Coaching Sleep

Sleep is our 5th vital sign! You cannot heal unless you sleep. Sleep health is a key indicator of overall health. With this in mind, we many need to adjust how we prioritize sleep. Some tend to put it off and think they’ll just catch up on the weekend or the next vacation. Others sometimes think of lack of sleep as a badge of honor and even make it part of their identity.

So why is sleep so important? While we are sleeping, the glymphatic system washes over the brain and removes toxins and broken DNA and debris including B-amyloid. This occurs during deep sleep. Good glymphatic flow is critical to clear toxins and move metabolites out of the brain. It also plays a role in regulating blood pressure, muscle repair, blood sugar regulation, hormone regulation, and restoring neurons. People who sleep better tend to have an easier time loosing weight! Adults require an average of 7-9 hours per night. When we sleep our memories and learning get consolidated and integrated with old. This is incredibly important for memory and cognition.

Social media use can have an impact on sleep. This is a big area why many teens don’t get enough sleep; many spend time scrolling before bed staying up decreasing the duration and quality of their sleep

Circadian rhythm plays a big role in our sleep schedule. When we aren’t sleeping at night due to shift work or staying up too late, it can throw our hormones out of whack. It has been linked to decrease in satiety hormones, making us hungrier and more likely to grab sugary foods for more energy. We also have a decrease in our ability to metabolize sugars and lipids. The amount of sleep we get contributes to the maintenance of fat-free body mass at times of decreased energy intake. Shift worker have increased risk for diabetes, obesity, heart attack, job related injury, breast cancer, and decreased serotonin levels.

Some associations with sleep dysfunction include cardio-metabolic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, neurodegeneration, chronic pain, and fatigue. The most common disruptions of the sleep and wake cycle include stress, hormones, foods, and infections.

Sleep hygiene is a way we can reset our biological clock. Getting outside early for some early morning sun sets our circadian rhythm for the day and plays a role for releasing melatonin at night. Melatonin rises throughout the day, when it reaches a peak, it lets the body know its time to get rest. When we are constantly exposed to fluorescent lights, we don’t make melatonin as we should and makes it more difficult to sleep promptly.

Sleep hygiene can be personalized to everyone to find what patterns work best for them. Some practices to consider include breath work, creating a sleep sanctuary, warm Epsom salt baths, essential oils, herbal teas, eliminating alcohol, guided imagery, calming music, and others. It can be helpful to wear a devise to determine which practices are the most beneficial to producing better quality sleep.

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