Vitamin Z Deficiency

June 25, 2011

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 40 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders.  I believe it.  There are at least several dozen sleep disorders out there (sleep apnea restless leg syndrome, insomnia, stress), most of which can be prevented with regular, consistent exercise and cleaning up a few bad habits.

Back in the day, manual labor literally kept us on our feet for 8-12 hours a day.  These days, even those who hit the gym regularly aren’t pushing their bodies to their true potential and spend less than 45 minutes sitting on a bike reading the paper.  Today’s desk-bound population is so hyped-up on Starbucks, Red Bull and other highly caffeinated, sugary drinks it’s no wonder we toss and turn all night, staring at the ceiling:  we have overactive minds and underactive bodies!

One-third of our life should be spent sleeping.  During those ideal 8 hours of sleep, among other tasks, the body repairs itself on a cellular level, builds bone and muscle, and even burns fat!  When we are sleep-deprived, our healthy habits tend to disappear: the body craves sugar and other high calorie bombs, leading to weight gain.

Over time, chronic sleeping disorders can cause major health problems; after all, lack of sleep is  cumulative.  If you get 6 hours of sleep for several nights in a row, you’ll be in major sleep-debt.  Consider the health risks over the course of a month, 6 months or a year: the risk of depression, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers, heart problems and gastrointestinal issues…woah!

What can you do to cut down on sleep deprivation?

  1. Cut down on caffeine and sugar intake.  In fact, stop drinking coffee at noon. You’d be surprised at how long caffeine stays in the blood stream.
  2. Work your body harder and more often.  Stay active throughout the day: take the long way to the water cooler; use the stairs; walk to/from work or park your car in the back of the lot; exercise in the morning instead of the evening so you can wind down before bed.
  3. Stick to a regular schedule, even on weekends.  If you wake up every day at 7am, don’t sleep past 7:30 on weekends.  Monday won’t be such a drag after all.
  4. Finish eating at least 2 hours before bedtime to avoid midnight indigestion.
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