by JCC Association and Club One
You may be aware of how important sleep is to your health, but it’s not like exercise or nutrition. If you’re like most people in this technologically connected world, sleep is often not a priority.
Our perpetual state of sleep deprivation is cause for the prevalence of colds and flus due to suppressed immune systems that make us vulnerable to infection.
Lack of sleep has also been linked to heart disease due to the inflammatory response in our cardiovascular system. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. The underlying cause of diabetes is the body’s resistance to insulin, which is resembled in a body lacking in sleep.
Obesity has also been linked to lack of sleep. The culprits appear to be the hormones Ghrelin and Leptin. Under deprived conditions, ghrelin (appetite accelerator) increases while leptin (appetite suppressant) decreases. The undesirable balance produces a heightened sense of hunger.
How do we get quality sleep with our perpetually busy schedules? Try these not-so-obvious tricks to transport our body into a slumber faster and longer:
Boost Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D plays a role in the production of Melatonin (hormone responsible for quality sleep). Increase Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight (limit exposure) and foods such as fish, fortified cereals, and mushrooms.
Tryptophan for Dinner
This sleep inducing hormone is found in dairy products, oats, bananas, turkey, almonds, and more. You can also promote tryptophan production by eating complex carbohydrates.
Minimize Eating Within Two Hours of Bedtime
While you’re trying to fall asleep, your body is trying to complete the digestive process. Digestion inhibits the production of growth hormones–important for deep sleep and body healing. If you eat just before bedtime, limit fat intake; it’s harder for the body to digest.
Note: The information presented here is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a physician before starting any exercise. We suggest that you discontinue exercise immediately if you feel you’re exercising beyond your current abilities.