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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Lack of Sleep Linked to Rising Chronic Disease Rates: Nutritionist Dan Shows How to Get Better Zs With Diet & Lifestyle

Last updated Thursday, May 16, 2024 15:14 ET , Source: Daniel Ervin

Chronic sleep deprivation causes numerous health problems. Daniel Ervin, nutritionist and fitness expert, gives tips on how to achieve better sleep by improving diet and bedtime routines.

Calgary, Canada, 05/16/2024 / SubmitMyPR /

There’s no doubt that the world is suffering from a severe lack of sleep. Nearly 40% of respondents reported that they get only three or fewer nights of good sleep each week, and only 13% said they sleep well every night, a global sleep survey with over 36,000 people found.

Consistent sleep deprivation doesn’t just result in a constant lack of energy to get through your day and difficulty in concentrating on daily tasks. It is also associated with an increased likelihood of developing major chronic diseases, such as dementia, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even cancers of the breast, colon, ovaries, and prostate. This has a huge impact on public health, and is a contributor to the rising rates of chronic diseases, putting a drain on various health systems worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, if the rising chronic disease trend continues, by around 2050, chronic diseases will make up 86% of the 90 million deaths each year – a staggering 90% increase in absolute numbers from 2019.

In the past, people depended on the natural day and night cycle to govern their wakefulness and sleeping hours. When the sun is up, it’s time to work. When night comes, it’s time for sleep because there’s not much that people can do in the dark. However, that changed with the invention of electric lighting, which has been linked to people getting less sleep. In today’s modern world, electric lights are everywhere, reducing humans’ exposure to darkness, which stimulates the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Additionally, electronic devices such as smartphones and computers produce blue light, which blocks the production of melatonin.

According to Daniel Ervin, a nutritionist expert, diet and lifestyle are two major factors causing sleep issues. Today, caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, black tea, cola, and energy drinks, are very popular. While these drinks are useful for a jolt of energy, they are not a substitute for proper sleep. Drinking too much can also cause people to lose sleep at night, resulting in tiredness the next day, which they stave off by drinking some more, creating a vicious cycle. To prevent this, Daniel recommends cutting out caffeine intake outright. But, if unavoidable, he says people should limit themselves to a maximum of 300 milligrams of caffeine per day, depending on the person.

Rather than drinking caffeinated drinks, Daniel recommends taking herbal teas or natural supplements before bedtime to encourage relaxation and sleep. These include Valerian Root, Passionflower, Chamomile, and Dong Quai.

Furthermore, eating a nutritionally poor diet, such as those high in sugar, fats, and salt can also prevent people from sleeping well. An imbalanced diet results in high levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood, which can keep people up at night. Daniel works together with clients to create a customized nutrition plan for them, correcting their diet and helping them feel better and more relaxed.

With regard to lifestyle, Daniel says that having a set bedtime is important, as well as avoiding screen time for a minimum of one hour before said bedtime. A sedentary lifestyle is also a major contributor to lack of sleep, with a study finding that lower cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with sleep problems. Regular moderate physical activity throughout the day, such as walking, can help people sleep better at night. The 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise is also effective in helping people relax and fall asleep, as well as listening to isochronic tones and delta waves before bedtime.

“Aside from a proper diet, developing a good sleep routine is important in order for people to turn off their minds at night after a long day. Exercises, meditation, sleep programming, and supplements also help, but their effectiveness varies from individual to individual,” Daniel says. “I work with my clients to get a snapshot of their condition, such as diet, lifestyle, and sleep hygiene, which will allow me to come up with a plan to help them get better sleep.”

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