Lack Of adequate sleep could be the cause of many health problems including.
- Brain Fog
- Alway hungry
- Sick Often
After working the night shift for nearly 11 years, I definitely checked most of those boxes above and as an RN in the emergency room, you do not want any of those! You need to be alert, on your feet and ready for an emergency at a drop of a dime. You Have Lives In Your Hands!
As years went by I noticed how my mood and health was changing. I had to figure out why. I kept telling myself, “I’m not me anymore.” Yes, the stress of the ER can definitely change a person but this was something more.
I would notice that my sleep was not optimal… the worst that was, the worse I felt. Even my days off were spent lying on the couch like a slug. I didn’t want to go to social gatherings, visit family or do anything but sleep and eat.
I had to fix my sleep… Which means I had to understand sleep.
The 1st Concept To Understand Sleep is Circadian Rhythm
WHY IS YOUR CIRCADIAN SLEEP CYCLE SO IMPORTANT?!
For billions of years, the evolution of nearly all life forms on earth has been driven by the consistent rising and setting of the sun. This circadian rhythm governs our sleeping and eating patterns as well as the precise timing of important hormone secretions, brain wave patterns, and cellular repair and regeneration based on a 24-hour cycle. So much of the technology advaced world we live in now has disrupted some of the very processes we depend upon to stay healthy, happy, productive, and focused.
THE HEALTH COST OF LACK OF SLEEP
Research shows that disrupted sleep cycles contribute to the following:
Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease
- Release of metabolic hormones that regulate satiety and hunger are poorly regulated when sleep deprived. Your body decreases production of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food. At the same time, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.
- “The increase in type 2 diabetes risk associated with night shift work ranged from 5 percent in nurses who’d worked that schedule for one or two years to 58 percent in those who’d done so for at least 20 years.” https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001141
- There is research to suggest that carbohydrate consumption can go up by 35-40% after only four or five days of restricted sleep.
- A disfunction in your metabolic hormones and increase in obesity keeps us in a chronic inflammatory state.
Decreased immune function
- Overriding our biological clock makes you activate your “stress axis”, which is how your body reacts in a fight-or-flight situation. This sustained level of stress lowers our immune function and decreases our reaction time. During Sleep The immune system’s white blood cells kick into high gear, and macrophages and leukocytes multiply rapidly and induce healthy flora to prevail over harmful bacteria.
Impaired brain function, decrease reaction time, impaired memory and emotional control. Early cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
- Sleep deprivation is prone to serious driving accidents.
- Sleep activates the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which helps the body burn fat, enhances physical performance and aids in longevity.
- As you sleep, regions of the brain responsible for emotional and social function are rested so that you can face the day refreshed.
- Poor sleeping habits also tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone associated with road rage.
- A primary mechanism responsible for this effect is disrupted melatonin production, a hormone with both antioxidant and anti-cancer activity. Melatonin both inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells and triggers cancer cell apoptosis (self-destruction).
- This is even worse for nightshift workers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) even lists night shifts as “probably carcinogenic.” At least employers have caught on to this and are giving us a few extra bucks ( roughly $3-7 extra/hr for nurses 😔) for the added risks placed on night shift employees. Im being facetious of course.
How Can You Get Better Sleep
#1 Tip- Set Your Circadian Rhythm!
LIGHT EXPOSURE IS KEY HERE!
Red Wavelengths= Increase melatonin (sleep hormone)= sleepy time.
- Low temperature light that falls in the red-orange-yellow spectrum, such as candle light or fire light, helps release melatonin.
Blue Light =Decreased Melatonin= Awake and Alert.
- Sun, Television, computer screens, cell phones, digital clocks with blue numbers, e-readers and energy-efficient LED and fluorescent lightbulbs. Exposure to sun helps produce Vitamin D which affects melatonin production.
Knowing the different wavelengths we can understand how to use light during the day and at night to help with our sleep quality.
What to do before bed when the sun sets.
- DO NOT blast your eyeballs with more bright artificial lights by looking at your phone, watching TV or getting on the computer! If You Must -> then install the “night mode” on your smart devises or download a free software program called F.lux to automatically adjust your screen light. Set a timer to only allow a small amount of time on your electronics then switch to a book to read.
- PUT ON YOUR Blue blocking glasses- These are glasses with yellow lenses that filter out blue light. Or sun glasses with yellow lenses- they must wrap on the side of your eyes like goggles OR just get some goggles 🙂 Best budget friendly screen blockers, these glasses can go over your reading glasses.
- Avoid LED lights as much as possible!!! If you must choose LED get a warmer colored temperature.
- Turn Off Overhead Lights. Turn ON lamps with orange hughs.I love sea salt lamps.
**Doing The Above Will Help The Production Of Melatonin**
#2 TIP-YOUR BEDROOM
Make your bedroom pitch black! Think of your bedroom as a cave. It should be quiet, cool and dark.
- Install Blackout Drapes
- Close your bedroom door if light comes through it; if light seeps in underneath your door, put a towel along the base
- Get rid of your electric clock radio (or at least block its light while you’re sleeping). I use these to cover all small electronic lights in my bedroom.
- Avoid night lights of any kind. If you must have a night light put red bulbs in them.
- Keep all light sources off (even if you get up to go to the bathroom), including your computer and TV. Use Red/soft orange bulb colors for night light. I have a small Himalayan sea salt lamp on my bedside table. I flipped that on if I need it at night.
- Avoid any sources of electromagnetic radiation, i.e., all electrically driven appliances in your bedroom, especially when connected to the AC-operated main electricity. Electrical transformers, WiFi-controlled light bulbs and smartphones produce dirty electricity and dirty electromagnetic radiation, which interferes with melatonin production. I put my phone in airplane mode when I sleep.
Make your room cold.
- Take a warm shower or bath before. For Added bonus add some lavender oil and/or epsom salt. Use low orange lights/candles/salt lamp for light instead of the bright overhead lights.
- Suggested bedroom temperature should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Love This Cooling Device For Your Bed
Invest in a noise-canceling sound machine.
- Or use a smartphone app to play ocean or rain sounds as you fall asleep. I use my noisy fan at home or when Im traveling I like the app “white noise.” In our hunter gatherer days distracting noises were supposed to wake us up for safety reasons. Like not getting eaten by a lion.
You can find all my essential bedroom products that I use here
#3 TIP- When you wake up
- Loud, jarring alarms disrupt your natural sleep cycles and lead to sleep deprivation. If you must use an alarm, opt for rising to nature sounds rather than a blaring beep.
- Take a cold shower to help stimulate the central nervous system and naturally get the blood circulating.
- Open the curtains immediately and let sunlight in. I walk out on my porch to let the sunshine hit my face. DO NOT put sunglasses on. Your photo receptors need the light. (obviously don’t look directly at the sun). Read this article for alot of great gadgets to help mimic the rise and setting of the sun here “Why you should wake up to light.” Here is a great artificial light that you can use in the morning to replicate the sun.
WHY IS LIGHT SO IMPORTANT WHEN WAKING?
Light is registered first through the retina; the signal travels through the optic nerve to other regions of the brain, including the pineal gland that activates the release of serotonin. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol increase within the first 30 minutes of waking. This morning cortisol influx is a desirable genetic mechanism that prepares us for the energy demands of a busy day. Studies have shown to suggest that without a good dose of daily sun exposure, we do not produce optimal levels of melatonin.
Other Factors Related to Sleep and Overall health.
- GET YOUR Vitamin D Levels checked!!! Maintain a healthy level of 40 to 70 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) by trying to get sun exposure during the day, or with an oral vitamin D3 supplement (along with vitamin K2). My Vitamin D level was 15 when I worked nights!!!
- Vitamin D plays a central role in metabolizing calcium and improving the absorption of key nutrients such as vitamins A and C. It helps strengthen immunity, cardiac, and neurological function and ultimately, gene expression. It switches on—some 2000 genes! These genes can trigger elevated levels of feel-good hormones like beta-endorphins and serotonin.
- Your risk of cancer increases if your vitamin D levels are low. by acting on the extremely important P53 gene, known as the “DNA proofreader” gene. P53 is responsible for overseeing hundreds of millions of daily cell replications, informing cells when something has gone awry and instructing them to make necessary changes. It’s also involved in apoptosis, the natural self-destruction of superfluous or damaged cells before they become malignant. In the absence of vitamin D, however, the P53 gene will down-regulate—or turn off—and the risk of many forms of cancer, including melanoma, will dramatically increase.
- Get Sunlight its FREE – strive for somewhere between 10 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight between 10am-3pm. Expose large surface areas of the skin just long enough to get a slight tan.
- Avoid prescription sleeping pills as much as possible, as the side effects may cause more harm than good. Some of those drugs,like alcohol, will not allow you to go into necessary sleep cycles.Better alternatives include using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), listening to a brainwave synchronization tapes or trying a natural remedy that can help you relax. I use guided meditation and Yoga Nidra on YouTube. I also use essential oil‘s like lavender to spray on my bed before going to sleep.
- Take a nap– if I am able to step away at work I will usually go to my car, turn the air on and close my eyes with either a guided meditation playing or some kind of White Noise app playing. Naps are a wonderful way to recharge your brain.
- Supplements– there are some wonderful supplements on the market that are very clean and allow you to get into a restful state IF NEEDED. Once you implement the changes above, these will help supplement your already good sleep hygiene.
- Clean Nutra: A Complete All-In- One Sleep Support-love how clean of a supplement this is. It has both of my recommended sleep supplements in it PLUS so much more to help with calming and stress! PERFECT.
- Organifi Gold is a delightful adaptogenic cocktail made up of some of our world’s most powerful (and delicious) ingredients, designed to literally help you R&R Made of ingredients like Tumeric, Lemon Balm, Reishi Mushroom, and ginger, gold is designed to support relaxation, recovery and repair, while providing a delicious evening tea. This scientifically-backed formula… Promotes healthy response to stress Helps support calmness Helps promote restfulness and restful sleep.
Nightshift workers!!! Grab my Kindle E-Book Guide Just For Your Unique Needs
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