Better Body Clinical Nutrition


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Sleep, Sleep, Sleep – Part 1

Monday, April 1, 2024 4:31 PM

Article by Dr. Ronda Nelson 

I recently taught a webinar on the benefits of sleep and since this is Sleep Awareness Month,…. I thought I’d share some of my best practices to help you get a good night’s sleep.  

Physiology of Sleep 
Sleep has two basic cycles: REM and non-REM. We know REM as “Rapid Eye Movement” which occurs at the top of the sleep cycle. Non-REM is the deepest sleep and allows the body to repair and regenerate through the night. 

When a patient complains they are not sleeping well, it is important to find out when the restlessness of insomnia is occurring; during the first 3-4 hours or during the later part of the sleep cycle. If the insomnia has been happening for some time, this can cause cortisol to elevate the following day, leading to continued disruption of the HPA axis. As well, when sleep is insufficient, genetic expression becomes altered in over 750 genes resulting in increased systemic inflammation. 

Work Vs. Sleep 
In many cultures, including our own, work and productivity are viewed as being superior when compared to a good night’s sleep. Some cultures even have a term used to describe “death from being overworked!” In the medical field, studies have shown a 700% increase in adverse events with regard to patient care when doctors and nurses worked 5 or more 24+ hour shifts within 30 days. Pilots also report that sleep during long flights is common, often for more than 2 hours at a time. Work and social life often take precedence over self-care, especially when it comes to sleep.
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