When we don't sleep sufficiently for our needs, our brain doesn't recharge and our body cannot repair optimally. We feel a bit worn out.
A bit edgy. A bit tense. A bit teary. A bit irrational. A bit forgetful.
Oftentimes compensating by our lowered stress tolerance by exhibiting some overly neurotic tendencies aka perfectionism.
Over time, we exhaust our energy reservoirs and we begin searching for the quick fix.
First, if we have no history of addiction, we might reach for something socially acceptable. A fix like caffeine to keep us alert. A fix like red wine to make us feel a bit calmer, when our nerves feel frazzled. Or maybe we pop a Xanax to take the edge off. Many of us will also reach for something edible - our hunger feels insatiable, because it is interwoven with cravings now. We crave balance. We crave satiety. We crave harmony. We crave rest. We crave energy.
That our cravings worsen when sleep habits are wrecked is due to the fact that sleeps impacts our hunger and fat storage hormones, mainly (satiety regulator) leptin and (hunger regulator) ghrelin amongst others.
With sleep deprivation, ghrelin levels rise and stimulate appetite while leptin levels drop, which also increases appetite.
When we get enough sleep for our needs, this promotes the healthy production of leptin and limits the production of ghrelin, contributing to satiety and regulating metabolism.
There can be many reasons as to why we can't sleep. For those of us suffering from insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or difficulty staying asleep, adrenal dysfunction and neurotransmitter imbalances are often the underlying cause. Assessing adrenal function and neurotransmitter levels is simple and can be done via providing a saliva and urine sample in a test kit that can be sent to your door step and back to our advanced lab testing. Unfortunately, as this is part of preventative medicine and advanced biochemical lab testing, this is not covered by insurance.
I do this myself annually as a maintenance check-up in order to target my biochemical vulnerabilities before they turn into symptoms.
We know that our brain and body is highly sensitive to us getting sleep without being drugged up on sleep meds or other drugs at 10 PM.
Sleep meds, drugs and alcohol all interfere with our brains ability to reach the deeper layers of rest where recovery and physical as well as mental repair and rejuvenation occurs. This is our circadian clock and our body is sensitive to this time in order to recharge and normalize hormones that regulate cravings, hunger and body weight. If we short-cut our sleep needs, we will pay later, so we might as well get some stable habits in place, before our biochemistry takes a hit - repairing damage takes time, maintenance and check-ups to fine-tune is relatively effortless and much cheaper investment in health than waiting til we get sick, tired and addicted.
Reference Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index.” Ed. Philippe Froguel. PLoS Medicine 1.3 (2004): e62. PMC. Web. 4 Nov. 2015.