Wake Up! Time to Get More Z’s

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When was the last time you had a great night sleep? Are you too sleep-deprived to remember? Then this article is for you. Feeling tired is only one sign that you aren’t getting enough sleep. The effects of sleep loss run deep; it can affect your long-term health and your weight. Sleep disturbances, including insufficient sleep, poor sleep quality, insomnia, and especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) , are considered independent risk factors for the development and worsening of insulin resistance. OSA has been found to be as much as 30 times higher in women with PCOS (click here for more info on OSA and PCOS). One study showed that just a 5-day period of sleep deprivation caused abnormal glucose tolerance and worsening insulin levels.

Ways Sleep Loss Affects Health

  • Increases levels of inflammation
  • Increases the risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Alters appetite regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin
  • Causes weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Increases cravings for carbohydrates
  • Alters levels of melatonin, a powerful antioxidant that is generated during sleep

Tips For Better Sleep

Black out

Light affects levels of the hormone melatonin which plays a role in sleep. Remove all unnecessary electronics. Keep the clock light off or dimmed. Get blackout shades for the windows.

Unplug

Stop using stimulting electronics including TV’s, phones, and tablets at least 1 hour prior to shuteye.

Quiet time

Use ear plugs if your partner snores or other noises are affecting your ability to sleep.

Timing is everything

Go to bed at the same time each night. Make a point to go to bed earlier every night. It may require some effort but setting a cut-off to be in bed can be a key step to a great night sleep. Record your favorite show and shut off your computer and phones by a set time every night.

Adjust the Temperature

The ideal temperature for sleep is between 65-72 degrees fahrenheight. We all have an internal thermostat that lowers our body temperature while we sleep. A room that is too cold or hot will affect our body’s ability to achieve this set point. Layer accordingly. If you have a programmable thermostat, use it.

Calm down

Don’t just hop in bed and expect to fall asleep. Do some relaxing to clear your mind beforehand. Read a book, watch TV, or take a bath (too hot water will raise your body temperature and make it hard to sleep). It may be helpful to write down your thoughts and to do list ahead of time to get them out of your head.

Time for a new mattress or pillow?

The average mattress lasts up to 10 years. Waking up with back or neck pain? Tossing and turning and can’t get comfortable? Probably time for a new one. Memory foam mattresses, while pricey, are worth the investment. Funds tight? Splurge on a memory foam pillow. Choosing the right pillow can make a huge difference with pain relief and comfort.

Calm your senses

Create a serene environment. Minimize clutter and remove kid toys from your bedroom. Add relaxing accessories like candles, pictures and pillows. Don’t keep a desk in your room and avoid doing any stressful work there, if possible.

Don’t forget the protein

Consider having a small protein-rich snack or beverage at night close to bedtime. Protein helps stabilize blood sugar levels during the night which will prevent you from waking up from low blood sugar and hunger pains.

Oh Baby!

If you have a little one who doesn’t sleep through the night yet incorporating all the tips above still might not help you get enough sleep. We’ve been there and feel your sleep loss. What to do? Try and take naps during the day when the baby sleeps. Alternating with your partner between who gets up with the baby (and who can sleep and wear ear plugs) can also help you get a longer stretch of sleep. Hang in there. That cute bundle of joy will eventually sleep through the night -and so will you.

Hopefully these tips will help you sleep better. Feel free to let us know what has helped you get a good night sleep and what difference it’s made for your health.
Happy Z’s….

Sources:
Van Cauter E. Sleep disturbances and insulin resistance. Diabet Med. 2011.

Tasali E, Chapotot F, Leproult R, Whitmore H, Ehrmann DA.Treatment of obstructive sleep apnea improves cardiometabolic function in young obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Feb;96(2):365-74.

Pamidi S, Aronsohn RS, Tasali E. Obstructive sleep apnea: role in the risk and severity of diabetes. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Oct;24(5):703-15.

Spiegel K, Tasali E, Leproult R, Scherberg N, Van Cauter E. Twenty-four-hour profiles of acylated and total ghrelin: relationship with glucose levels and impact of time of day and sleep. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Feb;96(2):486-93.

Aronsohn RS, Whitmore H, Van Cauter E, Tasali E. Impact of untreated obstructive sleep apnea on glucose control in type 2 diabetes. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Mar 1;181(5):507-13.

Spiegel K, Tasali E, Leproult R, Van Cauter E.Effects of poor and short sleep on glucose metabolism and obesity risk. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2009 May;5(5):253-61.

Tasali E, Van Cauter E, Ehrmann DA. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Sleep Med Clin. 2008 Mar;3(1):37-46.

Tasali E, Leproult R, Spiegel K.Reduced sleep duration or quality: relationships with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Mar-Apr;51(5):381-91.

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