Sleep - Your Missing Link? | Nutrition Coaching in Kirkland & Bellevue

We all have such busy lives that it’s often tempting to cut back in an area that’s vital to good health: our sleep. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision; other times the culprit is not being aware of good sleep hygiene or lack of knowledge as to the detrimental effects of poor sleep.

Sleep is imperative for brain detoxification. We sleep because the body and brain need to detox from the days’ activities. Interestingly, our brain is ONLY working on detox while we sleep. Says researcher, Dr. Maiken: “The brain only has limited energy at its disposal and it appears it must choose between two different functional states ~ awake and aware, or asleep and cleaning up.” “You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain the guests or clean the house, but you really can’t do both at the same time.” ☺

Loosing even one hour of sleep a night negatively impacts over 500 genes! 7 & ½ - 9 hours a night appear to be a healthy amount to sleep. Getting less than that impacts genes associated with inflammation, immune response, and stress, causing them to become more active. Genes associated with diabetes and cancer also increase. Research shows that once good sleep is restored the negative gene markers retreat!

Is there such a thing as too much sleep? While getting less than 7 hours of sleep is associated with mental and physical hazards, regularly getting more than 9 hours of sleep is associated with higher mortality rate. I believe the emphasis should be on the word ‘regularly’, as we all have the need for extra sleep if we’ve been on a long hike or had a stressful week at the office.

Using Blue Light to promote better circadian rhythms. If you don’t sleep well because you do shift work or travel a lot, or possibly have misbehaving hormones, using a blue light on a regular basis can promote better quality of sleep and enhance your life. I highly recommend the Phillips Go-Lite. Depending on your personal profile, the blue light is used either in the morning or 2-3 hours before bed.

Sleep Hygiene is vitally important! Just as it’s important not to eat, drink alcohol or exercise too close to bedtime, it’s very important to remember to shut off all electronic devices 60 – 90 minutes before bed. Your cell phone, tablet, computer, and even TV emit a blue light that will prevent a good nights’ sleep. Sweet dreams and good health!

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