London Personal Training

SLEEP The Missing Ingredient In Achieving The Body AND the Health You Desire

By Yvette Bass Coach Intern

'Only the Paranoid survive' T.S. Wiley

'As a mammal, you are hardwired to eat sugar, make babies, store fat and then sleep it off' T.S. Wiley

When you think of SLEEP what are your thoughts?

I don't get enough of it

I don't have time

I only manage to get 5 to 6 hours

I am so tired when I wake up

I can't sleep

Now take a minute to think what your HEALTH is like?

I suffer from headaches

I have digestive problems (IBS, heartburn, stomach aches)

I have depression or I feel very low

I have no energy

I have a serious illness, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes

Even though you may not be suffering from the above, without knowing it YOU might actually be ill. Today's perception of good health is so far removed from what it should be that most of us go through life without realising just how ill we actually are!

So what is GOOD HEALTH?

Lots of energy

Enthusiasm

Pain free from body aches

Strong and positive emotional state

Clear sense of surroundings

Joyous/happy

These are a few of what good health should represent. If you are one of the lucky few to tick these boxes then congratulations you have passed go and collected 100 points to living longer and experiencing life in harmony.

However as experienced by so many of you and you only have to read the papers , magazines to find evidence that we are living HALF the quality of life we should be living. From allergies, IBS, to more serious depression/suicide, Cancer/drug treatments, Alzheimer's, Heart Disease and the list goes on and on.

Have you ever stopped to think that SLEEP and YOUR HEALTH might be connected?

We have taken for granted that we need to sleep and what the benefits of it are. It was only back in 1910 when the average night sleep was nine and a half hours. Now days I bet you are lucky to even have a full nights sleep of about 6-7 hours.

So Why is sleep important for our health?

Well it is key to our health. Here's the scientific part-

Sleep is the process for hormone regulation. Our body has many hormones (chemical messageners), which control our bodily systems (immune, digestive, cardiovascular, brain, sexual, and so on). For example ESTROGEN MELATONIN INSULIN TESTOSTERONE PROLACTIN CORTISOL

Once you lose sleep your hormones are affected and they don't just spring back into the balance but it causes dysfunction of the body. Chemical processes will be altered for example your appetite, fertility, mental and cardiac state, this will lead to disease.

How do your hormones work?

Lets start with waking up in the morning. It 6.00am Cortisol (stress hormone) starts to rise to prepare you for daily activity, work or even fight (don't forget we were designed to fight for food). Cortisol rises with daylight in the morning or any light stimulus i.e. artificial light indoors. Cortisol levels should start to decrease from midday to low levels in the evening. Insulin should also follow a very similar pattern, which is achieved by reducing your carbohydrate meals in the evenings to limit fat storage of excess food not stored as energy.

With cortisol decreasing in the evening to a low, and Melatonin and Prolactin (causing growth and repair of body and brain chemistry) increasing from 10pm when you should be tucked up in bed. You then sleep soundly till 6am and you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for a new day.

However that was a picture of health. Remember you are not, because remember you ticked all those boxes of ill health at the beginning? Below is what actually is happening to you.

You wake up late and your stress hormones, cortisol is high. But instead of them coming down over the day they stay at a high level, due to room lights, working late, internet, TV. To which you are doing all this to about midnight and then probably having a late night snack increasing your insulin hormones and then you jump into bed and some of you wonder why you don't sleep and others of you crash. Well now that's happened you have missed out on the 2 hours of Melatonin production (body repair) and prolactin production is reduced to the hours left of your sleep. More Prolactin during the day = more carbohydrate cravings = FAT. This really needs to be a whole other article but Prolactin high in the day suppresses leptin a hormone that tells your body when you are full. Therefore your crave food as there is no control over your appetite. The worse thing about this is that Melatonin enhances leptin so your lack of sleep causes you too eat MORE. Can you feel the fat on those thighs now????

The longer days we are experiencing causes our hormones to increase our carbohydrate intake (alcohol also), which increases our fat stores to survive the upcoming winter (which thousands of years ago represented famine to our ancestors). Our metabolism and psychology will follow this pattern of behaviour no matter how hard you try to bring it into the MODERN 21st Century.

So let me tell you why you are lacking sleep:

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT turned night into day. This amazing invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison has actually started the plague of disease.

LIGHTS ON = NO SLEEP = NO REST = ILLNESS

Lack of pure darkness: There are always street lamps shining into your room, alarm clocks or even TV's on stand by light. You may think no way can that affect my sleep. Research has shown that even the smallest of light on the skin while you are asleep can affect the production of Melatonin (physical growth and repair).

Stimulants; Caffeine, smoking, sugar. They all excite your hormones and cause an increase in insulin and cortisol keeping your body in an aroused state and inhibiting a good nights sleep

Electromagnetic forces: Anything electrical e.g. TV, microwave, mobile, power lines, electric blankets and the list goes on. These stress your hormones and disrupt sleep.

So what are you going to do about it?

What if I told you that you have the ANSWERS already in YOU! They have been there since the beginning of time thousands of years ago, OUR ANCESTORS, when the world was absent from diseases. It is actually only the last 80 years that these diseases were known/reported about.

There are two components to consider first when trying to change your sleep lifestyle. They are LACK of sleep and Quality of sleep which are the two factors affecting your health.

Lack of sleep:

How do you honestly feel on a few hours of sleep? Losing sleep is like trying to catch a fast train- YOU CAN'T, this is what happens with sleep.

So you are probably thinking 'what is the ideal amount of sleep?

NINE AND HALF HOURS. YES, 9.5 HOURS OF SLEEP!

I know you are thinking that's impossible. But as mentioned above you need to sleep those amount of hours to allow your hormones to optimally function and to balance your bodily processes.

Quality of sleep:

How do you feel when you only managed to get tucked up into bed at midnight or even later, to then have to get up at 6 or 7am ???

So what time do you think you should go to sleep ??? THE ANSWER-

GO TO SLEEP BETWEEN 10.00-10.30PM MAXIMUM.

WHY?

Well again as discussed above you need Melatonin to be produced for physical recovery and repair of the cells in your body. Only when you fall asleep does Melatonin start to produce in the correct amounts. This hormone needs to be active for 3 hours prior to Prolactin being produced. Its essential that prolactin is produced for 6 hours to work in the body during sleep. That in total is 9 hours of sleep of which needs to start at 10pm.

So finally

Has this got you thinking?

Its time for you to know more about what can cause disease of today. It has to be about prevention rather than cure. ACT now on the two factors explained above and really start to see what GOOD HEALTH is supposed to be about. Making changes is not easy but then if your life is upside down I am hoping for YOUR sake YOU take immediate action.

WHY WOULD YOU NOT??????

On a final note the future is bright and if you are suffering from ill health with no known cause you might be able to reverse the problem by just changing YOUR lifestyle. Research has shown that we as humans are able to synchronise to a dysfunction in a small time scale of 7-21 days, so have a go now and you could start FUNCTIONING the way nature intended.

Until next time... happy sleeping

DaxMoy : Personal Trainer in London