Get Enough Sleep: Your Body's Weapon
Sleep is always critically important — whether fasting or not, but even more so when you're fasting because your body needs to regenerate more than ever, and this regeneration happens while you sleep. Sleep also suppresses your appetite (making fasting easier).
Many people report that they're shocked at how much better they're sleeping when fasting. It's one of the best side effects of fasting and what happens when the structures and functions of your body begin to heal and regenerate.
If sleep has been a challenge for you, then fasting can make a big difference. Nothing makes you feel more powerful than sound sleep, and between fasting and these tips, it will definitely make a difference in helping you perform better during the day.
So many things interfere with sleep today: Emails, TVs with 150 channels, more hobbies, social media, and smartphones have all become such a part of living in today's modern world that people borrow time from sleep to do more. A lack of sleep can accumulate and before long, sleep deprivation sets in, which leads to a host of serious problems.
Sleep deprivation isn't a joke. When you lack sleep, here are some potential outcomes that may startle you:
Illness: Not getting enough sleep doubles your rate of breast cancer and other diseases. The best sleep pattern for a person to follow is to go to bed by 10 p.m. and wake no later than 7 a.m. The sleep you get before midnight does a lot to regenerate your body, and waking early is your body's sleep-awake cycle.
Weight gain: Sleep deprivation causes you to gain weight. Proper sleep helps you lose weight. In fact, you can lose 14.3 pounds a year by getting one more hour of sleep a night.
Hormonal shifts: When you don't get enough sleep, hormones shift, causing your appetite to change. The sugars you crave increase your insulin, creating blood sugar problems. These hormonal shifts cause weight gain and health issues.
Heart disease: When your hormones shift, causing you to eat more sugar, you get insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can cause weight gain. During this process, you convert all your carbohydrates into bad cholesterol and you retain water, which alters your blood pressure and paves the way to heart disease.
Lowered immune system: The body's immune system is weakened without sleep. The number of white cells in your body actually decreases.
Altered brainpower: Memory, concentration, and creativity are all impaired with lack of sleep.
Premature aging: The body decreases its growth hormone needed for ongoing tissue repair, healing, cell rejuvenation, and bone function. Growth hormone can reverse the effects of aging; therefore, sleep deprivation causes aging.
Sugar handling problems: When you're sleep-deprived, the ability to metabolize sugar decreases, turning sugar into fat.
Decreased regenerative powers: Sleep is needed to regenerate the body, especially the brain. When you don't have enough sleep, your body doesn't heal or regenerate.
Prolonged high cortisol levels: When you're awake for long periods of time with the lights on, the hormone cortisol doesn't naturally drop like it's supposed to. High cortisol occurs in nature when you need it to run fast or deal with pain from an injury. This constant high cortisol causes people to become panicky and depressive.
Cumulative effect: Sleep deprivation is cumulative. You don't adapt to sleep deprivation; you only get more tired and, eventually, unhealthy and overweight.