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Sleep Deprivation and Stress

Ask any adult to list the top five things lacking in their life right now and there is a good chance that sleep will be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is something most of us are all too familiar with. And while we know that getting a good night’s rest is important for our health, few of us find enough hours in the day to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye.


Besides the hilarious or slightly more embarrassing moments of losing your keys only to find that they are in your hand or leaving the house in your slippers, research shows that chronic lack of sleep can have more serious side effects such as:

  • Increased accidents and injuries

  • Decreased mental alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving

  • Decreased mood

  • Weight gain

  • Decreased immune function

  • Increased risk of chronic disease


Because sleep loss is so commonplace, we have become adept at functioning in a tired state. With coffee and energy drink consumption at a record high, it seems as though we have found a quick fix for our daily run-ins with brain fog and forgetfulness. Success? I think not.

Though minimizing these relatively minor side effects might increase your productivity short-term, the less visible consequences of sleep loss are far more detrimental to your health and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here is why:

  1. Increased Oxidative Stress

As noted above, sleep is a time for your body to repair damage caused by external and internal stressors, to recharge, and to regulate its internal systems. Without adequate sleep, we get a build-up of free radicals which damage the cells and tissues of the body. This cellular damage will likely go unnoticed for some time; however, long-term exposure to excessive free radicals has the potential to cause permanent damage to your health.

  1. Decreased Brain Function

Ever wonder what goes on in your brain during sleep? More than you can imagine! It is working hard to process the day’s events. From creating and consolidating memories to forming neural connections and integrating complex information, your brain is anything but inactive during those non-waking hours.

And not only is your brain working to create a scaffold for your knowledge, it is also busy clearing out toxins that have accumulated from exposure to the stresses of everyday life. So, by skipping out on hours of precious sleep, you are preventing your brain from performing these important housekeeping tasks that keep it functioning at an optimal level.

  1. Hormonal Imbalances

Did you know that sleep deprivation can result in a significant alteration in metabolic and endocrine function? If you knew that this could affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight or increase your risk of chronic disease, would you make sleep a higher priority? I sure hope so!


During waking hours, your body releases hormones vital to the maintenance of homeostasis. These hormones include cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon—all of which work to regulate the following functions:

  • Energy metabolism

  • Immune function

  • Anti-inflammatory actions

  • Cardiovascular and central nervous system function

When we sleep, levels of these hormones drop and our body starts to release a set of hormones (e.g., human growth hormone) that are involved in growth and repair processes. Without adequate sleep, we are exposed to higher and prolonged levels of hormones like cortisol which has been shown to have widespread negative effects on the body. These effects include (but are not limited to):

  • Increased muscle protein breakdown

  • Elevated blood pressure

  • Lowered immune function

Additionally, hormones regulating appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Sleep restriction is associated with reductions in leptin (appetite suppressant) and elevations in ghrelin (appetite stimulation). This results in increased feelings of hunger and, in the face of abundant food, likely leads to overeating.


First we suggest trying to catch a few more hours of sleep. Consider these simple tips for a better nights rest.

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule

Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. This helps to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle.

  • Consider your intake right before bed

  • Avoid eating too much or too little as GI discomfort can interrupt your sleep.

  • Try to reduce the amount you drink before bed so that you avoid waking up in the middle of the night to make a trip to the bathroom.

  • Limit your intake of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol right before you go to sleep. Both caffeine and nicotine have stimulatory effects and though alcohol might make you sleepy initially, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night.

  • Turn off your electronics

The light from your electronic devices stimulates your mind and can suppress melatonin production, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle.

  • Make your bedroom more sleep friendly

  • Reduce noise by wearing earplugs or by creating background noise with a fan.

  • Keep your room cool and dark. Most people sleep best in a dark room at temperatures around 65°F.

  • Increase your physical activity

Regular activity is associated with better quality sleep. Avoid exercising too close to bed as it may leave you feeling more energized, thus, making it difficult for you to fall asleep.

But, we get it. Finding eight hours in your day for uninterrupted shut-eye isn’t always possible. So, what can you do to take care of the less visible side effects of sleep loss?

Try taking Protandim Nrf2® and AXIO®. Listed below is a description of how these products work to keep your body functioning at an optimal level. These have truly changed my ability to get a good night sleep and I no longer have chronic insomnia.

PROTANDIM: A daily dietary supplement that combats oxidative stress

For those of you suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, Protandim is for you! By helping to minimize exposure to oxidative stress it has the potential to maximize your sleep quality.

Users of Protandim report improved quality of sleep!
1. Repairs damaged cells
  • Activates certain genes that work to increase production of internal protective enzymes and proteins.

  • Helps to maintain proper functioning of the body and promotes optimal health.

2. Helps the brain recharge
  • Activates protective enzymes and proteins (i.e., SOD, catalase, & glutathione peroxidase) that work to clear out toxins in the brain.

  • May help to reduce wear and tear on the brain that is linked to impaired learning and memory.

3. Regulates hormones
  • Supports the adrenal and thyroid glands, two key players in regulating hormonal balance.

  • Helps regulate hormones involved in many functions including: the stress response, energy metabolism, immune function, and blood pressure.

AXIO: An energy drink optimized to provide a multi-dimensional energy boost for both mind and body, yet calms mental stress.


1. Anti-fatigue
  • Blocks the activity of a neuromodulator (i.e., adenosine) that makes us feel tired; stimulates the release of a hormone (i.e., adrenaline) that works to enhance mental alertness and increase energy levels.

  • Helps reduce fatigue and promotes sustained energy without over stimulation.

2. Balanced mood
  • Increases the transmission of neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, acetylcholine, & serotonin) involved in the regulation of mood and emotional stability.

  • Helps promote positive mood.

3. Mental focus
  • Blocks the action of damaging free radicals; stimulates neural activity by upregulating chemicals in the brain responsible for nerve transmission and normal cognitive function.

  • Helps boost cellular protection. Promotes normal brain and nervous system function. Helps improve learning performance, focus, and mental acuity.

Jane Smolnik is a Naturopathic Doctor, Holistic Wellness and Vitality Specialist with over 30 years experience. For more info please visit or call 828-777-5263.
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