Sleep is so, so, important! We can’t stress this enough. Sleep affects our mind and bodies in significant ways. Many people take melatonin, a supplement that helps restore optimal melatonin levels in the body and prevent sleep disturbances. Melatonin is a natural substance that comes from the pineal gland (in the brain) and is vital for our sleep-wake cycle. But as we get older, melatonin production decreases, which is why supplementing is a great way to restore these levels and get a better sleep.
The human body has many incredible processes. One of those is our internal clock that controls your natural cycle of sleeping and waking hours. Our body clock dictates how much melatonin we make. Melatonin levels usually increase in the mid-later evening, staying high for the night and then decreasing in the morning. This production is affected by light. In the shorter days of the winder, our bodies produce more melatonin earlier in the day, which is why we often feel tired earlier. This can also lead to symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (“winter blues”). Melatonin supplements can help you sleep when you need the sleep (at night).
Why should we care about getting plenty of sleep? Because sleep deprivation can have many mental and physical health effects on the body.
Are you sleep deprived? Here are 11 signs that you are.
1. You’re starving all day!
Your brain has a tricky way of trying to get more energy. If it can’t get the energy it needs from sleep, it will try to get it from food hence making you feel hungry. When you’re low on energy, a hormone known as the “hunger hormone”, called ghrelin, can increase making you crave fatty and sugary goods. Lack of sleep can also affect the hormone leptin, which affects your satisfaction of food.
2. Uh oh! You find the number on the scale going up.
Increased appetite leads to weight gain. You make poor food choices when you’re exhausted, craving fried, sugary and fatty foods. A lack of sleep also affects your metabolism, slowing it down. One study even found that going with just four hours of sleep for four days in a row can reduce your bodies ability to respond to insulin (which regulates energy) by 30%.
3. Your decision making is impulsive.
When you’re tired, you tend to act without thinking it through first leading to poor decision making. Have you ever felt exhausted and then found yourself lashing out at a spouse? Yea, that was likely due to your lack of sleep!
4. Your memory sucks.
You probably can’t remember where you put your keys, or what you did on the weekend since you were so tired, you weren’t paying enough attention to what’s going on to make a memory. Sleep is crucial to brain health. Studies have shown that sleep helps clear toxic molecules from the brain, in mice. Yet another reason to make sure you get a proper sleep.
5. You can’t make up your mind.
Lack of sleep affects speed and cognitive processing. This means that your ability to do functions such as problem solve, manage your time become difficult. You won’t be quick to make good decisions if you’re sleep deprived and the accuracy of your decision will suffer.
6. Your coordination and motor skills are affected.
Tripping over your feet in the office? More than once? You’re sleep deprived and can’t focus on where you’re going, most likely. When you’re tired, your reaction time and concentration decreases and you feel clumsy.
7. Your mood is out of whack.
You might feel like you can’t control your emotions, this is because you become over-reactive to emotional stimuli when you’re sleep-deprived. You may feel anxiety, sadness or anger over things that you normally wouldn’t get so worked up about.
8. You keep getting sick.
Your immune systems suffers big time when you are sleep deprived. Your body requires sleep to fight off infections, colds and other sicknesses. One study found that people who got less than 7 hours of sleep a night were 3x likely to develop a cold than those who got 8 hours or more.
9. Your eye sight seems off.
When you’re tired, you can’t control the muscles of the eye very well. The ciliary muscle is likely tired out from no sleep and is unable to help you focus normally. You may experience double vision, and difficulty reading up close if you are sleep deprived.
10. Your skin isn’t looking glowy and smooth.
Skin repairs itself when we sleep, so not getting enough will affect the repairing process. Also, a lack of sleep messes up your hormones and elevates estrogen levels which causes breakouts. What’s even more, your skin can appear older with a lack of sleep over long periods of time. Your body produces collagen while you sleep, which keeps the skin looking youthful. It ain’t called beauty sleep for no reason, folks!
11. You nod off throughout the day.
This can be extremely dangerous in some situations such as when driving. Nodding off for a few seconds without being aware is called micro-sleep. This is the brain’s way of saying, “hey, we’re exhausted. I’m going to sleep no matter what you want.”
It’s time to take your sleep seriously for your health! If you are struggling to sleep, here are a few tips:
1. Take melatonin supplements.
2. Have a warm bubble bath before sleep to relax and get into that sleepy mood.
3. Turn off all electronics an hour or so before bed. Try reading a book in bed instead of watching TV!
4. Have a cup of hot tea before bed.
What are you tips to get a good night sleep?
Sweet Dreams from The Anti Aging Central Team!