Recent studies have shown a link between poor sleep habits and weight gain as well as diabetes. You may wonder how these completely separate issues could be connected at all. The link is found in the critical changes the body and mind undergo when not enough sleep occurs and when you have an underlying condition that makes sleep difficult.
Common Causes Of Poor Sleep
While some patients may suffer from medical conditions that make sleep hard to get, others are simply suffering from a high volume of technology throughout their day. Think back to the old days; you got in bed and went to sleep with no distractions. Today, people climb into bed, surf the internet, watch tv, and play on their phone. Your brain sees the bright lights and associates it with daytime activities making sleep elusive to you.
Poor Sleep And Your Weight
The study shows that patients who have poor sleep at night, whether it is caused by insomnia or a medical condition known as sleep apnea, are more likely to eat in the middle of the night.
While a late night snack is not always a bad thing, these patients often crave foods that are high in carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are then stored as fat cells in your body increasing your risk of becoming obese.
The Link Of Poor Sleep And Diabetes
While linking weight gain to poor sleep may be an easy connection, many people do not see the link to diabetes. Poor sleep can cause a change in your metabolism, which can increase your insulin resistance. This prevents those high carbohydrate foods from being broken down properly. The longer your body has an elevated insulin resistance, the greater your chance of developing diabetes.
How Much Sleep Is Enough?
You have probably heard the saying that you should get eight hours of sleep each night. Studies show that this is not necessarily an accurate statement, but only an approximation. Each individual needs a different amount of sleep at night to be well rested. The number of hours you need to sleep depends on your age and the type of person you are.
To determine if you are getting the correct amount of sleep, you should evaluate how you feel each day. Do you crave carbs, sweets or fats? Are you well rested or do you find yourself wanting just ten more minutes of sleep in the morning? If you regularly crave these types of food and/or do not feel well rested in the morning, it may be time to get a couple more hours of sleep in each night. Going to bed and waking up around the same time each morning will also help you feel more rested and more stable throughout the day.
Treating Sleep Conditions
If you are suffering from any type of sleep disorder, specialists recommend being seen at a sleep clinic. These facilities are designed to monitor your brain, heart, and other vital organs to see what impact your sleep disorder has on them. They will then recommend a variety of medications and lifestyle changes that may help you to reverse the damages caused by your sleep condition.
Natural Sleep Remedies
Not having a good night’s prevents the body from recuperating and healing itself. Be sure to get solid, adequate sleep each night by regularly exercising and winding down and relaxing before bed time. Avoid caffeine after 3pm, take a warm bath or shower, drink chamomile tea or warm milk or read a book before bed. Having a cool (in temperature) room and no distracting lights (nightlight, phone, bright alarm clock) will also help. These natural sleep remedies will start you on your path to a peaceful and restful night’s sleep!
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Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.