We know that good sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. Some of the benefits of good sleep include:
- Improving cognitive function: Sleep helps to consolidate memories and improve learning and concentration.
- Boosting physical health: Sleep is essential for the body to repair and regenerate. Adequate sleep can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Enhancing emotional well-being: Sleep is essential for regulating emotions and mood. Adequate sleep can help to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
- Improving athletic performance: Sleep is essential for physical recovery, and adequate sleep can help to improve athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.
- Improving the immune system: Sleep helps to boost the immune system, which can help to fight off infections and illnesses.
- Helping with weight control: Adequate sleep helps to regulate hormones that control appetite, which can help to prevent weight gain.
It’s important to note that it is important to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night for most adults and for children and teenagers, the range is even wider.
Good Sleep on the Cellular Level
The benefits of sleep are so essential to health, and here’s a closer look as to why that is the case. There are several cellular mechanisms that take place while we are sleeping that are essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Some of these mechanisms include:
- Memory consolidation: Sleep is essential for consolidating memories and learning new information. Research has shown that sleep helps to transfer new information from short-term memory to long-term memory.
- Protein synthesis: Sleep is essential for protein synthesis, which is the process of building new proteins. Proteins are essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of cells in the body.
- Cell repair and regeneration: Sleep is essential for the repair and regeneration of cells in the body. Research has shown that sleep helps to increase the production of growth hormone, which is essential for cell repair and regeneration.
- Hormone regulation: Sleep is essential for regulating hormones in the body. Research has shown that sleep helps to regulate the production of hormones such as melatonin, cortisol, and growth hormone, which are essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.
- Immune system function: Sleep is essential for boosting the immune system, which helps to fight off infections and illnesses. Research has shown that sleep helps to increase the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and illnesses.
It’s important to note that all of these mechanisms are interconnected and rely on one another to work effectively.
So what are some solutions to getting better sleep?
You may have heard of some OTC sleep aids and perhaps have considered them. Unfortunately, sleep aids can be harmful to health for several reasons:
- Dependence: Some sleep aids are habit-forming, which means that the body becomes dependent on the drug to fall asleep. This can make it difficult to fall asleep without the aid of the drug and can lead to addiction.
- Side effects: Many sleep aids can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. These side effects can be especially dangerous for older adults and people who operate heavy machinery or drive.
- Interaction with other medications: Sleep aids can interact with other medications, such as blood thinners and antidepressants, which can increase the risk of side effects.
- Withdrawal symptoms: When you stop taking sleep aids, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and irritability.
- Long-term use: Long-term use of sleep aids can lead to rebound insomnia, which is a condition where insomnia becomes worse after stopping the medication.
- Masking underlying health issues: Some sleep disorders may be caused by underlying health conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or depression. Taking sleep aids may temporarily alleviate symptoms but does not address the underlying condition.
It’s important to note that not all sleep aids are harmful, and some may be appropriate for short-term use under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
What about Melatonin?
One of the most common sleep aids – Melatonin is a hormone. It already exists in your body. It is naturally produced by the body’s pineal gland. It plays a key role in regulating the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, which controls the sleep-wake cycle.
Melatonin levels in the body typically rise in the evening and stay high during the night, promoting sleep. Melatonin levels drop in the morning, signaling the body to wake up.
Melatonin is often used as a supplement to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. It is also used to help with jet lag, shift work sleep disorder and to improve sleep quality in blind people. Short term, Melatonin can help to promote sleep by signaling the body that it is time to sleep, and it can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
Unfortunately, there is a gross overuse of Melatonin today.
While melatonin is generally considered safe for short-term use as a sleep aid, there are potential risks associated with taking it over an extended period of time or in high doses. Some of the potential risks of overusing melatonin include:
- Hormonal imbalance: Melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the body’s internal clock. Taking high doses of melatonin over a prolonged period of time can disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin, leading to a hormonal imbalance.
- Interference with other medications: Melatonin can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, antidepressants, and birth control pills, which can increase the risk of side effects. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking melatonin if you are taking other medications.
- Daytime drowsiness: Taking melatonin can cause drowsiness, which can make it difficult to stay alert during the day. This can be particularly dangerous for people who operate heavy machinery or drive.
- Long-term use: Long-term use of melatonin can lead to rebound insomnia, which is a condition where insomnia becomes worse after stopping the medication.
- Masking underlying health issues: Melatonin is often used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders, but it may not address the underlying cause of the problem. Insomnia can be caused by underlying health conditions such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, or depression, so it’s important to seek medical advice if you have trouble sleeping.
- Melatonin is not recommended for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people with depression, bipolar disorder, or other psychiatric conditions and can exacerbate complications.
So what are some sleep solutions that work and are actually good for your overall health?
Epitalon: The Sleep Peptide that does a whole lot else…
Enter one of our most treasured peptides: Epitalon. It has been proposed to have a number of benefits related to sleep, including:
Stimulating the production of melatonin: Melatonin is a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Epitalon has been shown to increase the production of melatonin in the body, which may help to improve sleep quality and duration.
Improving circadian rhythm: Circadian rhythm is the natural 24-hour cycle that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Epitalon has been proposed to help regulate the circadian rhythm, which may help to improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep disorders.
Reducing inflammation: Epitalon has been proposed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of sleep disorders, so reducing inflammation may help to improve sleep quality.
Good Lifestyle Habits that Support Your Circadian Clock
The circadian rhythm is the regulator of your entire day, switching your body from breakfast mode to work mode, to afternoon mode, and eventually to sleep mode. If you support your circadian clock through good lifestyle habits it’s another way you can improve your sleep (and the other parts of your day to boot!).
- Get up with the sunrise and GO GET SOME SUN! At least 10 minutes (ideally 15 – 30) a day, getting up with the sunrise, and getting that sunlight into your eyes helps awaken the hormones that set your bodily functions going for the day.
- Go for a quick walk after lunch. 30 min after a quick lunch will help your body metabolize your food as energy, and prevent that afternoon lull.
- Minimize screen time 2 hours before sleeping. The blue light from the screen will trick your body into thinking it needs to stay awake and will actually prevent you from falling asleep easily and naturally.
- Minimize screen blue light as much as you can with blue light-blocking shields/screen covers. They’re cheap and easy to live with.
- Last meal/snack early – if you can work it into your lifestyle to stop all eating by 6 pm (heck, we’ll take 7 pm as a start!) it helps your body get ready for the nighttime activities, including of course: staying asleep.
It’s important to note that most of the benefits of good quality sleep happen in REM and Deep sleep. If you’re interested in improving your sleep quality from the cellular level, contact us today for a consultation.