Sleep, The Ripple in Your Affect?

nutrition digestive health sleepLast week I received wonderful news from a client.

She informed me that she was sleeping through the night for the first time in … DECADES! This was one of the main motivators for seeking out help from a nutritionist.

Sleep? May seem unlikely for the field of nutritional therapy but actually is a matter that trickles into digestive health, diet and cravings quite a bit. Sleep is a huge indicator and in some ways becomes a road map towards optimal health.

Really, sleep comes first.

Before we talk about balancing the diet, eating more veggies, trying the newest superfood – I want to address sleep. I want to know how you are sleeping? How much? How often you wake and when? If sleep isn’t stable then chances are nothing else is going to stick. I could throw a ton of awesome recipes, meal ideas and exercise routines at you but without dependable sleep chances are changes won’t stick. Especially, when it comes to overall feelings of wellbeing and weight loss. And this is what I want for my clients – I want the changes we make to stick.

I want the feeling of optimal health to become a familiar one.

Studies show that up to 80 million Americans struggle with sleep problems that are ignored or unaddressed by their physician. Why? No one is asking or taking the time to unpack the problem that they are facing every day. This is a quarter of our population, that could be helped through simple lifestyle and dietary shifts. And chances are that whatever ailment or issue people are struggling with in their waking life – it is getting a foothold because their sleep is no longer replenishing the body.

We are such creatures of habit and our patterns can become so normalized that not sleeping for say…DECADES … can become something that is expected instead of a sign that something needs to change! Take it as an invitation…or better yet give yourself permission to prioritize your sleep! It is truly the ticket to experiencing the rewards of all you already do for your health!

Why prioritize? The magic of sleep …

#1 – Helps your body detoxify

The thing about detoxification is that there is a really simple side to flushing out toxins. How about being a resting vessel, simply holding space for the organs to do what they do best? Not to be underestimated! The deep reside in restful sleep gives the filters of the body – liver, kidneys, spleen – a chance to work efficiently and effectively to cleanse the body.

#2 – Allows the body to make best use of insulin production.

When your insulin is functioning optimally fatty acids and lipids are removed from your blood stream and there is less storage of these in places that we don’t want – like the liver. Just 4 days of sleep deprivation start a cascade of insulin disruption.

#3 – Rest your brain!

It needs a break too – from the stress, constant decision making, lists, anxieties. When we have a full night’s rest we are able to wake refreshed, ready for the day’s many thoughts. Most of all we are prepared to make healthy decisions that truly fuel us, instead of reaching for things that are filling a deficit.

#4 – Enhance your metabolism and nourish your immune system.

Just like your filters and your brain, the complex interworkings of the digestive system need a break too. Cellular regeneration in the digestive tract allows for more nutrient absorption and therefore more nutrient delivery to the far reaches of the body. Since most of the immune system lives in the mucous membrane of the intestines, sleep really encourages healthy and happy immune function.

It is possible to be doing all the “right” things with our diet, but without sleep it is like working against the body’s natural rhythms.

#5 – Reduce cortisol (stress hormone!) production.

Wake feeling replenished without the undercurrent of stress swimming through the body. Disrupted sleep increases the amount of cortisol in the body, which decreases the production of growth hormone. Growth hormone is the body’s natural anti-aging defense and also helps efficiently process our fat intake.

Ready for the weight of exhaustion to take a hike? Is it getting in the way of your path towards better healthy and well being?

Give yourself permission to prioritize your sleep!

Written by Watershed Team

We believe that healthy, thriving people are the foundation of a strong, just and joyful society.