Is Your Sleep Cycle Causing You Harm?

Getting a full eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night is something that many of us are aware that we need to do, but the reality is that it is not always achievable!

There are many reasons why you might not get enough sleep – or enough good quality sleep. This could be because of a busy schedule that keeps you up late, a young child that wakes during the night, or perhaps disturbances from other sources, such as noisy neighbours!

Whatever the reason for a poor sleep cycle, it is important to address and work to resolve the problem in order to preserve and boost your health. The following issues can quickly appear when you are sleep deprived, and can lead to further health issues.

Fatigue

Fatigue can often be accompanied by a short temper and a lack of focus, which can quickly cause problems during your day! Being fatigued can also become a safety issue as your ability to drive and complete other tasks will become impaired.

Obesity

Studies have shown that those who sleep less tend to be at a higher risk of obesity. It has been suggested that this is because there is a higher presence of leptin when a person is sleep deprived. Leptin is the chemical that makes you feel full. Sleep deprivation also causes increased levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.

Illness

If a poor sleep cycle is a consistent problem then your immune system will soon become compromised and your overall health will suffer. This can contribute to the onset of relatively small health problems, such as a cough or cold, but can also lead to much more significant issues over time, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The risk of developing diabetes appears to be particularly prevalent in those who regularly sleep for less than five hours each night.  This is thought to be because a lack of sleep changes the way that the body processes glucose.

If you are aware that your sleep cycle is becoming damaging to your health, and your life in general, then it is important to take steps to improve the length and quality of the sleep that you enjoy. This is something that I will be discussing in a blog post next week, so check back soon!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Weight Control and Your Body!

As January creeps by and 2014 truly sets in, many people will have already given up on that New Year’s Resolution diet! It is an unfortunate fact that dieting doesn’t work the same for everyone. If you’re struggling to reach your diet goals then it could be more than a seasonal lack of motivation holding you back. Unfortunately an incorrect thought process has been adopted by the masses that weight control is a simple matter of calories in versus calories used up. This is a dramatic over simplification of how our bodies work and you are unlikely to reach your desired weight if this is your primary approach.

If you’re doing all you can to keep your weight under control but are still not achieving results then consider the following six possibilities. If you feel like one of them applies to you then arrange a consultation with your doctor and you could soon be on your way to being in control of your health!

1)      The gut is a very complicated portion of the body and the smallest of problems in this area can upset the digestive balance entirely. This can lead to a whole range of further problems. The gut is home to literally billions of various bacterium and studies have shown that this bacterium can be partially responsible for your weight maintenance. Further research is underway to fully understand how the gut extracts energy from food in relation to the bacteria’s ability to influence weight gain or loss.

2)      Leptin is the scientific name given to the hormone that fat cells produce. When leptin is produced it tells the brain to begin using existing fat stores for energy. Sound simple? Sadly it’s not. Leptin resistance can take place which results in the body entering starvation mode and attempting to store more fat instead. Eating a diet that is high in sugar and processed foods is likely to lead to leptin resistance. By consuming nutritious plant based foods and avoiding any products that could cause your blood sugar levels to spike, you can have more control over your leptin signalling.

3)      It is essential that your thyroid be functioning correctly when properly managing your weight. The thyroid is typically the first thing that a health care professional will check for when you are trying to determine a medical reason for why you are not losing weight. If your thyroid hormones are at a normal level then this immediately rules out your thyroid as a cause. This is a very simple thing to check for and can be easily eradicated as a possibility.

4)      Heightened levels of cortisol in your system can also be a reason for why your body is holding on to excess weight. Excessive levels of cortisol occur when the adrenal glands are not functioning properly. Stress is the primary reason why the adrenal gland function may go awry and making appropriate lifestyle changes can help to get this under control.

5)      Similar to leptin resistance, insulin resistance can also have an adverse effect on weight management. This happens when your body is producing insulin but is not using it as it should. This problem is associated with type II diabetes, but can also take place in people who have not yet reached the full diabetic diagnosis. Insulin by nature is a fat storing hormone so when type II diabetes begins to develop, it can become near impossible to lose or even maintain your weight.

6)      The presence of toxins in your body can have a surprising effect on weight loss efforts. Toxins contribute to several of the aforementioned issues and can exacerbate existing problems. For example, when toxins enter the body they are likely to attach themselves to fat cells which will cause the cells to over produce leptin.