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Health Tips

From tips on how to lose weight effectively to ways to combat boredom eating, this collection of informative articles covers a wide range of health topics that matter to real people, like you.

Tired Telomeres: The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is suggested to offer the most restoration, and has even shown to combat against telomere damage, accelerated aging, and weight gain. But on one condition… You achieve adequate sleep. The strong link between telomeres and sleep should not be slept on, as missing out on the Zzz’s may be hindering health!

Tired Telomeres: The Importance of Sleep

Telomeres and Sleep

The link between telomeres and sleep continues to strengthen. In fact, particularly in seniors aged 70 and older, Chronic Insomnia has been associated with shorter telomeres. In general, long sleep equals long telomeres, with individuals sleeping more than 7 hours showing long telomeres, compared to those 5-hour sleepers, who display short ones. Stable telomeres are suggested to come from quality sleep and ultimately, a good night’s rest has been suggested to:

Buffer Some Effects of Aging
Aligning with sleep’s relation to telomeres, the effects of aging may also be buffered. A good night’s rest may not only clear puffy bags under the eyes, but minimize the effects of aging with each passing night.

Regulate Appetite
If you have felt intense cravings when sleep deprived, you are not alone. In fact, individuals report a strong impulse for rich carbs and fats when tired, which could severely impact health in the long-run if such bouts are frequent. A poor night’s sleep can elevate the hormones Cortisol (the stress responder), Insulin (the blood sugar regulator), and Ghrelin (the hunger instigator). The elevation of such hormones can cultivate an appetite for innutritious foods in large volumes, putting sleep deprivation as a contributor to obesity.

Soothe Pain of Stressful Memories
The importance of sleep is much more than physical, transcending to mental health. Although stress can impede falling asleep and remaining in sleep cycles throughout the night, falling into a cycle of quality sleep can start dulling and soothing stressful memories. In fact, sleep is implied to heal the pain of stressful memories, reducing intensified emotions and acting as an emotional “refresh” button.

Awakening Telomeres: 7 Tips to Better Sleep

1. Build A Routine
Sticking to routines can facilitate improved sleep cycles, including the day’s structure and sleep and wake times. Try laying in bed at an appropriate hour, allowing yourself time to rest into sleep, and maintain the position for the recommended seven to nine hours.

2. Create A Comforting Environment
In addition to building a routine, a comforting environment is also an integral piece of the sleep quality puzzle. Sleeping environments should be conducive to sleep, being comfortable and relaxing, and include darkness and an appropriate air climate.

3. Disconnect from Electronics
Playing on electronics cannot only be distracting come bedtime, but the blue light emitted off them can suppress Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone. Turn off phones, televisions, and other electronic devices leading up to bedtime to reduce distractions and facilitate a natural sleep cycle.

4. Limit Stress
Carrying over daytime stress to nightly hours can compromise sleep quality, or even the ability to fall asleep for that matter. Along with facilitating a natural calm, stress-relieving techniques, including meditation and these bedtime yoga poses, can also help facilitate a peaceful night of shuteye.

5. Enjoy Bedtime Snacks
Although snacking come bedtime may be discouraged continuously, enjoying a bedtime snack can be quite beneficial, especially if that pesky hunger pang starts to roar. But when choosing a bedtime snack, try choosing sleep-inducing, nutritious items, including these sources.

6. Manage Underlying Health Conditions
Sleep may be compromised by underlying health conditions, including Sleep Apnea and snoring. Interestingly, individuals who snore are suggested to have shortened telomeres compared to those who do not, further stressing the importance of treating and managing such conditions.

7. Consider CBT
Known as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, CBT is promoted as the most effective treatment for Chronic Insomnia at this point in time. And while it may not be necessary for all restless sleepers, considering CBT may be what you need to achieve quality sleep.

Sarah Asay's Photo
Written By Sarah Asay, RDN. Published on August 15, 2017. Updated on May 12, 2020.


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