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Sleep, It's Not What It Used To Be

sleepy woman at work

Do you have trouble sleeping? Is 3-5 hours of sleep a night becoming more common? You’re not alone. Nearly 50% of Americans have a problem with sleep. The reasons can often stem from stress-induced worry over money, relationships, medical issues, social media, school pressures, etc. Recent studies have also shown that increased screen time, especially at night, can disrupt sleep due to the color of the wavelength transmitted through our phones and computer monitors, as well as the interruptions they cause.


When I was in the financial community, a common joke was, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” Everyone laughed while simultaneously hating that we were part of the joke. When I started Somulis, I queried dozens of people on a series of subjects surrounding sleep. Most complained about their lack of sleep, saying, “I just don’t sleep like I used to.” Many also submitted to the new ‘normal,’ “I’ve learned to live with less.” As a society, we have decided to “live with the problem” instead of finding a proper solution.


On the other hand, others have said that they have tried or are testing different solutions. I have a friend who takes half an Ambien every night. When I asked, “Don’t you worry about the side effects?” His response was, “I’d rather sleep than not sleep.” Having suffered from insomnia, I understand my friends’ answer. Other solutions were many and varied, providing no or limited benefit.


Although people feel the effects of lack of sleep, they don’t realize the full impact on their bodies. Sleeplessness can result in decreased memory, mood changes, weakened immune system, increased risk of diabetes, trouble with thinking and concentration, increased risk of accidents, high blood pressure, weight gain, low sex drive, increased risk of heart disease, and poor balance. These ‘symptoms’ are troubling, but a compromised immune system is the most insidious. Why? If your immune system is compromised, you are vulnerable to any pathogen or disease. Therefore, controlling stress and getting a good night’s sleep is critical to healthy living.


The mechanism is complex, but increased stress and lack of sleep increase cortisol and adrenaline production. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol compromise your immune system. Luckily, your body has a mechanism, the vagus nerve bundle, to counteract cortisol output. Gentle vagus nerve stimulation signals the pituitary gland to release the hormone oxytocin and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Oxytocin directly counters cortisol, decreasing your stress and increasing your sense of well-being.


Other factors like diet, particularly caffeine, can directly affect sleep. Another factor that most people do not consider is proper water intake. The body is comprised of 60-70% water, and inadequate consumption leads to dehydration and insufficient sleep. Also, is most of what you drink tea, coffee, milk, oat milk, energy drinks, or soda? That’s not good enough. You need clear, preferably filtered water for maximum absorption and bodily benefit. Proper hormone production is a prerequisite for sufficient sleep, which is greatly aided by a whole-food diet with adequate water intake. Diet is vital as we age when it is more difficult for the body to produce the proper amounts of critical hormones.


Also, if you’re having problems sleeping, whether getting to or staying asleep, you should consider a sleep routine. Your body is a creature of habit; giving it a reliable pattern puts it at ease. As noted above, the blue light from monitors (TV, Kindle, iPad, phone, etc.) directly excites the brain and makes it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Consider reading a paperback book if you enjoy reading before bed as part of your routine. I know it’s old school, but it can work.


There are many other things that you should consider if you’re having sleeping issues, and we will cover them in future blogs, but I did want to touch on one in particular that has become very popular—Melatonin. Your body naturally produces Melatonin as part of your circadian rhythm to fall and stay asleep. It has become commonplace to supplement Melatonin to enhance sleep, even with children. However, new studies find that this can have negative consequences. Here are some of the side effects sighted by the Mayo Clinic. In addition, here’s what an article published in JAMA said: “Melatonin has been linked to headaches, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, drowsiness, confusion or disorientation, irritability and mild anxietydepression and tremors as well as abnormally low blood pressure. It can also interact with common medications and trigger allergies.” You’re trying to lessen anxiety, not increase it.


Everyone’s goal should be to allow the body to do what it does best. More is not always better, and adding substances into the body, except for healthy foods and water, should be critically discerned. This is why Somulis is so powerful. By stimulating the vagus nerve, the body’s primary mechanism for relaxation, focus, and sleep, we remind the body to do the job it was designed to do. And because we’re a convenient wearable, we’re ready when needed.


If you want a better night’s sleep, give Somulis a try. It’s effective, safe, natural, fast-acting, and convenient.

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