How You Can Optimize Your Sleep
To improve your sleep, we take a multi-faceted approach, including technology, nutrition, balancing hormones, exercise, and medication when needed.
Are you Sleep-Deprived?
You're not alone. Many people experience a lack of sleep, and it can be detrimental to their health. Sleep deprivation can cause irritability, mood swings, difficulty focusing, and even reduce your sex drive!
None of that sounds fun, but insufficient sleep is treatable. iThriveMD offers insomnia treatment in San Diego to help you fix sleep disorders.
Signs That You're Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you're unable to fall asleep at night or keep waking up at odd hours, you're probably well aware of the fact that you're not catching enough ZZZ's. But for some, a lack of sleep is less apparent.
Many busy professionals think five hours a night (or less) is more than enough, but that's not the case. There are signs and symptoms of lack of sleep you may be overlooking. Some symptoms include:
- Memory Issues
- Mood Swings
- Weight Gain
- High Blood Pressure
- Weakened Immune System
How much sleep you need will depend on a variety of factors. Your age group, activity level, and overall health play a role in how many hours you'll require. In general, healthy adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night, but we'll break it down by specifics below.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The patterns of sleep and wakefulness are different for each individual, but the following list should help you assess your sleep levels. Other age groups need different amounts according to the National Sleep Foundation's guidelines, as shown.
- Children: 9 - 11 hours
- Teens: 8-10 hours
- Adults: 7-9 hours
- Seniors: 7-8 hours
The Importance Of Sleep
There's a common saying busy people like to spread. It goes something like, "I'll sleep when I'm dead." But the truth is we need to sleep to make life all it can be! Without a reliable sleep schedule, we tend to walk about like zombies.
The Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Science tells us that lack of sleep can lead to cognitive impairment. Your ability to pay attention suffers when your sleep quantity is less than optimal. And, you might have trouble with memory when sleep cycles are interrupted.
Studies also show that those experiencing disrupted sleep or sleep deprivation have a heightened stress response and are more likely to experience mental health problems like anxiety or depression.
The inability to sleep can lead to physiological issues, too, like hypertension and weight gain. There's some evidence that it can even be a contributing factor in developing cancers as well as gastrointestinal problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Sleep Deprivation Cause Weight Gain?
That's right. Sleep deprivation can lead to gaining weight! See, optimized sleep helps regulate both your neuroendocrine function as well as your glucose metabolism. That means it affects your hormones and how you process sugar.
When sleep quantity is less than optimal, your insulin sensitivity and glucose sensitivity decline as well. At the same time, cortisol levels rise.
Together, this creates a near-perfect storm for gaining weight and puts you at risk for diabetes. Studies that show links between poor sleep and obesity are numerous.
The Power of Sleep Tracking
Tracking sleep is the first step in figuring out how to improve it. A sleep tracker helps us make recommendations on how to fix it.
By using a simple sleep tracker, we can measure things like:
- Total Sleep
- How often you wake up at night
- When you wake up at night
- How much time you spend in each part of the sleep-wake cycle
Sleep cycles are essential to track and pay attention to because not all sleep is the same. During REM sleep and deep sleep, your body repairs itself, preparing you for the next day. It's essential to know how much time you spend in each to fix any sleep problems you're experiencing.
It's not usually the first choice, but sometimes medication is the best route for treating insomnia. There are several types of drugs that may help you fall asleep or stay asleep, depending on your issue.
Our team will work with you to find a medication that fits your unique needs combined with diet and lifestyle changes.
Hormones play a significant role when it comes to treating insomnia. As mentioned above, sleep and neuroendocrine function are intertwined.
Sometimes fluctuations in hormones like testosterone, progesterone, and cortisol are behind your sleep difficulties. By balancing your hormones, you may find you get better quality sleep.
Optimize Your Nutrition
If you're not sleeping well, you may have noticed you're more apt to reach for sugar and caffeine either in the morning or late afternoon. This makes sense; you're tired and craving quick-energy foods.
Unfortunately, reaching for those types of snacks won't do you any favors. They tend to be disruptive to sleep and can cause weight gain in the long term.
Our team will put together a personalized nutrition plan to help you fix your diet. They'll also address vitamin deficiencies using vitamin IVs. Since vitamin deficiencies and dehydration can be a cause of poor sleep.
Schedule Your Consultation
Poor sleep isn't just an inconvenience; it's a significant health risk. Insomnia can lead to all sorts of problems, from cardiovascular disease to obesity. So it's crucial to try and achieve better sleep health.