By Matt Cusano, Clinical Director
Sleep is our body’s primary source of natural recovery from stress. Research has shown that human beings need over eight hours of quality sleep every single night to properly recover cortisol levels. For every hour of sleep that is missed, Your cortisol and stress begins compounding onto each other day after day.
How can less than optimal sleep impair our health and performance?
- Decreased insulin sensitivity.
- Down regulation of sex hormones and thyroid.
- Decreased growth hormone and IGF production.
- Decreased leptin (Satiability hormone).
- Increased ghrelin (Hunger hormone).
- Increased cortisol.
- Decreased NEAT and overall calorie expenditure.
- Decreased energy and CNS activity.
- Decreased immune function.
- Increased blood pressure.
What are some ways we can improve sleep quality?
- Establish a healthy nighttime routine to support your natural circadian rhythm.
- Avoid blue lights such as cell phones and laptops too late at night.
- Aim to unplug your mind and turn off thoughts a few hours before bed (this is where meditation and breathing exercises can become beneficial).
- Aim to not eat your last meal too late prior to bed.
- Take a hot shower or a relaxing bath in the evening to help calm down.
- Sleep in a cool and dark room.
- Support vital neurotransmitters with supplements such as melatonin, GABA, tryptophan, and 5HTP