Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Importance of Sleep!

Hey Everyone!

Thank you for so many nice emails over the holidays and the new year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season filled with much love and peace!

I spent Christmas in Nashville with my family and then ventured out west to spend New Year's in Seattle with Chris's family. It was so amazing to spend time with his friends and family and I feel wonderful after sleeping so much and eating delicious seafood for lunch and dinner every day.

On the subject of sleeping...I have a few notes to share with all of you. My blood sugars were a whopping 28% better the week after Christmas than they were the week before Christmas. Why? Well... obviously the stress of exams and the holidays has a lot to do with this but additionally, the quality and quantity of my sleeping changed drastically from the first week to the second.

Outsmart Diabetes suggests that you can "Sleep Down Your Sugars." A possible New Year's Resolution?? Here are the highlights:
1. Sleep less than 6 hours on most nights and you're 3 times more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels. Even one sleepless night can interfere with your body's ability to use insulin (and therefore regulate glucose)
2. The best strategy to improve sleep? Hit the sack and get up at the same time every days- even on weekends. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule keeps your biological clock in sync so you rest better.
3. Skip Starbucks after lunch. The caffeine from your favorite latte can stay in your system for about 8 hours; even if you can fall asleep, you may not be resting soundly. (Alcohol has the same effect). Three nights of disturbed sleep can lead to a 23% increase in blood sugar levels.
4. Exercise Regularly, but not within 4 hours of bedtime. Be sure to finish your workout about 3-4 hours before bedtime; exercising in the late afternoon is best for achieving deeper sleep
5. Lower the temperature. If the temperature in your bedroom rises above 75 degrees or falls below 54 degrees while you are sleeping, you might wake up. Scientists agree that sleeping in a slightly cooler room is better.
6. Unwind before bed. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine to help your body transition from active and anxious to calm and drowsy. Try taking a warm bath or shower- it'll help relieve muscle tension and temporarily raise body temperature
7. Avoid late night snacking. Finish dinner at least 2-3 hours before you lie down and limit evening snacks to 200 calories or less. Too much food too close to bedtime can make you feel uncomfortable and keep you awake... and too little rest can make you eat more. Studies show that sleep deprivation raises levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates your urge to eat) and lowers leptin (which tells your brain you're full) - a bad combo!
8. Hit the lights. When you are ready to turn in, go for blackout curtains and shut down the laptop, move the charging cell phone into another room, flip the digital clock around... the glow from your electronics is enough to delay the release of sleep promoting melatonin.

Don't skimp on sleep!

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