Archive for the ‘Your Sleep Health’

How Sleep Influences Nutrition & Weight

Poor sleep can be a cause and result of excess body fat since sleep deprivation disrupts appetite-controlling hormones, insulin management, and blood sugar levels. Put a stop to poor nutrition and lead a healthier lifestyle by improving your sleep.

SLEEP INFLUENCES DIET

Just one night of poor sleep disrupts our leptin and ghrelin levels, two hormones that stimulate hunger and appetite, leading to a constant feeling of hunger, slower metabolism, and more stored fat. Poor sleep also tampers with stress hormone levels and our resistance to insulin, increasing the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and obesity.

DIET INFLUENCES WEIGHT

Studies show that what we eat, when we eat, how much we eat, and how often we eat, play a significant hand in how we manage (or struggle with) our weight. We all know that exercise is an important factor into proper weight management, but we tend to underestimate how important our diet is for proper weight management and loss. No amount of exercise can truly compensate for poor dietary intake. To reduce our risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, and overall poor well-being, we should focus on sleeping well, eating well, and exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes each day.

IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP, IMPROVE YOUR WEIGHT

Sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Prioritize your sleep and aim for 7-9 hours each night. Exercise early in the day to boost metabolism and avoid heavy meals 3-4 hours before bed. Load up your plate with vegetables and fruit, lean protein, and a handful of grains, while limiting your daily intake of sugary, fatty, and processed foods. Proper sleep allows your body to prepare for the physical demands of the day while providing the energy you need to exercise and make healthy eating choices.

Spring Into Better Sleep

The benefits of better sleep far outweigh the work necessary to change poor sleep habits. Take the steps towards better sleep by understanding the science and value of sleep and practicing positive sleep habits.

THE SCIENCE OF SLEEP

Roughly half of the time spent sleeping is focused on physical restoration of the brain and body. Everything slows down, from heart rate and breathing to blood pressure and temperature, all to ensure cells can repair their daily wear and tear. Additionally, the body prepares for the next day by replenishing stores of energy, hormones, and neurotransmitters. The brain goes to work flushing out a variety of waste products, while also organizing
and archiving daily experiences.

THE VALUE OF BETTER SLEEP

To fully reap the numerous benefits of sleep, our body needs the recommended hours of high quality sleep. This ranges among age groups, but most adults need no less than 7 hours and no more than 9 hours of sleep each night. This helps us feel refreshed the next day and be fully charged to do our best, not to mention this also drastically reduces our risk for developing serious and deadly chronic health conditions.

POSITIVE SLEEP HABITS

One of the best ways to practice healthy sleep habits is to focus on changing one negative habit at a time. Start by setting a consistent sleep and wake time. Figure out when you need to wake up each day and then count back 7-9 hours from there. Aim for consistency, it’s the easiest way to form a habit that becomes second nature. Once you establish a sleep time, make sure you don’t drink caffeine or eat a heavy meal too close to bed. It’s also healthy to set aside 30 minutes before bed to practice mindfulness, or anything that
calms the busy mind, and don’t forget to exercise each day to keep the heart strong.

Sleep & Heart Health

Sleep is essential.

Sleep is essential for improving our overall well-being and performing at our best. This in mind, the most important benefit of sleep is also one of the most misunderstood. Sleep is crucial for reducing our risk of developing life-threatening diseases. Sleep literally saves lives.

BIOLOGY

When we sleep, our body goes into recovery mode – repairing cells, restoring energy, and releasing essential growth hormones. Each of these is incredibly valuable for positive mental and physical health. Too little sleep disrupts the time necessary to complete these tasks.

HEART HEALTH

Studies show that over time, poor sleep drastically increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease – regardless of your age, weight, or lifestyle habits. Poor sleep hurts our ability to regulate blood pressure and can easily lead to out of control hypertension. Poor sleep also hinders our ability to control glucose metabolism and increases our risk for developing diabetes and obesity, two health issues that worsen heart health.

TURN IT AROUND

We all could benefit from better heart health practices. The heart is one muscle we simply can’t live without. Take care of your heart by getting 7-9 hours of high quality sleep each night. Listen to your body when it shows signs of fatigue and exhaustion and practice good sleep hygiene.
Exercise daily, be mindful of what you eat, and make time for stress-reducing activities. Learn more sleep tips at sleepcharge.com.

New Year, New Sleep Priorities

New Year, New Sleep Priorities

Studies have shown that poor sleep can drastically increase your risks for developing deadly chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Not to mention poor sleep wreaks havoc on your emotional and mental health, hindering your ability to focus, stay calm under pressure, and think rationally. Let’s make better health through better sleep a priority this year.

Tell Everyone

Just like a new resolution to lose weight or learn a new skill, having a support group is crucial for success. Tell your closest loved ones that you’re serious about making sleep a priority this year. Encourage them to join in since everyone could benefit from better sleep. Set a reminder each week to check in with your support group for some accountability and to share tips you learn along the way.

Keep Track of Your Habits

Better sleep hygiene is one of the easiest ways to improve your sleep. Keep a sleep journal near your bed and record your nightly routines and morning observations, you may be surprised by how much time you spend on your phone before bed, or how eating too close to bedtime actually caused you to feel sleepy throughout the next day.

Check In (or Checkup)

If you’re currently receiving sleep care, check in with our care team to discuss your progress and learn how we can make 2019 your best year for sleep health. If you’re new to sleep care, begin by taking the Sleep Checkup to determine your personalized DTQ, which is the first step that helps us identify where your sleep health is struggling.

How to Get Better Sleep While Traveling

How to Get Better Sleep While Traveling

All the hard work we put into our sleep can easily be undone if we don’t take extra precautions to handle the disruption of traveling. Here are several tips to achieve quality sleep while traveling.

Internal Factors

Dehydration, too much (or too little) food, new foods, and high caffeine & alcohol intake, can easily throw us off balance and cause us to suffer from a restless night. While driving or flying, especially long distances, drink plenty of water and limit the caffeine and alcohol you consume to avoid dehydration. Do your best to eat at your normal times and limit introducing your body to too many new foods, to avoid late night hungry pains or indigestion.

External Factors

Dress comfortably while you travel and while you sleep. Bring your favorite pillow and pajamas to help with any new place jitters and wear comfortable clothes while driving or flying. It’s extremely important you keep your bedtime routine, this will help your brain trigger the appropriate time to wind down and will keep you from having to re-adjust once you get back home.

Mentality

Travel fatigue and jet lag can quickly escalate and add unnecessary stress to your plans. Avoid the temptation of taking a nap or going to bed after a long flight. Book your first day with exciting plans to keep you out of the hotel room, this way you’ll quickly adjust to the new time change, saving time and energy for the rest of the trip. If you’re feeling sluggish, take a quick shower or change your clothes once you arrive, this helps you feel refreshed and ready for your adventures.

Holiday Stress & Sleep

Manage holiday stress by making sleep a priority

With temperatures dropping and leaves falling, the holidays must be right around the corner, and with them the excitement and joy of family time and memories as well as social pressures, deadlines and stress. Manage the holiday stress by making sleep a priority and following these quick tips.

Press Pause

The holiday season is fast-paced and filled to the brim with social engagements and to-do lists. Attempting to multitask while juggling dinner parties, gift shopping and entertaining the kids on their breaks, one can easily burn out and spend the season with a short fuse. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, press pause and take a step back. Take a few deep breaths to stay level-headed and calm.

Get Some Sleep

Don’t let the endless to-do lists keep you awake at night. Recognize you’re only at your best when you feel well and have energy- two benefits of quality sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night during the holiday season to manage stress and to reduce the impulsive reactions we tend to act on when dealing with a short fuse.

Consider The Positives

What are you thankful for? Consider the positives in your life and in whatever stressful situation you are faced with during the holiday season. If your kids are pushing your buttons or your co-workers are relaxing a bit too soon, remember they’re usually not trying to make your life more difficult. Take time to enjoy the moment and holiday stress will be much easier to manage.

Mental Health + Sleep

How Mental Health And Sleep Depend On Each Other

The quality of sleep you get each night heavily affects, and equally depends upon, the state of your mental health. Think of your sleep and your mental health as yin and yang, two seemingly contrary forces that are dependent on one another.

Maintain Balance
When proper sleep duration, quality or timing are impaired by a sleep disorder, the end result is a direct assault on mental health, and as mental health symptoms continue, so does the decline of your sleep quality. Maintain a healthy balance between the pair by making sleep and mental health a priority in your life.

The three fundamentals of sleep- Duration, Timing, Quality (DTQ)- are the building blocks for a well balanced sleep health journey. Simple put, DTQ is:

Duration = how long you sleep
Timing = when you sleep
Quality = how well you sleep

See The Signs
A disturbance to our sleep cycle leads to our body straining under the attempt to adjust, causing mood and cognition changes that aggravate mental health. Develop healthy sleep hygiene in order to sleep in sync with your natural circadian rhythm.

High levels of stress and continued sleep deprivation lead to depression and anxiety, symptoms and predecessors to unstable mental health. Take time to relax and enjoy life to reduce stress and anxiety.

Seek Treatment
Whether mental health issues are the cause or effect of poor sleep, attempting no treatment, or following the wrong treatment, can only lead to further health complications. Seek medical evaluation and follow the appropriate treatment to target the underlying source of any mental health and/or sleep issue.

SleepCharge
The SleepCharge Program is tailored to identify and resolve sleep problems with personalized therapy, dedicated care managers, and sleep education and training. Treatments are designed to specifically target the underlying source of sleep deprivation to help participants regain their well-being and vitality.

This Summer, Limit Screen Time to Improve Healthy Sleep for Your Family

Temperatures are climbing and school is officially out. What does that mean for your family? For many families that means children will more than likely be spending more time on electronic devices; watching more TV, playing more video games and spending more hours on the computer. However, the effects of electronics don’t just impact children, they impact adults as well.

Today, electronic devices are seemingly everywhere, and they have become ingrained into the modern family. In fact, it’s hard for us to imagine a single day without them. While the accessibility of these devices has its benefits, the constant usage of them can take a toll on the quality and duration of sleep that your family experiences.

Most electronic devices emit blue-green light, and some studies show that this type of light can interfere with our brain signals for rest. It’s not just our children that need “screen time” limits, adults should also understand the risks associated with the overuse of electronic devices. While it may be tempting to check emails or watch TV in bed, this behavior can inhibit the brain from transitioning the body into sleep mode. According to the Chief Medical Officer at FusionHealth, Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, “Eliminating or severely limiting the use of electronic devices in the bedroom is critical for promoting regular, healthy sleep. Given all of the “connectivity” of modern life, the bedroom really needs to be protected from daytime influences; it should be a sanctuary for sleep.”

Here are three simple bedtime routines to help you and your family prepare for sleep:

  1. “Downshift” Before Bedtime – Calming activities like reading or meditating can prepare the body and mind for sleep. Help younger children relax too, by reading to them, engaging them in meditative breathing exercises, or even using their imagination to remember a peaceful place or caliming person. Older children can benefit from the same exercises as well as journaling thoughts and experiences of the day.
  2. Limit Exposure to Blue-Green Light – At least one hour before bedtime, try to reduce activities like watching TV, computer and smartphone use, and try a more natural light source like candles, a fireplace or lower frequency orange/red lighting.
  3. Remove All Electronics from the Bedroom – This will help you limit the temptations associated with the ever-present smartphone, computer or other daytime device.

As Dr. Durmer reminds us, the bedroom is not just a place for a bed; it is the one place designated for vital sleep and recovery. Creating a short “down-shift” period before bedtime, removing electronics from the bedroom, limiting exposure to blue-green light and finding sleep-friendly alternatives for your evening are small steps that can help you and your family realize the daily health and functional benefits that only sleep can provide.

If you have any questions or need more information on how screen time affects quality sleep, please contact the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at sleep@fusionhealth.com or 1-877-615-7257.

Sleep Right, Eat Right, Feel Right

We tend not to think about sleeping and eating as being interconnected; except for maybe that post-Thanksgiving “food-coma” in November. It turns out that every interaction your mind and body have with food is impacted by how well rested you are. From your mood and motivation to eat, to coordinating brain chemicals that trigger hunger, sleep not only plays a part in eating, it orchestrates it.

Hunger Hormones

The balance between 2 hormones largely determines how hungry you feel. Concentrations of the appetite-suppressor, Leptin, and appetite-enhancer, Ghrelin, are radically altered when you’re sleep deprived, and not in the way you might want. In fact, a single night of sleep deprivation can cause a huge increase in food consumption.

Evaluating Food

Perhaps even more nefarious is the impact that sleep loss has on the brain’s perception of food. Sleep loss alters the daytime activity of specific brain regions related to reward prediction, emotional reaction and the drive to consume food. High-calorie junk foods appear more attractive relative to healthier alternatives, putting even well-intentioned diners at an immediate disadvantage.

Sleep and Metabolism

In a chronically sleep deprived person, reduced production of Growth Hormone, and increases in circulating levels of Cortisol, which is also linked to feelings of stress, promote insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, in turn, contributes to high blood sugar, obesity and diabetes.

Sleep Disorders and Metabolic Disease

People with OSA, which can interrupt breathing hundreds of times each night, not only have to deal with the effects of serious sleep loss, but also with frequent drops in blood oxygen and spikes in brain activation that, together, increase inflammation throughout the body. These conditions conspire to drive obesity and diabetes much faster than sleep deprivation alone.

How Healthy is Your Sleep?

Find out using our simple sleep calculator: sleepcharge.com/sleepcalculator

Having Trouble Sleeping?

Contact the SleepCharge Participant Resource Center at sleep@fusionhealth.com or 1-877-615-7527.

Sources:
Brody School of Medicine
Grenoble University
University of Chicago

Take a Moment to Appreciate Sleep

March is a great time to ponder the importance of sleep. World Sleep Day occurs March 16th and Daylight Savings Time starts the morning of March 11th – giving us all an unwelcome added dose of sleep deprivation. It turns out that there is a well-known week-long spike in car and workplace accidents following our collective “spring forward”, and a higher number of heart attacks and strokes as well. You might wonder, how does moving schedules forward by just 1 hour cause so many problems for so many people?

Why Do We Sleep?

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Hypertension itself rarely causes symptoms but does make the heart and blood vessels work harder until years of wear and tear cause a serious event, like a heart attack or stroke. The good news: everyone can reduce their blood pressure, starting tonight, by getting healthy sleep.

What Happens When We Sleep?

Roughly half of the time spent asleep is focused on physical restoration of the brain and body. Everything slows down: heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, temperature and blood sugar all drop as tissues repair the damage caused during the day. Next, your body prepares for tomorrow by replenishing stores of energy, hormones and neurotransmitters. The brain’s specialized army of cleansing cells, a recently discovered network known as the glymphatic system, goes to work flushing out a variety of waste products. During REM sleep, your brain disconnects from your body and enters a highly active state, producing dreams that are thought to organize and archive the day’s experiences.

Sleep is Fundamental

Quality sleep is necessary for a strong body, healthy cells and tissues and a clear mind to guide everything. Communication skills, appetite, personality, judgment and even the way you perceive the world around you are all dependent on sleep. Even better, a commitment to regular quality sleep has been shown to prevent all manner of health problems while helping you feel your best every day in the process.

How Healthy is Your Sleep?

Find out using our simple sleep calculator: sleepcharge.com/sleepcalculator

Having Trouble Sleeping?

Contact the SleepCharge Participant Resource Center at sleep@fusionhealth.com or 1-877-615-7527.

Sources:
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Mayo Clinic
World Obesity Federation