Good Sleep is Essential for Good Health

I am lucky enough to have very motivated patients who are very informed on ways to improve their health, including diet, supplements, and exercise.  What persistently surprises to me is the extent to which these same patients will cheat their sleep.  Most often, I hear stories of staying up late to get work done or to reconnect with a spouse.  I also frequently note that patients are shorting their sleep in order to carve out time to work-out in the mornings.  While I understand that exercise, relationships, and work are very important priorities for most people and I support my patients in these endeavors, I often take the time to explain that at the foundation of what we need to accomplish in our daily lives is a good night’s sleep.  In fact, everything we want our bodies to do for us-good mood, good metabolism, good immunity, balanced hormone production, clear thinking, strong muscles and bones, etc.-starts with a locked-in circadian rhythm.  As human beings, we evolved with a predictable dark-light cycle and all of our body functions are structured to optimally work with that cycle.    So before you spend money on a vitamin or go on a keto-diet or wake up at 5 am to get to the gym, make sure that you are sleeping 7-8 hours, going to sleep in the night and waking in the am, and sticking to your sleep routine within an hour on either end on the weekends. Helping patients to understand the order in which to place priorities is my job.  SLEEP IS THE FOUNDATION upon which every other priority follows.

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