What? You mean having a hard time getting to sleep or waking up five times throughout the night (3 of which to pee) isn’t normal? Chiropractor Dr. Gangemi addresses these issues and more in “The Power Of Sleep” article on his site.
It’s impossible to overstate or overpost about the power of sleep. For my weight-fighter clients sleep is critical to weight-loss and weight-maintenance success. You can do everything else right but if sleep is off you are not going to do well. Weight loss will be slower than it should be and weight-maintenance is far less likely to occur when you’re walkin around in a half-stoned daze from chronic sleep deprivation. Let’s face it – we all act like cry-baby two year olds when we don’t get enough sleep. And that mindset doesn’t suit excellent food choices and exercise compliance.
Dr. Gangemi says …“Sleep and health are directly related to one another – the better your sleep, the more healthy you will be, and the more healthy you are the better you will sleep.”
In addition to the standard “Get 6-8 hours of sleep a night” advice we all hear Dr. Gangemi says the quality of your sleep matters just as much. Six great hours is better than eight toss-and-turn hours. Dr. Gangemi goes so far to say that we shouldn’t wake up at all during the night except for loud noises, turbulent weather and things of that nature. He says this includes even waking up to go pee.
Stress and your adrenal glands play a big role in how well you’ll sleep. Your adrenal glands, situated on top of each kidney, secrete cortisol – a critical stress hormone.
Cortisol is normally highest in the morning (6-8am) and then slowly lowers itself throughout the day until it is at its lowest around 11pm – midnight, ensuring a restful sleep. Fluctuations in this cycle can wreak havoc on sleep cycles, particularly if cortisol levels are high in the late evening. Individuals under high stress and athletes training too hard have a tendency to output high cortisol levels throughout the entire day. Even going long periods throughout the day without eating will increase cortisol levels, as will a diet too high in carbohydrates. Many times these individuals feel as though they do not “need” more sleep because they have so much energy. They may feel hyped-up and always on the go. Often we call this “tired and wired” as they need coffee to get them going in the morning and then they are more productive in the evening (night owls). Many people resort to alcohol to calm them down at night.
It’s very common, if the adrenal glands are taxed and stress has been high, to awaken between 2-3 A.M. every night. It’s also common to crash in the late afternoon and early evening time periods but then after the crash be wide awake and have a hard time getting to sleep until very late.
“Then, there are the individuals whose cortisol levels are out of rhythm with their internal body clock. This is very common, especially in overtrained athletes, heavy stress, long hour job, or people eating poorly throughout the day (going more than 5-6 hours without eating or too many refined foods). Their cortisol levels may be fine all day long until the night, when it spikes instead of drops. This could result in just laying there in bed counting sheep while others may fall right asleep yet they wake up in the middle of the night, say around 2-3am. They might lie there for 10 minutes or 2 hours, until they are finally able to fall back asleep. Something is tripping the sleep-wake cycle that needs to be corrected.”
As for waking up to go to the bathroom Dr. Gangemi says that rather than it being because we drank too much water too late in the evening we may have a vitamin B1 deficiency or a hormone called aldosterone could be out of whack (again possibly related to adrenal function) or as males we could have an enlarged prostate. He advises males to get their prostate checked if frequent or difficult urination is occurring.
As for tips to ensure a better night’s sleep he gives this advice:
1. Make sure your sleep environment is dark.
2. Shoot for going to be about 10pm. Sleep more in accordance with the sun. Sleeping 10p-6a is better than 12a-8a he says.
3. Make sure your mattress is comfortable and make sure it doesn’t have magnets in it. Dr. Gangemi says magnets in a mattress can be major endocrine disruptors.
In conclusion sleep is an incredible asset in your weight-loss journey if you get enough of it. And if you don’t or you don’t get enough truly restful, quality sleep, you will fight an uphill battle daily to lose weight or keep it off. Get to bed earlier! Shut off the electronics, the screeens and your mind a bit earlier! Get your sleep! And if you have been under a great deal of stress and wonder if your adrenal glands may be fatigued you may do well to get evaluated by a medical doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who has been properly trained in the specialty of anti-aging, rejuvenation and hormonal balancing.