Get Your Sleep Habits Back On Track!

Get Your Sleep Habits Back On Track!

First of all, you may think that you’re just fixing your sleep patterns but it’s important to know that you’re fixing much more than that. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can lead to more than a few yawns and a dragged out day. Here’s a brief list of health concerns that have been linked to poor sleep:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • School and work performance deficits
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Overall reduced quality of life

As you can see, sleep literally affects all aspects of our health. While the mechanisms responsible for sleep deprivation’s negative health consequences are still being investigated, it appears that they derive from alterations in hormone output. Relative to healthy sleepers, problem sleepers show a much greater release of cortisol (our “stress hormone”) and a lower amount of growth hormone (required to build tissues, as the name implies). Impaired glucose tolerance, decreased insulin sensitivity and low-grade inflammation are also all associated with impaired sleep. The combination of these factors makes it no surprise that poor sleep leads to poor health.

Now that you know how important sleep is, it’s time to make some positive changes! Try these tips and tricks to break your routine and get some well-deserved zzz’s:

1. Turn off ALL the lights: Complete darkness is required for our pineal gland to produce melatonin. Melatonin has been shown to not only be beneficial for sleep, but it also has anti-cancer properties.

2. Remove electronics: Cell phones, iPads, laptops, and pagers…whatever it may be, get it out of the room or at least a number of feet away from your head. Electronics are generally stimulating and their electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) can disrupt proper sleep waves and, once again, melatonin production.

3. Go to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night: Here’s some quick math for you – if you went to bed 30 minutes earlier every night, you would gain a total of 3.5 hours of extra sleep per week. That’s the equivalent of 2 extra full nights of sleep per month (14 hours!). Small changes go a long way. Enough said.

4. Do “calming” activities at night: Avoid watching T.V. or playing sports (if possible) right before bed. Instead, try reading, taking a hot bath or doing some deep breathing exercises before starting your bedtime routine.

5. Reduce caffeine and sugar: While many people know not to consume coffee in the afternoon or at night, few understand the impact that refined sugars and caffeine play at any point of the day. Try cutting back and notice the difference that it can make.

6. It’s all about routine: Don’t have a routine? Get one. You should aim to be going asleep and waking up around the same time each day…sleeping in on the weekend can be great, but don’t over do it. This will make the Monday to Friday grind that much more difficult. If you don’t have a great routine yet, start with small changes (ie. getting changed into bedtime clothing at the same time each night, brushing your teeth at the same time, reading for 5-10 minutes, etc). It doesn’t all have to be changed at once!

If you have made all of these changes and still find no success, there are many natural options that can help ease you into a routine, just be careful to not become reliant on supplements if you don’t absolutely need them.

Given that many people are familiar with sleep aids like GABA5-HTPL-Theanine etc., I thought I would mention a lesser-utilized sleep aid combination: B12 and Magnesium. B12 in its optimal form, methylcobalamin, actually helps to reset your circadian rhythm and normalize cortisol peaks. Methylcobalmin essentially resets your internal clock (very useful after the holidays to get you back in a rhythm!). When combined with magnesium, a well-known muscle relaxant, your body and mind can get back into a proper sleep routine much faster. This combination is also quite valuable in that most people have less than optimal levels of methylcobalamin and magnesium in their bodies to begin with.

*As always, if you are going to experiment and try some natural health products, be sure to speak with your doctor to ensure that they are safe for you. As a general rule of thumb, if you are on pharmaceutical medications for sleep and/or mood disorders and you don’t plan on seeing your doctor, don’t mix them with natural sleep aids. Many supplements share similar mechanisms of action with pharmaceuticals and, therefore, can be dangerous when mixed together.

Have you found a successful sleep aid or a trick that has forever improved your sleeping patterns? Share with us & leave a comment in the section below!

Image by © 2015 nenadaksic via DollarPhotoClub

Selected References:

Spiegel K, Leproult R, Van Cauter E. Impact of sleep debt on metabolic and endocrine function. Lancet 1999;354(9188): 1435–1439.

Van Cauter E, Spiegel K, Tasali E, Leproult R. Metabolic consequences of sleep and sleep loss. Sleep Med 2008;9(Suppl 1):S23–8

Knutson KL, Spiegel K, Penev P and Cauter EV. The metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep Med Rev. 2007 June ; 11(3): 163–178

Kessler RC, Berglund PA, Coulouvrat, C, Fitzgerald T, Hajak G, Roth T, Shahly V, Shillington AC, Stephenson JJ and Walsh JK. Insomnia, Comorbidity, and Risk of Injury Among Insured Americans: Results from the America Insomnia Survey. Sleep 2012; 35(6)

Sands-Lincoln M, Loucks EB, Lu B, Carskadon MA, Sharkey K, Stefanick ML, Ockene J, Shah N, Hairston KG, Robinson JG, Limacher M, Hale L, Eaton CB. Sleep duration, insomnia, and coronary heart disease among postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2013 Jun;22(6):477-86.

Fu X, Zhao X, Lu H, Jiang F, Ma X, Zhu S. Association between sleep duration and bone mineral density in Chinese women. Bone 2011 Nov; 49(5):1062-6.

McLean RR. Proinflammatory cytokines and osteoporosis. Curr Osteoporos Rep 2009;7:134–9.

Luciana Besedovsky & Tanja Lange & Jan Born Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch – Eur J Physiol (2012) 463:121–137

Cohen S, Doyle WJ, Alper CM, Janicki-Deverts D and Turner RB. Sleep Habits and Susceptibility to the Common Cold. Arch Intern Med. 2009 January 12; 169(1): 62–67

Published on January 20, 2014 on the AOR Blog by Dr. Colin O’Brien

FEATURED PRODUCT: Ultimate Maca Energy by Brad King

Ultimate Maca Energy 

Ultimate Maca Energy is made with 100% pure, traditionally sundried, natural and certified organic maca root grown exclusively in the Andean highland zones of Peru at altitudes of 14,000 ft. Ultimate Maca Energy maca root has many health benefits and scientifically tested properties. In addition to being a source of vitamins, minerals, protein, amino acids and complex carbohydrates, Ultimate Maca Energy also contains an impressive array of bioactive components and antioxidants, which are responsible for its numerous benefits.

The Various Benefits of Maca

Maca is a well-known and powerful adaptogen, which means that it is a substance that helps to increase the body’s natural resistance to environmental stresses. Recent human clinical studies have provided convincing scientific evidence supporting supplementation for healthy mood balance during menopause.

How Maca Works

Maca is loaded with vital nutrients in bioavailable forms which assist the body in its on-going process of regeneration, ultimately helping to replenish and recuperate from different problems and providing ultimate balance and wellbeing. Its actions focus mainly on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands, assisting the body in balancing hormones. This is where the main benefits associated with maca can be noted (e.g. mood balance).

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Ultimate Maca Energy is certified by the Natural Agricultural U
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FEATURED PRODUCT – Molkosan

An A.Vogel Super FoodMolkosan

By Josée Fortin, biochemist and naturopath

There is lots of talk these days about new super foods. Well, Molkosan® is one of them… but it’s hardly new! In 1947, Alfred Vogel was already very fond of his formula and repeatedly praised its beneficial qualities.

This Vogel favourite is made from natural lacto-fermented whey. This preserves the minerals contained in whey, including calcium, potassium and magnesium. Molkosan is rich in lactic acid, which is put to good use in dietetics and natural medicine. Alfred Vogel’s favourite whey formula has been reformulated to not only taste better, but also for added benefits.

 

How do we obtain Molkosan?

First, milk is curdled due to the action of special enzymes to obtain cheese and whey. The whey is then fermented with the help of our own licensed bacterial cultures which produce a high amount of lactic acid L (+). This is called the lacto-fermentation phase. Finally, we separate the whey from the protein and it is concentrated in a vacuum, preserving all of its qualities.

 

What does it do?

Fermented whey balances the body’s pH or acid-base level. High body
acidity has multiple causes, including excessive consumption of refined foods, insufficient water intake, lack of oxygen, excess chemical compounds in the environment (over 70,000 compounds) and, especially, a disrupted intestinal flora.

 

High body acidity is a sign that the pH of the intestine is too alkaline and that the alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and sodium are not properly assimilated. This is linked to a long list of health
problems, including poor stress management, sleep disorders, allergies, food intolerance, yeast infections, joint and muscle disorders (including cramps), osteoporosis, anaemia, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive tube inflammation, eczema and psoriasis, migraines, infections, bone fractures and gallstones.

 

Molkosan is rich in essential minerals, but its main action lies in
maintaining the intestinal pH balance, thus helping our body to absorb basic minerals found in our food. This, in turn, helps restore our entire body’s pH level. To be assimilated, basic minerals need to bind to mild acids – such as the lactic acid in Molkosan. Restoring our body’s pH level helps avoid or eliminate the health problems mentioned above. For example, a proper pH level in the mucous membrane of the digestive tract can help relieve heartburn and stomach ulcers.

 

Molkosan’s mild cleansing action can also help with weight loss. Our body
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Lacto-fermentation helps promote a healthy intestinal flora and slows the proliferation of fungus. Those friendly bacteria in the gut do a great job in helping ward off infections. Seventy percent of our immune system is found in the intestines!

 

Molkosan provides well-being from the inside through its gentle daily cleansing and pH-balancing action. It maintains a healthy intestinal flora; especially in the case of bacterial upset or gastric acidity. In addition, because Molkosan is lactose-free, it presents no digestive problems for lactose-intolerant or lactose-sensitive individuals.

 

Molkosan goes very well with Boldocynara and Stinging Nettle to create a great spring cleanse.  Before you start any cleanse you’ll want to make sure you Pretox

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