Every morning when that repugnant alarm clock blares its offensive sounds at your face, you summon your favorite four-letter word as you grumble and heave yourself out of bed. Morning came too soon, you don’t feel rested, and all you want is to snuggle up and let sleep take you back under.
But according to everyone you’ve ever spoken to, this is normal, right? Everyone wakes up feeling like a pile of poo, and then they make it through the day so they can come home to flop onto the couch...right?
What if we told you it doesn’t have to be this way? In fact, your body was built to feel good naturally. You were made to wake up feeling fantastic. You deserve to not just “make it” to the end of the day, but to enjoy life and all the moments it has to offer. So when you’re experiencing life on a less than stellar level, it’s supposed to be a sign that something is out of whack.
Your Circadian Rhythm
You’ve probably heard mention of your circadian rhythm or internal clock. This bodily function has more effect on your overall health than scientists once thought. You might be asking why is the circadian rhythm important?
We all have a master clock called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, that receives information directly from our eyes. This is why our biological clocks, and therefore our circadian rhythms, are mainly affected by daylight cycles.
There exist other biological clocks throughout your entire body operating on a cellular level in your organs and tissues. These clocks have a big say in your circadian rhythms and their timing. When these clocks have to battle the master clock with changes in your light-dark cycle they can speed up, slow down, or reset entirely. This is what throws off your circadian rhythm.
Health Conditions Caused by Poor Sleep
When your body doesn’t get the time it needs to repair from the day through high quality sleep, the effects can make you sick. Some of the common sleep related chronic illnesses are listed below.
OBESITY: DISRUPTION IN YOUR HUNGER HORMONES
Leptin is the hormone that suppresses your appetite and ghrelin is known as the hunger hormone. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation lowers a person’s leptin levels and increases their ghrelin levels. This can lead to poor appetite regulation and therefore an increase in BMI.
TYPE 2 DIABETES: CHANGING YOUR GLUCLOSE TOLERANCE
Studies found that people with a shorter sleep duration have impaired glucose tolerance. This led to a higher prevalence of diabetes, which is why scientists believe that sleep restriction is a contributing factor in the burden of diabetes on public health.
HEART DISEASE: ASSOCIATED WITH ARTERY DAMAGE
Although the underlying causations of the effects of sleep deprivation on the cardiovascular system aren’t completely understood, there is a consistent relationship between lack of sleep and coronary heart disease. A common finding was the thickening of arteries.
DEPRESSION: LESS SLEEP, HIGHER RISKS
Conclusions drawn from studies of insomnia and depression link the two conditions together. It is suggested that a person’s risk of developing depression is much higher when they do not get enough sleep.
OTHER EFFECTS OF POOR SLEEP QUALITY
Lack of good sleep is also connected to a number of other conditions that can make you sick as well.
- Poor Immune function due to lack of cellular repair.
- Increased inflammation, which can cause chronic issues such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
- Decline in cognitive function, equal to that of driving under the influence.
- Metabolic disorders, which happen when the circadian rhythm is maligned with other behavioral patterns such as eating, light exposure, exercise, and sleep.
Reset Your Internal Clocks - 8 Tips For Higher Quality Sleep
LESS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE DAY
It’s true - that blue light from your phone really is messing up your internal clocks. Like we read earlier, your SCN responds to what your eyes intake and is regulated by your light-dark cycles. Meaning, when it gets dark outside and you turn off the lights in your bedroom, your body knows that it’s time to get that melatonin flowing. Try lowering the lights and limiting your screen time the closer you get to bedtime.
WORKOUT DURING THE DAY
Regular exercise that gets your heart pumping is considered to be a highly effective way to improve mood, sleep quality and overall quality of life, offering more benefits than prescription sleep aids. On the flip side of that, it increases our wakefulness and energy during the day because of the release of the hormones epinephrine and adrenaline. However, since these hormones are released when exercising they conflict with your sleep hormones, so it’s not a good idea to work out close to bedtime.
INCREASE TIME IN THE SUNLIGHT DURING THE DAY
Bright light exposure in timed cycles is proven to increase daytime alertness and evening fatigue, much like exercising during the day. This ties back into your master clock’s influence from light-dark cycles. Think about your childhood summers, how you would spend all day outside, in the sun, running around with your friends or on your bike. If you didn’t come home exhausted and a little crispy at the end of the day, you probably missed out on some major fun.
STOP DRINKING CAFFEINE LATE IN THE DAY
Caffeine stays in your system for at least 6 hours after consuming. This can interfere with your clocks’ natural cycles by inhibiting your natural melatonin levels. The recommended cut-of time for caffeinated drinks is 2pm to allow your body to cleanse itself before it’s time to start winding down for the evening.
ELIMINATE LONG NAPS
While thirty minute power naps can greatly improve your productivity, long intervals of sleep during the day can seriously screw up your circadian rhythms. Some individuals reported feeling more sleepy after daytime naps that lasted longer than thirty minutes.
GO TO SLEEP & WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME
Neither your master clock nor your other biological clocks throughout your body appreciate inconsistency in your schedule. Your body thrives on routines. So when you’re constantly changing the plan, it makes life difficult for you. You feel it in that daytime sleepiness and dependence on afternoon caffeine boosts. Treat your body with respect and it will return the favor with good feelings throughout the day.
The following supplements help induce relaxation and improve sleep quality. Try incorporating them into your nighttime routine about thirty minutes before you wiggle under the covers.
- Ginkgo Biloba - Evidence suggests that this may help reduce stress and aid in relaxation.
- Magnesium - Not only does magnesium help you relax, it can also combat a lot of the health concerns that come with poor sleep including diabetes, inflammation, and depression.
- Lavender - While studies are still underway, lavender compounds have shown a multitude of potential therapeutic effects especially regarding sleep. Our Organic Beef Bone Broth Elixir, like all of our broths, is infused with holistic medicinal herbs - primarily lavender. Give it a try and feel your stress melt away.
NO ALCOHOL BEFORE BED
We know.. That glass of wine can be awfully tempting after a long day. Unfortunately, it messes with your melatonin and HGH production, interrupting your circadian rhythm. This is what might be contributing to that ugly waking feeling you experience in the mornings. Do yourself a solid and switch to a warm, soothing (caffeine-free) beverage to wind down from the day.
You Only Get One Body
Treat it like precious treasure. You get out of it what you put in, which makes it your most important investment that needs a lot of TLC. Remember that taking the time to take care of yourself is what gives you the energy and ability to take care of others. Rest. Repair. Recover. Repeat.