Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wellness Wednesday / "Delia's Dose"

This Sunday we SPRING FORWARD! Sounds exciting…but we all know that it means we lose an hour of sleep! Sleep is very important and most people don’t get enough of it.  Lack of sleep can not only make you grumpy but it effects so many aspects of your life.

*It impairs your ability to pay attention, be alert, concentrate and problem solve. Remember those all- nighters you pulled in college…you THOUGHT staying up til 4am cramming for the 8am exam was the greatest idea in the world…NOT! Get this, as you sleep you go through various cycles, which actually help you remember things better. I think of it like this…all the things I did or learned that day get put in file folders in my mind while I sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep, you actually have trouble remembering  what you learned or experienced. Scientists refer to these as “ripples” in the brain, and specifically “sharp wave ripples” occur during the deepest levels of sleep. They help transfer learned information from one part of the brain, your hippocampus, to another part of your brain, the neocortex, which is where long-term memories are stored.  Try using that excuse, when you forget your wedding anniversary! “Honey, my sharp wave ripples aren’t working right!”

*Chronic sleep loss can put you at a higher risk for heart attack, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes!

*Lack of sleep can affect your sex drive. That’s all I’m gonna say about that!(which probably makes my boss very happy)
*Insomnia, the most common sleep disorder, is linked to high rates of depression.

*Little sleep can not only give you puffy eyes, but it can lead to fine lines and  dull looking skin. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. If you have too much cortisol in your system it can actually break down skin collagen. That’s the stuff that keeps your skin smooth and young looking.

*Apparently, “if you snooze, you lose” is a good thing when it comes to sleeping.  If you are getting enough good sleep, eating right and exercising you will lose weight! Lack of sleep actually increases your appetite and makes your crave high-fat, high carbohydrate foods. Ask yourself, the times in your life when you weren’t sleeping well, did you also have trouble maintaining your weight? This might explain why new mom’s who are sleep deprived have trouble losing that baby weight as fast as they’d like. Or perhaps you have a stressful thing going on at work or in your life and you find yourself grabbing those donuts in the employee break room or stopping through the drive thru for French fries! Take a NAP!

I know we live in a fast paced environment. I know we like to TELL ourselves, “Oh I can function on 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night..I’m fine.” But actually, less sleep affects our judgment, we THINK we’ve adapted to the 6 hours of sleep a night, but actually we aren’t functioning at our full capacity, we lose touch with how altered our state of mind has become. Sleep experts STILL say we need an average of 7-8 hours a night. If you aren’t sure how much YOUR body actually needs then try going to bed on the weekends and waking up WITHOUT an alarm. See when you wake up naturally. Now, don’t try this experiment after a night of drinking bourbon with your friends, since alcohol affects your ability to sleep may help you fall asleep just fine, but it affects your sleep cycles and your ability to actually get a RESTFULL night of sleep…not that I know from personal experience or anything…but that’s a whole other blog!

Have a Healthy Week…and don’t forget to set those clocks forward when you go to bed this Saturday night!

DISCLAIMER: Delia is not a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Registered Dietitian. She is simply a person dedicated to eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle. She loves to help and inspire others to do the same!

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