Getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is critical for health : specifically for your mood, cognition, even sanity. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also critically dependent on the number of hours you sleep.  Our bodies are literally ruled by the clock, the sunlight and darkness, to be more specific. Your body maintains a delicate balance of hormones that are vastly disturbed by lack of sleep. Your brain needs to undergo critical detoxification and elimination which predominantly occurs during deep sleep cycles. (Interestingly, exercise is the other activity which aids the brain in this homeostatic cleansing and detoxification.)

The brain has to eliminate metabolic waste products via a newly described glymphatic flow mechanism.  If the brain is unable to eliminate these neurofibrillary tangles and metabolic byproducts, the incidence of Alzheimers, Parkinsons and stroke go up alarmingly. In fact, the future of neurology will depend on harnessing and improving this glymphatic flow. To make it clear, the less you sleep- the higher your risk of cognitive brain degeneration. Optimizing your sleep will be discussed in a future blog, but a few cursory suggestions include : not eating too late, limiting bright lights, and computer lights in early evening, limiting caffeine, not watching stimulating tv shows or news, ensuring a pitch black bedroom and possibly taking melatonin.

Healthy body weight and metabolism are critically dependent on getting your 7-8 hours of dreamy slumber. Poor sleep will disrupt the balance between cortisol, insulin and melatonin. Insulin resistance leads to that belly weight gain that plagues so many. This apple shaped body indicates that visceral fat is accumulating around your vital organs choking out vital functions. Fatty liver is the more common name for visceral adiposity or apple shaped body habitus.  There is a relationship between elevated blood sugar ( insulin resistance ) and inadequate sleep. Sleep apnea is a cause of poor, disrupted sleep. The relationship between sleep apnea and insulin resistance and weight gain is well described. Lowering your  fasting blood sugar to optimal levels under 85, will improve sleep apnea and conversely treating sleep apnea will improve your  blood sugar and insulin resistance!

Prioritize your sleep hygiene starting now! It very definitely will improve graceful aging and is key to preserving healthy brain function,  metabolism and healthy weight.  There are a number of herbs that can be safely used to help with sleep , in addition to melatonin. Contact our office to help you achieve nocturnal bliss and preserve your sanity!

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