Who has time to sleep?
Whether it’s finishing a work project, going out with friends, or staying up late to watch a TV series on Netflix, the last thing many of us want to do is get to bed early.
You may think you can get by with little sleep, but sleep is critical to our day-to-day functioning. While we may believe we are resilient and can get by on little sleep, lack of sleep actually alters our gene expression.
What does that mean?
Sleep regulates a number of key physiological and behavioral functions including hormone release, insulin sensitivity, tissue and immune system repair, memory and learning, cognitive and behavior performance, removing toxins from the brain, and replenishing the brain’s energy stores.
Just one night of sleep deprivation can affect your body and mind in significant ways.
Sleep is the Regulator
The CLOCK genes regulate various biological processes we take for granted such as body temperature, eating behaviors, processing of foods and sugars in the liver, kidney functions, and more.
When these genes are disrupted from lack of sleep, we experience repercussions such as reduced energy, fatigue, impaired glucose metabolism, inflammation, changes in the way drugs work within our bodies, and more.
If we continue disrupting these genes over time, we can change our gene expression. This change can cause increased susceptibility to metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
Sleep and Genes
Sleep is a fantastic example of one way we can impact our gene expression. If we fail to get a proper amount of sleep, gene expression can change. Note that our genes haven’t changed, but our behavior impacts the way these genes express themselves.
On the flip side, genes can tell us a lot about how we should sleep. They hold clues to:
- How much sleep you need each night
- Whether you are an early-to-bed, early-to-rise person
- What times of the day you feel tired
- Whether you are prone to significant limb movement during sleep
Taking a deeper look into your genes will help you determine the amount of sleep you need to keep yourself functioning at a high level and to keep illness at bay.
Establishing Appropriate Sleep Goals
How do we measure sleep? There are a number of ways you can determine the quality of our sleep:
- How long were you in bed?
- How long did you sleep?
- How long did it take you to fall asleep?
- Was your sleep disrupted?
- How do you feel when you wake up? Are you fatigued? How is your energy level and mood?
Shorter sleep durations are associated with higher levels of training fatigue, mood disturbance, exercise performance, and higher incidence of illness.
I use S+ by ResMed to assist clients in analyzing/monitoring their current sleep patters.
Improving Your Sleep
While the length of time we sleep is important, there are a number of factors that impact the quality of our sleep.
- Reduce light
- Use a comfortable bed and pillow
- Reduce sounds
- Wake up naturally
- Sleep within an optimum temperature
- Do not eat 2-3 hours before bed
Preparing for Sleep
- No blue light 30 minutes before bed. Blue light reduces melatonin secretion.
- Relaxation or meditation
- No caffeine
Consider Sleep Aids
- Chamomile tea
- Lavender Oil
- Lemon Balm
Know Your Genes
These steps will help you achieve better sleep, but the best way to know what your body needs is by analyzing your genes. I can help you understand the process and get you started. Visit klothogenics.com to send me a message.