Getting the right amount of fats, carbs, and proteins might be easy for you, but what about getting the right amount of sleep? Sleep is just as important as eating right because of the health risks associated with sleep deprivation. When you sleep the cells in your body are working hard to recharge, reenergize, and repair. Without sleep, the body can’t do these vital tasks.
While it might be hard to change up the sleep routine that’s been “working” for you for years, there are significant changes you should make to your day to improve your nights and avoid sleep deprivation’s effects.
Dangers of Sleep Deprivation?
Effects of Lack of Sleep on Your Body
Humans are complex organisms with an abundance of processes going on at once. We need sleep to rest from these so we can continue another day. Some of the health risks if you don’t sleep include:[i]
Risk of heart disease
Weight Gain / Obesity
Poor blood sugar regulation
Delayed growth in children and young adults
Lowered immune system function and sickness as a result
During sleep, your body needs to focus on repairing tissue and cellular damage as well as maintaining the blood vessels and your heart. Not getting enough sleep also encourages the production of the hormone ghrelin which makes you feel hungry forcing you into a night-time binge eating session. Additionally, hormones that promote growth and repair muscles can’t work properly without deep sleep. [ii]
On Your Mind
Furthermore, in a 2007 review of studies on cognitive functions and sleep deprivation, they found that sleep deprivation impairs a range of cognitive functions.[iii] These functions include memory, emotional regulation, and attention.
Not getting enough sleep isn’t just a danger to your health – it’s also dangerous to the health of those around you! Some studies have shown that functions in the brain are limited enough that the chance for occupational incidents increases by 300% in the sleep deprived, making sleep very important for productivity and safety.[iv]
The economic consequences are magnified by a non-profit European research group, which discovered that sleep deprivation in the U.S has led to a loss of 411 billion dollars 2.28% of our GDP and costs the U.S. 1.2 million working days a year.[v]
The health risks and societal consequences of being sleep deprived are too big to be ignored.
Here are some more effects of sleep deprivation:
Sleep Deprivation Symptoms:
You might think you get 7-8 hours and everything is good, however, quality sleep is just as important as quantity and knowing if you’re getting both may be difficult. So, it’s important to look for sleep deprivation symptoms.
Difficult constructing phrases or relying too heavily on clichés
Having difficulty reading this list
Serious and frequent arguments
Falling asleep just because it’s dark
MedlinePlus suggest talking to your doctor if you experience 3 or more of these:
It typically takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night.
Awaken frequently in the night and have trouble falling back to sleep.
Awaken too early in the morning.
Don’t feel well rested despite having eight hours.
Feel sleepy during the day and fall asleep within five minutes if you have an opportunity to nap, or you fall asleep unexpectedly or at inappropriate times during the day.
Your partner reports that you snore loudly, snort, or make choking sounds while you sleep, or your partner notices your breathing stops for short periods.
Creeping, tingling feelings in your legs that are relieved by moving or massaging them, especially in the evening or when you try to fall asleep.
Vivid, dreamlike experiences while falling asleep or dozing.
Episodes of sudden muscle weakness when you are angry or fearful, or when you laugh.
Feel as though you cannot move when you first wake up.
Your bed partner notes that your legs or arms jerk often during sleep.
Regularly depend on wake-promoting products, such as caffeinated beverages, to stay awake during the day
If you’re feeling the impact of not catching enough ZZZ’s on a consistent basis it’s time to change your habits — risking your health, and your productivity isn’t worth it.
How to Sleep Better and Avoid Sleep Deprivation
Here are some tips to get as much rest as possible: [viii][x][xi]
Napping is good for you. They give you energy and relieve fogginess. 30-minute or 90-minute naps are the best. 30 minutes is long enough but doesn’t put you in a deep sleep to suddenly wake from, while 90 minutes is long enough to go through a deep sleep cycle without interrupting any stages of sleep.
Deal with stress and your schedule. Part of the problem is getting to sleep, you lie in bed for 45 minutes tossing and turning and worrying about life before you can get rest. Organizing and compartmentalizing your work priorities from the rest of your life is effective for reducing stress before sleep. Additionally, a better night sleep will probably mean doing a better job on those tasks.
Plan meals and drinks ahead. Eating acidic foods, or caffeinated drink will keep you up and limit the amount of rest you can get. Avoid things that will disrupt your sleep before bed, and eat things like:[ix]
Lettuce which contains lactucarium a sedative property
Cherries or tuna which boost the sleep inducing chemical melatonin
Sleepytime teas that contain active sedative ingredients such as valerian, passionflower, and skullcap can help you wind down before bed, promoting a more restful sleep. Our favorite organic sleep tea is Nightly Zen since it contains all three herbs.
Set consistent wake-up times and bed times to work with your sleep schedule instead of against it
Avoid electronics, not only are they bright and noisy, but emails from work and texts from friends is the last thing you need to worry about when you sleep.
Exercise during the day. Make your body want the rest so you don’t have to force yourself to sleep which almost never works.
Getting good rest is vital for heart, kidney, and brain health. We have developed these routines that go against our natural rhythms and needs, and if we don’t get back on track as individuals and as a society there can be huge effects across the board.
[i] Why Is Sleep Important? – National Hear, Lung, and Blood Institute. Nhlbi.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[ii] Why Is Sleep Important? – National Hear, Lung, and Blood Institute. Nhlbi.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[iii] Alhola P, Polo-Kantola P. Sleep deprivation: Impact on cognitive performance. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2007;3(5):553-567.
[v] Wright L. Canada loses 80,000 working days a year due to sleep deprivation | Toronto Star. thestarcom. 2017. Available at: https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/11/30/canada-loses-80000-working-days-a-year-due-to-sleep-deprivation.html. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[vi] Bender R. 10 Surprising Signs You’re Sleep-Deprived. The Huffington Post. 2014. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/06/sleep-deprived-signs_n_5551756.html. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[viii] Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[ix] Jung A. 16 Foods That Help You Sleep | Reader’s Digest. Reader’s Digest. 2017. Available at: http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/foods-that-help-you-sleep/. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[x] Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379. Accessed March 22, 2017.
[xi] Wright L. Canada loses 80,000 working days a year due to sleep deprivation | Toronto Star. thestarcom. 2017. Available at: https://www.thestar.com/business/2016/11/30/canada-loses-80000-working-days-a-year-due-to-sleep-deprivation.html. Accessed March 22, 2017.
Nuts and seeds are receiving increasing attention day by day, and studies show the potential health benefits of them. Seeds, these small foods are loaded with antioxidants, protein, fiber, healthy fats and variety of minerals. And it’s easy to include them into your snack and meals, here are some nutrient-packed seeds you should eat daily:
Hemp seeds are high in fiber and protein, contain omega-3 and 6 fatty acids as well as other essential minerals, makes it as a certified superfood to improve your overall health and prevent some chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Cumin seeds are well known for adding taste to food, while they are also very beneficial for your health. From aiding in digestion, curing the common colds and flu, relieving cough, detoxing body to boosting the absorption of nutrients.
Sunflower seeds also have cancer prevention properties and help lower the risk of heart disease. They are a good source of vitamin E, copper, folate, selenium, and phytochemicals.
These incredible seeds are a good source of omega-3 oils, calcium, protein and antioxidants, they also contain a good amount of soluble fiber.
Sesame seeds are full of protein and rich in zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins. They can regulate blood pressure, prevent diabetes, aid in digestion, make skin healthy, lower cholesterol, boost heart health, ease stress and anxiety, relieve arthritis, prevent liver disease and even prevent cancer.
Many people like to add some pumpkin seeds to their salads, this is high recommended as the pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients. They are rich in zinc, manganese, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. They are also rich in lots of antioxidants that are good for your immune system.
This is one of the most ideal foods you can add to your oatmeal or smoothies. Flaxseeds are rich in antioxidants that help you fight cancer, and they are also packed with fiber to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Fennel seeds are often used as a culinary spice, the antioxidants in them help reduce cancer risk. They are high in fiber, calcium, and iron, also have anti-inflammatory properties, makes it a superfood for relieving arthritis.
Our overall health and development are significantly affected by the rest we get daily, so experts advise that we should all follow certain recommendations when it comes to sleep duration.
The National Sleep Foundation recommended sleep time according to age, and the number of hours you should sleep determines whether you will have enough energy during the day, optimal health, and mental clarity.
Sleep problems can be a result of various factors, one of the main being stress and modern technology.
Stress stimulates the production of cortisol, the “stress hormone”. In high levels, this hormone causes restful sleep, sickness, and discomfort. On the other hand, the light emitted by technological devices impedes the ability of the brain to release melatonin, since the body produces this hormone in the dark.
Sleep difficulties lead to physical tiredness, difficulties to think clearly, make decisions, and concentrate, and lead to appetite loss. It has been found that sleep problems are directly linked to various health issues.
Sleeping less than 5 hours affects heart health, while less than 7 hours leads to weight gain, diabetes, and obesity. Always make sure you sleep enough hours in order to prevent health problems.
New Guidelines for sleep hours
Charles Czeisler, a professor at Harvard University, together with a team of experts, conducted a research, including of many studies from 2004 to 2014, in order to find out the needed sleep hours, and the effects of sleep on the health.
According to the different development stages, they made the following conclusions:
Newborn (0 to 3 months): 14 to 17 hours.
Babies (4 to 11 months): 12 to 15 hours.
Children (1-2 years): 11 to 14 hours.
Preschool (3-5 years): 10 to 13 hours.
School Age (6-13 years): 9 to 11 hours.
Teens (14 to 17): 8 to 10 hours.
Youth (18-25 years): 7 to 9 hours.
Adults (26-64 years): 7 to 9 hours.
Seniors (over 65 years): 7 to 8 hours.
Yet, bear in mind that each individual needs different hours of rest, so these guidelines are approximate. However, it is a fact that the lack of sleep poses serious health risks for all people.
Turmeric is one of the most popular spices added to South Asian dishes, and it becoming growingly popular all around the world, due to its multiple health-boosting properties.
However, only a few know that its daily consumption improves the health of the liver and brain.
Turmeric for Liver health And Cancer Prevention
This spice has been commonly used to treat liver diseases for centuries. However, experts have started examining its effects in terms of liver protection twenty years ago.
What they found was that turmeric is extremely helpful due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It reduces liver damage due to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), iron overdose, ethanol, high toxicity levels, and liver diseases (such as cholestasis).
Its active ingredient, curcumin, lowers the risk of liver cancer, as it reducing the effects of human carcinogens (such as thioacetamide) on the liver.
Turmeric For Brain Health
Recent studies have found that turmeric improves the function of the brain.
Namely, researchers have discovered that curcumin inhibits the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques, which are one of the primary causes of Alzheimer’s, by a shocking 40%.
Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory properties can be of great help in the case of Alzheimer’s, as they reduce the damage due to inflammation and oxidizing agents. Other studies have also confirmed that this miraculous spice is also helpful in the treatment of depression.
We suggest a few recipes so you can consume turmeric daily:
Turmeric and Oil/Fat- recipe
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups coconut milk
1 pinch black pepper
Method of preparation:
In a saucepan, heat the listed ingredients until the mixture boils. Then, remove it from heat and drink it warm. You can also add the mixture to your soups, curries, or other recipes.
Turmeric Water- recipe
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1-2 cups of water
Method of preparation:
First, boil the water, add the turmeric, and for 10 more minutes. Then, leave it to cool for a couple of minutes, and then you can drink it.
You make healthy eating and lifestyle choices every day to help your digestive, heart and mental health, but how often do you consider your kidneys? Your everyday food and activity habits can lead to long-term damage and disease. Read on to find out how to maximize your kidney health.
How Drink Choices Affect Kidney Health
The main role of your kidneys is to filter your bloodstream and remove toxins, waste, dead cells, and excess water. Once properly filtered, waste leave the body in your urine. Your input of fluids affects your output of fluids — that’s why urine tests are the most common way doctors diagnose kidney injuries, damage or other diseases.
Not Drinking Enough Water
We’re sure you’ve heard it enough times by now – drink more water! It’s always been known that dehydration correlates to low kidney function however until recently, it was thought that rehydrating would fully restore kidney function. New research suggests that recurring dehydration can lead to chronic kidney disease.
Picking the Right Fluids
Knowing that dehydration hurts your kidneys, you may be tempted to turn to soft drinks as a source of more fluids. Unfortunately, drinking fructose-glucose-rich soda, and the additives in diet soda can actually damage your kidneys. Studies showed that patients who consumed naturally sweetened soft drinks showed an increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Check out this article about all the health risks of diet soda.
Lifestyle Habits That Damage your Kidneys
Extensive studies have confirmed that using cigarettes and other products, such as smokeless tobacco, reduce kidney function.
Over the counter medications
Some OTC drugs have been linked to kidney damage, such as Aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
Surprisingly, extreme exercise habits can cause severe kidney damage. It’s dangerous stuff! It’s a good idea to speak with your medical practitioner about the safety of your fitness habits.
A study of middle-aged people found that those who slept less than six hours a night, or more than ten hours including naps, experienced renal hyperfiltration, an early warning sign of kidney disease.
Too much protein
Renal hyperfiltration, the same symptom caused by poor sleep, can also be caused by a high-protein diet, especially after meat-heavy meals. Remember, a key factor in any health plan is moderation.
Too much sugar
Just like drinking your sugar in the form of soda, eating a high-sugar diet can lead to the same problems. Stay away from too much candy, chocolate, and desserts, for kidney’s sake.
Magnesium has many roles to play in your body’s proper functioning. Read more about how magnesium deficiency can cause kidney stones.
Kidney Health Myths
Two common kidney health myths are circulating that have been refuted by scientific study:
Firstly, some sources claim that drinking alcohol causes kidney damage.
In a 2015 study, researchers found the opposite is true: the more participants reported drinking, the lower their risk of chronic kidney disease. However, there are other health problems with heavy alcohol consumption.
Second, some people think that drinking coffee hurts your kidneys too.
According to sources, this has been disproven. A 2017 study confirmed no association between coffee consumption and risk of kidney disease.
How to Have Healthy Kidneys
The number one guideline for healthy kidneys is moderation… just like the rest of life! Since your kidneys’ primary function is to filter your blood of toxins and waste, you can help them by keeping the amount of waste and toxins low.