Why aren’t people sleeping?

Is there is a correlation between the 65% of Americans that are overweight and the 63%, that according to the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, D.C., say they do not get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night? A growing number of sleep researchers assert that there is.

In our frenzy to experience it all, get it all done, manage our universe, and not let a moment escape us, we’re missing out on one of life’s most important necessities—a good night’s sleep. People are the only animals to voluntarily ignore their sleep needs.

Since the mid-1960s, the rate of obesity in the United States has nearly tripled to one in three adults. Over the same period, the U.S. population has deducted, on average, more than an hour from their nightly slumber and about two hours since 1910, when the average person slept 9 hours a night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people in the United States sleep an average of 6.9 hours on weeknights, (that’s about 2 hours less than they did a century ago), and 7.5 hours on weekends. A whopping one-third of our population sleeps 6.5 or fewer hours nightly—far less than the 8 hours that many sleep-specialists recommend.

Take the “How Balanced Are You?” and “Are Your Sleep Patterns Healthy?” Quizzes to the right.

So what’s keeping us awake?

Some people think sleeping is a waste of time.
The work ethic for some people makes sleeping appear to be a lazy person’s pastime. For others, it’s almost a badge of honor to say they got by on 5 or 6 hours sleep a night.
Too much to do, some say, and not enough time to do it. With good time management, many people could get the things done that are necessary in the hours allotted, and still get to bed at a healthy hour.
There is the belief that staying up late burns more calories. Is this true? Sleep researchers say that it’s not. Actually, we typically burn a limited number of calories (like only about 50 in several hours) in the late evening.
Some people have an endocrine system that’s out of whack. Stress can cause the adrenal glands to start pumping cortisol (the wake up hormone!) in the middle of the night or at bedtime, just when they should be relaxing and falling asleep.

The research that went into Sleep Away the Pounds!

Sleep deprivation has been hypothesized to contribute to obesity by decreasing leptin, increasing ghrelin, and compromising insulin sensitivity. Read about it. Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) occurs frequently in obese patients and may be reversible with weight loss.Obstructive sleep apnoea and obesity are both independent risk factors for hypertension and increased sympathetic activity. Read about it. Physiologic studies suggest that sleep restriction has metabolic effects that predispose to weight gain.

The authors investigated the association between self-reported usual sleep duration and subsequent weight gain in the Nurses’ Health Study. The 68,183 women who reported habitual sleep duration in 1986 were followed for 16 years. Read about it. If you manage to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis your chances of staying slim or becoming slimmer are significantly higher, say researchers from Care Western University, Ohio, USA, after monitoring nearly 70,000 women for over a decade and-a-half. Read about it.

Visit book page…


A link between sleep deprivation and obesity?

Click to read about it...

Recent journal articles have noted that that the upward trend of obesity mirrors the increasingly severe trend of sleeplessness, especially among working class, where “49% of shift workers stated that, while working, they slept 6.5 hours or less… compared to estimates that the average American slept about 9 hours per night a century ago” (Vorona et al., 2005, p.25). Read about it.

Overweight and Obese Patients in a Primary Care

Population Report Less Sleep Than Patients With a Normal Body Mass Index

Robert D. Vorona, MD; Maria P. Winn, MSN, FNP; Teresa W. Babineau, MD; Benjamin P. Eng, MD; Howard R. Feldman, MD; J. Catesby Ware, PhD

Arch Intern Med. 2005;165:25-30.

Insufficient sleep and obesity are common in the United States. Restricted sleep causes important neurocognitive changes, including excessive daytime sleepiness and altered mood. This may result in work-related injuries and automotive crashes. Evidence links sleep loss to hormonal changes that could result in obesity. This article examines the association between restricted sleep and obesity in a heterogeneous adult primary care population. Read about it.

The Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Hormones and Metabolism

Click to read about it...

Sleeping and feeding are intricately related. Animals faced with food shortage or starvation sleep less; conversely, animals subjected to total sleep deprivation for prolonged periods of time increase their food intake markedly. Recent studies in humans have shown that the levels of hormones that regulate appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Sleep loss is associated with an increase in appetite that is excessive in relation to the caloric demands of extended wakefulness.

The regulation of leptin, a hormone released by the fat cells that signals satiety to the brain and thus suppresses appetite, is markedly dependent on sleep duration. Read about it.

Impact of Sleep Loss on the Family and Children

Click to read about it...

One psychiatry professor and sleep researcher at Harvard Medical School (NY Times, Jan. 9, 2007) has found through his research that students need plenty of sleep because growth hormone is secreted during sleep, and if they do not sleep enough, they will have shorter attention spans and use calories less efficiently.

Nutritionist Cherie Calbom, MS and psychotherapist John Calbom, MA show how lack of sleep affects the efficient use of calories in their latest book Sleep Away the Pounds (Warner Wellness). When you don’t get the hours of sleep your body needs, the hormone ghrelin increases, and studies show it causes you to want to eat more food, especially high-carb foods. In addition, the hormone leptin that controls the appetite goes down. This can cause intense hunger sensations. One study found that participants with the biggest fluctuation of hormones craved the most fattening foods such as ice cream, cakes, candy, and salty snacks like potato chips. Many people have thought it was just a lack of willpower when they couldn’t conquer cravings or binge eating; now we know, that for many people, it’s hormonal imbalances.

A whopping one-third of our population sleeps 6.5 or fewer hours nightly—far less than the 8 hours that many sleep-specialists recommend for adults. One physician says the number of overtired patients he sees has soared in the last 25 years since he has been in practice because families are trying “to squeeze 28 hours of living into 24.”

One student said that she discovered she was sleeping a few hours less than the 11 hours recommended for a 13-year-old. Her sleep journal showed that she played with her cats, getting hyped up before bed, or watched television and was unable to turn it off. She has since started reading or doing other relaxing activities to help her slow down before bedtime.

In our frenzy to experience it all and get it all done, many families are missing out on one of life’s most important necessities—a good night’s sleep, says Cherie Calbom. “We’re shifting to a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week society, and as a result we’re increasingly not sleeping like we used to,” says one professor at the University of British Columbia. We’re really only now starting to understand how that is affecting our weight and our health, and it appears to be significant.

Insomnia Diagnostics

You may be deficient in calcium. Take calcium citrate before bed. Drink a veggie juice that’s high in calcium-rich veggies such as kale, collards, turnip greens, parsley, watercress, sunflower sprouts, beet greens, or broccoli.
You may be deficient in magnesium. Take magnesium citrate at bedtime.  Make sure your ratio is 2:1 in favor of calcium over magnesium. Drink a veggie drink rich in magnesium before bed; choose beet greens, chard, collard greens, or parsley.
If you wake up between 3 and 4 am, it can indicate that your liver needs cleansing. Follow the liver cleanse. See the liver detoxification section. Follow the program in Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life.
You may have what’s known as nocturnal hypoglycemia. Try eating a protein-rich snack before going to bed. Turkey and almonds are rich in tryptophan, which helps you sleep.
You may have imbalanced brain neurotransmitters. If your excitatory neurotransmitters are too high, your mind can take off at night and chatter away, keeping you awake. See the Amino Acid Program
If you have had a lot of stress in your life, your excitatory neurotransmitters could be too high and your calming neurotransmitters such as serotonin could be too low. You need amino acids to begin balancing them and bring them back to harmony.

When I got very stressed out, my neurotransmitters were so out of whack, the practitioner that worked with me said I could eat a whole cow and not get them back in balance. My GABA was over 5,000 points too high trying to bring the excitatory transmitters down. You may need a tailored amino acid program that is suited for you, just as I did. See the Amino Acid Program

The Amino Acid Program for Insomnia

Do you suffer with any of the following? Click to read more...

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy and Seizures
  • Insomnia and Jet Lag
  • Migraine Stress

The Amino Acid Program could help. Neurotransmitter testing is the best way to quantify depletion in brain chemicals. Testing can be completed whether you are taking medications or not. For more information regarding how to get tested, please go to www.neurogistics.com and use my practitioner code SLEEP.

For more information call 425.261.8821.

Cherie’s Sleep Well Recipes

2 Romaine lettuce leaves

1/2 lemon, peeled

5 medium carrots, scrubbed well,green tops removed, ends trimmed

4 cauliflower florets, washed

Cut produce to fit your juicer’s feed tube. Juice ingredients and stir. Pour into a glass and drink as soon as possible.

Serves 1

2 romaine lettuce leaves

1 small handful parsley

1/2 cucumber, peeled

3 carrots, scrubbed well, tops removed, ends trimmed

1 lemon, peeled

1 stalk celery

Bunch up the parsley and roll in a romaine leaf. Juice the cucumber and turn off the machine. Add the romaine and parsley, turn the machine back on and tap it through with a carrot. Juice remaining produce, stir the juice, and drink as soon as possible.

Serves 1


Cherie’s Sleep Tips for Your Best Sleep

Wind down at least one hour before going to bed. Going at high speed until you drop into bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. For most of us, the mind doesn’t just shut off in seconds. Turn off the TV, internet, and loud music at least one hour before bedtime; avoid arguments, or anything else that would keep your mind chattering when the lights go out.
Keep slices of turkey in the refrigerator. Turkey is rich in tryptophan, which helps us sleep. It’s an amino acid that is a precursor of the sleep-inducing substances serotonin and melatonin—the raw material the brain uses to build relaxing neurotransmitters.
Keep your feet warm in winter. Wearing socks to bed can help. One study shows that warming your feet at night reduces nighttime awakenings.
Take magnesium and calcium supplements. When your calcium is low, you can have trouble falling asleep. When magnesium is too low, you can wake up in the night and not be able to go back to sleep. Magnesium supplementation has also been found to be effective therapy for restless leg syndrome. Magnesium has a sedating effect on the nervous system, and it’s one of the nutrients frequently deficient in the American diet. You should take these minerals in a 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium before bed. For example, if you take 300 mg of calcium, take 150 mg of magnesium. The most absorbable form is calcium citrate and magnesium citrate. See the supplement section for our recommended brand of calcium and magnesium.
Avoid stimulating foods and substances like nicotine, caffeine, and sweets, especially in the evening. For some people, these substances can keep them up most of the night. And though alcohol is a sedative, once the effects wear off, it can have the reverse effect during the night, causing frequent awakenings.
Take B Complex. The B vitamins are known to have a sedative effect on the nerves. Vitamin B6 can help to prevent insomnia. Vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid (B5) are helpful for insomnia and pantothenic acid is good for relieving stress. Inositol enhances REM sleep. See the supplement section for a recommendation for a very effective brand of B complex-CoEnzyme B Complex.
Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic sea salt in hot water. Drink this about a half hour before going to bed; it tastes a bit like a broth. Celtic sea salt is rich in minerals that can help you sleep well.
Improve your adrenal function. Overreacting or malfunctioning adrenals can pump out high levels of adrenal hormones in the evening or at bedtime, just when you should be winding down and getting ready to sleep. But instead, you feel like taking on a new project. Or, they can start pumping hormones in the middle of the night and wake you up; you may not be able to return to sleep.
Stress in the form of worry or anxiety, a harried schedule, or an unhealthy lifestyle can cause sleepless nights. Take the “How Balanced Are You?” quiz to find out how balanced your life is.