Lack of sleep during the holiday season may be a symptom of overindulging in food and drink, stress during travel, and microbes you pick up from friends and family. Due to a lack of sleep and the way we treat our bodies during the holidays, we often find ourselves in a negative state, simply hoping we make it through to January 1st.
Lacking sleep goes beyond yawning and tired eyes. Not getting enough rest can have much more serious effects on our overall health. We previously mentioned research at the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, which includes findings that the short-term effects of sleep deprivation are associated with increased stress, increased blood pressure, impaired control of blood glucose, and increased inflammation.
When you get a good night’s rest, you probably feel better, or perhaps you find yourself on a path leading you closer to feeling like your old self. The trouble being, you may not be able to fall asleep no matter how hard you try. Below, we outline eight potential factors that may be affecting your normal sleep schedule, including the supplements that may help you get through the holiday season.
1. Overexposure to Lights After Nightfall
We fall asleep because of the hormone melatonin that is found in our brain. It is responsible for regulating our sleep schedule. The production of this chemical is based on the amount of light we expose to a group of nerve cells located behind our eyes. Normally, just before bed, melatonin levels in your blood are elevated. In the morning, when light enters the room, melatonin hits a low point and you are ready to hop out of bed and start the day.
Because you may be up later or have lights strung up around your home, or are watching television or viewing some other light source, melatonin production is disrupted despite your feeling physically tired. As a result, you are unable to fall asleep.
2. Waste Buildup Inside The Body
Metabolic waste is produced during normal digestion, or when fungi and bacteria inside the body rapidly die off as a result of the immune system, medication, or other compounds. The liver is the primary pathway for eliminating toxins, except when it becomes overwhelmed, which can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, headache, body aches, joint and muscle pain, nausea, chills, sweating, brain fog or general malaise.
Detoxification is a process that seeks to support the body’s natural cleansing properties. The purpose is to promote the normal functions of a healthy stomach, kidneys, liver, and to support blood purification. Detoxification is believed to support healthy blood flow, normal oxygen levels in the blood, and the normal absorption of nutrients in cells.
3. Preservatives, Genetics, and Gut Bacteria
Gut bacteria breaks down food and supplies essential nutrients to cells in the body. A number of factors may affect the quality of “good” bacteria, from genetics to preservatives in food. Some researchers are finding a link between migraines and gut bacteria. A lot of different foods are laid out in front of us during the holidays. Some of these contain compounds that may not be properly broken down inside our body and may contribute to our head pain. Taking a little of everything may be tempting, but you may find some relief by avoiding meats or simply reducing the amount that you eat.
4. Not Enough Stomach Acid
Stomach acid, also known as gastric acid, contains a blend of hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride and sodium chloride. That sounds horrifying, but it plays a key role in the digestion of food and nutrient absorption. Many people associate heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, bloating, gas, undigested food and cramping as a sign that they have too much stomach acid. The reality may be that you have too little stomach acid and can’t properly digest all the food you may be eating over the holidays.
5. The Overwhelming Stress of Everything
Stress is a negative bodily state, as it extends past our ability to cope with our current situation and tires our bodily systems and causes physical as well as behavioral problems. The holidays span almost a full month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we face overwhelming odds, like we do during the holidays, the adrenal glands secrete the hormone cortisol, which loads our body with glucose that acts as an energy source for muscles. Normally, more glucose would be stored as an energy source for later. During times of stress, our body uses too much glucose in a short span of time and it becomes challenging to recover the energy we need for later.
Cortisol also narrows arteries, which restrict blood flow and oxygen to tissue that can make us feel sluggish. Additionally, when the adrenal system remains active, the glands tire and can make your feel unresponsive. The result of all this is immune suppression, hormone imbalance, poor concentration, digestion issues, inflammation, histamine release, weight gain, forgetfulness, mood issues, plaque buildup in the arteries, sub-par performance, blood sugar control issues and even premature aging.
6. Cold Weather and Microbial Challenges
The immune system is a very complex and important part of a healthy body. Vitamin C is important to several biological functions in the body, including collagen biosynthesis, L-carnitine synthesis and protein metabolism. Vitamin C also provides antioxidants that seek to stop cell oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals that can disrupt normal cellular develop. This process may also overwhelm the liver and the normal ability to detoxify during internal or microbial challenges.
7. Muscles Tension and Frayed Nerves
Stress, anxiety and frustration among other factors can cause tension in your muscles. This stress can come from financial issues, travel, or spending long hours awake in a loud or bright environment. The feeling of tensions is the result of squeezing of muscles that restrict blood flow into issues and can contribute to the buildup of toxins and excessive wear of connective tissue. This tension may also cause friction and separation of nerves from tissue, which may result in a sharp, or a dull, constant pain. In either case, the ability to relax and enter a healthy sleep cycle may become difficult.
New research into the potential benefits of aromatherapy shows that essential oils may promote health and balance in the body. Including temporary relief from occasional pain, support for a healthy mood and immune system.
8. Blood Sugar and Hormones
Despite the fact that you may be sound asleep, your brain is active, transferring memories, carrying out repairs and the overall maintenance it requires to function throughout the day. In order to carry out these actions, the brain needs fuel, which comes in the form of sugar. When blood sugar drops, the adrenal glands releases stress hormones that raise blood sugar. This stress, as you might be able to guess, disrupts your normal sleep cycle.
Simply eating more sugar may not be the answer. During the holidays, if we don’t eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, and sugars, disruption of normal hormone production in the body may result in poor sleep patterns.
Use These Products To Promote Relaxation and Support a Healthy Sleep Cycle
If you are looking to support your healthy body during the holidays, try one of our recommended supplements. These make great presents that may benefit friends and family! Order today and receive free domestic shipping – no minimum order required!
- Anxiety: Calm-CP from Neuroscience works to support healthy cortisol levels and cortisol receptor sensitivity. Cortisol is a “stress hormone,” which this herbal formula seeks to support, in addition to healthy glucose levels already within the normal range.
- Sleep: Stress Relax Tranquil Sleep from Natural Factors is formulated with Suntheanine L-Theanine, 5-HTP, and melatonin. This formula may promote relaxation and a healthy sleep cycle.
- Detoxification: Nutramedix Burbur Detox is an herbal supplement that contains extracts of Desmodium molliculum, which seeks to support the body’s natural detoxification process.
- Enzymes and Bacteria: Ultra Flora Acute Care from Metagenics introduces more than 4 billion live organisms into the body using strains of L. rhamnosus HN001 and B. lactis HN019. This formula seeks to support a healthy gastrointestinal tract, mucosal lining, and gut flora to help maintain abdominal comfort, a healthy immune system and normal nutrient absorption.
- Acid Reflex: Immediate Heartburn Relief from Terry Naturally is formulated with vitamins and minerals to provide the nutritional support you need to neutralize gastric acidity.
- Digestion: Betaine HCL Pepsin from Pure Encapsulations support optimal digestion with a combination of betaine HCI and pepsin, which play key roles in normal digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- Nerve Comfort: NeuroVen from Premier Research Labs supports a healthy central nervous system and normal signal transmission. This specialized formula uses a “Neuro Support Blend” and “Phospholipid NeuroBlend.”
- Muscle Relaxation: Ancient Minerals Ultra Pure Magnesium Lotion w/MSM from LL Magnetic Clay delivers magnesium through the skin and directly into your body’s cell. The organic plant moisturizers seek to support skin hydration and promote relaxation in muscles.
- Blood Sugar: MetaGlycemX from Metagenics helps support blood sugar levels already within the normal range. A unique combination of vitamins and minerals seek to promote overall health and provide antioxidants.
- Immune System: C-1000 with Rose Hips and Bioflavonoids from NOW Foods contains vitamin C, rose hips and bioflavonoids that work with your body to support a healthy immune system during microbial challenges.
What helps you sleep during the holidays? Whether you are staying home or traveling a great distance, stay safe and good luck finding time to relax and get a good night’s sleep!