Healthy Living Advice

Tips for health, strength, weight-loss, and nutrition

Weekly tip to get you ready for summer - Sleep

Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing. Yet millions of people don’t get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. 40 percent of adults experience daytime fatigue and sleepiness bad enough to effect their daily lives a few days each month, 20 percent of those people having to have a few days off work a week.

Irritability, moodiness and disinhibition are some of the first signs a person with a lack of sleep will feel. More lack of sleep can lead to experience apathy, flattened emotional responses, impaired memory and an inability to be novel or multitask.

Other effects lack of sleep can have on the body include:

  • Inflammation in the body.
  • Lowering of testosterone, DHEA and growth hormone levels, all important hormones involved in repairing your body.
  • Increase in both insulin and cortisol, leading to increased mid-section fat, and insulin resistance.
  • Increase risk of breast cancer risk.
  • Poor sleepers receive fewer promotions, earn less, miss more days of work, and have decreased productivity.


Everyone’s individual sleep needs are different. Most people are built for being awake for 16 and asleep for 8. Some people are able to function without sleepiness or drowsiness with as little as 6 hours sleep and others have trouble after getting a whole 10 hours.

Stress is the number one cause of short-term sleeping difficulties. Triggers include work related pressures, a financial, family or marriage problem and a serious illness or death in the family. Usually the sleep problem goes away when the stressful situation passes. But if short-term sleep problems such as insomnia aren't managed properly at the start they can have longer lasting effect after the original stress has gone.

Other triggers are:

  • Drinking alcohol or caffeine in the afternoon or evening. 
  • Exercising close to bed. 
  • Following an irregular waking and sleeping pattern. 
  • Working on the computer or doing other mentally intense activities right before or once in bed can disrupt sleep.
  • Bright lights or looking at computer or phone screens close to bedtime  


Environmental factors such as room tempter, noise level and brightness play major rolls in effecting sleep. Interruptions from children or other family members also doesn’t help.

According to the DSM IV, some psychiatric disorders have fatigue as a major symptom. Included are: major depressive disorder (includes postpartum blues), minor depression, dythymia, mixed anxiety-depression, SAD and bipolar disorder.

Hitting SNOOZE over and over is NOT the best way to wake up in the morning. “The restorative value of rest is diminished, especially when the increments are short,” said psychologist Edward Stepanski, PhD. The on and off again effect of dozing and waking causes shifts in the brain-wave patterns. Snooze button addicts are likely to have impaired mental functioning during the day.

Here are some easy techniques to get you sleeping easier:

  1. Don’t drink or eat caffeine after 2 or 4pm and minimize daytime use.
  2. Stay away from grains and refined sugar snacks before bed.
  3. Sleep in a bat cave (darker the better).
  4. Minimize the electrical fields around your bed.
  5. Don’t smoke, especially near bedtime or if you awake in the night.
  6. Avoid alcohol and heavy meals before sleep.
  7. Exercise regularly.
  8. Stretch in the evening to help relax you.
  9. Minimize noise, light and excessive hot and cold temperatures where your asleep.
  10. Aim to keep a regular sleep/wake schedule and get to bed earlier.
  11. Supplementing with Magnesium will also help relax you 1 or 2 capsules with dinner.


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