during the day and like a tomb at night. The results? I sleep a lot better when it’s really dark. Getting up in the night was tricky at first, but now my eyes are just grateful for any light they get, so it’s all good.
Early to bed
- Be in bed, in sleep mode, by 10pm to allow your endocrine rejuvenation to go well.
- Stop eating three hours before you go to bed. If hunger bids you to eat later than that, fatty protein is the way to go-cheese, perhaps. Carbohydrates tell your body to start pumping insulin for blood-sugar control, and that takes priority over sleep. The effects of a carb snack can last for hours.
- If you’re tossing and turning, think about ice packs. Ice doesn’t sound inviting, but if that’s what’s needed, it will feel good. I can’t explain why, except to say that stress responds well to cold. Get gel ice packs, store them in your freezer, and wrap them in a towel (ice should never touch your skin). This works well when your adrenal glands, the cause of a lot of lost sleep, need a little love.
- Finally, and importantly, every day, in every way, give your body the made-to-fit nutrition it needs. Rather than listen to quick, no-trouble-at-all advice that doesn’t work, learn the language of symptoms and listen to what your body is saying about where you are.
Respect your body. Treat it well. Good things will happen.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She’s a patient who’s been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.