Clinical Nutrition & the Basics of Sleep
Sleep and Lose Weight, Sleep and Be Healthy
At Root Cause Medical Clinic, we provide many services and the list is constantly expanding. We can provide ligament repair, evaluate for food sensitivities, improve fitness level, find hidden infections, detect levels of toxicity, discover how your body is dealing with stress, and so much more. But when we first start with a patient we begin simply.
In the Clinical Nutrition department, we know that there are certain foundational basics to keeping a body healthy and if you omit any one of these, a lot of fancy tests and treatments will not achieve the goal of optimal health.
In a nutshell, we want your body to feel good again! It’s always a delight to hear from patients that they cannot remember when they last felt as good as they currently feel. It’s truly the reason we’re here. Let’s discuss the basics of sleep.
Sleep Deprivation is Extremely Common
Sleep deprivation is likely as common as dehydration in our clinical nutrition patients. Many people are completely exhausted and stressed yet they fail to attribute it to the mere 6 hours or so they allot for sleeping each night.
The truth of the matter is that the average adult seems to require about 8 to 8 ½ hours of sleep. While there are some who require more and there are those lucky ones who require less – they are the exception rather than the rule.
Can you “Catch Up” on Your Sleep?
Too often we find patients who sleep about 6 hours during the week and try to “catch up” by sleeping more on the weekend or with the occasional nap. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable. The wake/sleep cycle of the body likes daily consistency. While it definitely may “feel better” to get some extra ZZZZs on the weekend, from a health perspective it won’t do the trick.
What Happens When the Body Sleeps
When your body is in a deep restorative sleep for about 8 hours some very important functions get initiated that do not occur when you are awake or in a light sleep. Cells of your immune system called Natural Killer (NK) cells are released during sleep. These cells are your immune defense army and they protect the body from infections, cancer, and toxins.
Natural Killer cells go to war for you against any internal enemies. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is responsible for the release of the NK cells which is why they come out in abundance during deep sleep. Thus there is a strong interrelationship between melatonin and NK cells. Melatonin is known to be the anti-aging, anti-cancer hormone. Therefore making the statement that good sleep is a necessity for health and longevity is truly no exaggeration.
How Much Sleep Do YOU Need?
If you want to assess your current need for sleep, simply go to bed around 10 or 11 (earlier if you like) and let your body sleep. Don’t set an alarm and see how many hours it takes for your body to arise and feel rested. Don’t worry if this is beyond 8 ½ hours, you may simply be sleep deprived and it’s going to take a little time to handle that sleep deficit. If you must awaken by a certain time in the morning, then keep going to sleep 15 minutes earlier each night until you find that your body naturally awakens when it needs to.
This is what nutritionists do with their patients of all ages, to determine what the needed hours of rest are for their patients. If you’re thinking that your productivity will diminish if you spend more time sleeping, that hasn’t been shown to be the case in most studies. You will likely find that your productivity increases because your body is functioning more optimally.
The metabolic rate also increases when you get adequate sleep and there is a multitude of studies that show that those suffering from sleep deprivation eat more and gain weight as compared to their rested counterparts.
Why the Body Won’t Continue Sleeping Past a Certain Point
Some people suffer from fatigue but when they try to sleep longer than 5 or 6 hours, their body ends up feeling worse. They don’t feel great after 5 or 6 but they feel even worse if they get more. The reason for this is often due to low blood sugar. The body “wakes you up” because the blood sugar has gone too low.
If the person chooses to go back to sleep they often awake later feeling worse because their blood sugar dropped further while they slept. This is a problem we treat successfully here at Root Cause Medical Clinic – it’s not difficult to treat.
Why You Have Insomnia
Insomnia and sleep-related issues are one of our specialties. We find they are commonly caused by a combination of several factors including:
• food sensitivities
• hormonal imbalances
• low blood sugar
• hidden infections
While insomnia may be common, it is not difficult to fix regardless of how long you’ve been suffering. When the underlying root cause is properly diagnosed, in most cases the problem can be eradicated. Sleeping deeply for the correct number of hours can give your health a big boost. Plan your schedule to include enough hours of rest and let us know how it goes.
If you know anyone with sleep problems please share this information with them– it’s miserable to be sleep deprived. Our programs are designed by clinical nutritionists and a medical doctor working together – they are natural (no sleeping pills or drugs) and they work.
Do you need help with your health?
We have the tools to discover why you may be having trouble with a weakened immune system. It’s not difficult as long as you’re ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes. If that sounds daunting, don’t worry. We will hold your hand through the changes and make each step of change an easy one.
Dr. Vikki Petersen DC. CCN
Founder of Root Cause Medical Clinic
Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner
Dr Vikki Petersen is a public speaker, author of two books, several eBooks and creates cutting edge content for her YouTube community. Dr Vikki is committed to bringing Root Cause Medicine and its unique approach to restoring health naturally to the world.