Wake Up from Better Sleep

Second only to breathing the most important thing you do each night is sleep. If you’ve ever missed sleep for a night or more you will understand its importance. Our sleep patterns naturally change throughout our lives, dependent upon genetics, life circumstances, health status and activity level. Some people require more sleep as they get older, while some require less. People who are ill or recovering from illness usually benefit from more sleep, while people under stress (and during times of upheaval) often find it difficult to get adequate sleep. Yet, sleep is so essential for a high functioning and healthy lifestyle that your efforts in smart self-care may be undermined if you aren’t getting the right amount of restful sleep.


Sleep specialists and researchers agree that the range of 7-9 hours nightly is optimal for the majority of us. People who regularly sleep more than 9 hours while still feeling fatigued during the day (a sign of oversleeping) should consult with your doctor to uncover the cause. It may be triggered by medications or medication combinations, and for some people drinking alcohol too close to bedtime, too frequently or in excess leads to hypersomnia. Excessive sleeping may also be a sign of depression and increased suicide risk.

These medications can cause hypersomnia:

  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety meds
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Anticonvulsants

The symptoms of hypersomnia: difficulty waking up in the morning (including sleeping through the alarm); difficulty getting “up and at ‘em”; grogginess on and off throughout the waking hours; and trouble concentrating. This issue frequently affects shift workers and those who take long naps. Regular daytime sleepiness (somnolence) is significantly associated with mortality in both men and women. This is often due to sleep apnea, Restless Leg Syndrome or insomnia interfering with sleep quality, and it has a suspected role in the development of cardiovascular disease.

Hypersomnia is often related to neurological disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, M.S., brain injuries and obesity. Certain genetic predispositions also may contribute to this problem. People who struggle with both insomnia and hypersomnia appear to have a significantly greater risk for bipolar disorder.

Health Hazards from Sleep Disorders

  • A study showed that older men and women who frequently slept more than 8 hours had a 46% increased risk of stroke compared to seniors who slept between 6 and 8 hours. Perhaps those long hours spent in bed sleeping may be an indicator of an underlying health issue and is not the cause of the issue.
  • The study also revealed that seniors who didn’t adhere to a consistent sleep pattern (such as those who used to sleep fewer than 6 hours but who increased their sleep time to more than 8 hours) had a stroke risk 4 times higher than those with consistent sleep times throughout the nearly decade long study. Thus, consistency is important for good health. Ben Franklin was clearly on to something.
  • Insufficient sleep is also a problem, as sleep deprivation is associated with health risks and weight gain. Insufficient sleep has been linked to brain fog, increased risk of auto accidents, behavioral problems, cancer, diabetes, memory loss and weight gain. The magnitude of increased cardiovascular risk from insufficient sleep is similar to that of smoking or having diabetes at age 50. People with chronic insomnia are 300% more likely for all-cause mortality compared to those without insomnia.
  • A study showed that poor quality and/or insufficient sleep was the strongest predictor of pain and pain-related conditions (such as fibromyalgia) in adults over 50!

Risks Linked To Excessive Sleep

Brain Decline:  A 14-year study demonstrated that women who regularly slept longer than 9 hours had the most rapid cognitive decline. Their brains were 2 years older than the brains of women who regularly slept 7-8 hours. Another study revealed that men and women over 60 who regularly slept more than 9 hours had more rapid brain decline than those who slept between 6 and 8 hours.  Over the 3-year study, those who slept the longest exhibited almost double the amount of cognitive decline.

Depression:  Excess sleep has been linked to depression.  A genetic study consisting of adult twins showed that those who slept for 7-9 hours a night had a 27% heritability of depression, but the genetic risk for depression increased up to 49% among twins who slept for 10+ hours. Talk with your medical professional soon if this describes your situation.

DiabetesType II diabetes has been associated with both an excess and deficiency of sleep.  A study showed that people who regularly slept for over 8 hours were twice as likely to have type II diabetes as individuals who slept 7-8 hours.

Heart Problems:  A study showed that sleeping more than 8 hours per day doubled angina risk.  Angina is characterized by chest pain and is considered a warning sign of heart disease.

Impaired ability to form memories & increased memory loss: Sleep is a vitally important time for creating long-term memories. Our brain requires adequate quality sleep to make sense of life’s experiences. Reduced productivity/ creativity is another unfortunate outcome of poor sleep duration.

Staying Alive: Excess sleep has also been linked to premature death. Studies have shown that regularly sleeping more than 8 hours puts you at a 1.3 times greater risk for all-cause mortality.

Weight Gain: Researchers also found that those who regularly slept for 10+ hours were 25% more likely to gain 11 pounds over 6 years than those who slept less. Inadequate sleep (less than 7 hours per night) appears to have a similar effect. Researchers speculate that sleep helps set and maintain levels of leptin (your body’s hormone that makes you feel full) and ghrelin (the hunger stimulating hormone).

Healthy Sleep Tips

  • Buy a comfortable mattress.
  • Create consistent sleep patterns every day.
  • The darker your bedroom the better.
  • Avoid napping too long (15-20 minutes max) or too close to bedtime.
  • Limit your stimulant consumption to early in the day.
  • Have your last meal or snack at least 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Use the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge—there’s no point in trying to hold it.
  • Avoid drinking too much water before bedtime. Spread out your daily water consumption evenly throughout the day.
  • Turn off cell phones, e-readers and computers at least two hours before bedtime. The blue light they emit impedes melatonin release by the pineal gland.
  • Exercise regularly; meditate daily and get sunshine on your face every day you can.
  • Lower the room temperature to around 65 to 68 degrees.
  • Use ear plugs if outside noises bother you.
  • Use nose strips such as Breathe Right if you snore or your sinuses are congested.
  • Avoid foods that interfere with sleep: Watery foods such as watermelon will wake you up too soon; spicy foods can cause digestive disturbances; high protein foods such as meat can cause digestive problems and prevent full muscle relaxation; fatty foods can interfere with orexin production — a neurotransmitter that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. Fatty foods can also cause digestive problems when lying down.

Fall Asleep Faster

  • Read a book.
  • Avoid alcohol near bedtime. It can interfere with normal sleep cycles.
  • Take a hot shower or bath with lavender essential oil.
  • Listen to soft and melodic instrumental music.
  • Magnesium is the “sleep mineral”. Supplement with chelated magnesium to support muscle relaxation and deactivate adrenaline.
  • Drink chamomile tea, valerian tea, peppermint tea, tart cherry juice, almond milk or other bedtime teas to support the quality sleep you desire. Drink warm for best results.
  • Sleep on your back with your neck supported, and avoid sleeping on your right side.

The Goldilocks Zone

The sweet spot for sleep is between 7 and 8 hours. If you’re consistently sleeping longer look to other factors in your life, such as diet, exercise and side effects from medications, to determine if your sleep patterns are a sign of a deeper health issue. Insufficient sleep decreases immune function, potentially worsening chronic diseases.

If you have trouble sleeping the optimal amount each night the cause is likely a metabolic imbalance that can be discovered by a Hair Mineral Analysis (HMA) and a urine/saliva test known as the Biological Immunity Analysis® (BIA.®).

Relevant Healthy Habits® Products:

  • Hair Mineral Analysis may give you the answers you seek. Correct mineral levels/ratios are of key importance for your body/mind to function correctly. Hair Mineral Analysis is a simple, accurate way to test these levels and ratios. We believe it will shed some light on health issues that other tests fail to identify. From just a small sample of hair, your HMA report may reveal hidden aspects of your health that has been overlooked. Click here now to learn more.

Healthy Habits® is here to support you to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life. Thank you for sharing our articles and information with your loved ones. We pride ourselves on being a quality resource for you and your family.

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