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How do our body’s chemicals affect our sleep quality?

How do our body’s chemicals affect our sleep quality?

posted by: Nicole Hovey date: Nov 15, 2021 category: Blog comments: Comments Off on How do our body’s chemicals affect our sleep quality?

Insufficient sleep can be harmful to your physical health as well as damaging to your mental wellbeing. From cardiovascular disease to bipolar disorder, lack of sleep has been connected to a wide variety of health conditions. This makes sleep a crucial factor to consider in your behavioral health clients.

Let’s examine some of the chemicals involved in the body’s sleep process. This may help you better understand their role in getting a good night’s sleep.

1. Adenosine

Adenosine is a chemical found in all human cells. It plays an important role in many functions, including digestion, respiration, heart function, and our central nervous and immune systems.

Adenosine begins to build up when we wake in the morning, slowly accumulating over the day. This makes us sleepy and signals our bodies to be ready for sleep. However, adenosine can be blocked by caffeine. Using caffeine too much, or at the wrong time, can interfere with this chemical.

2. Cortisol and epinephrine

The hormones cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) have a major role in our sleep-wake cycle. The body starts to release these hormones when we wake up, helping us feel alert. Daylight exposure, particularly early in the morning, can help encourage healthy release of these chemicals.

However, these hormones are also known as “stress hormones.” When the body releases too much of them for too long, it can lead to chronic stress and insomnia.

3. Melatonin

Melatonin is another naturally occurring hormone. Our bodies release melatonin in the morning so that it builds up over the course of the day. (Cortisol helps signal the production of melatonin.)

Blue light from screens can interfere with melatonin production. This is why screen time late at night can harm your sleep quality.

Natural options for better sleep

Many people take supplements to help them sleep, but research on their use is limited, and they may not be appropriate for everyone. Here are some common supplements used for sleep:

Magnesium Threonate: Magnesium is important for many different functions in the body. Supplement companies offer different forms of magnesium, but the L-threonate form may be the best for sleep. Take 200-400mg about 30 minutes before bed.
Theanine: Theanine is an amino acid found naturally in tea leaves. It has a number of health benefits, and may help people feel calmer. As a supplement, try taking 200-400 mg to improve your sleep.
Apigenin: Apigenin is widely found in plants and may promote relaxation. It is found in chamomile, often used to make a relaxing bedtime tea. Try using 50 mg of the supplement version for better sleep.
Melatonin: Many people take melatonin as a supplement to help them sleep, but it may not be as effective as previously believed. Some studies have found that melatonin may suppress other hormones, including sex hormones, in the body. Experts are not sure what is the safest, most effective amount of melatonin to take.

The American College of Physicians recommends cognitive behavioral therapy as the initial treatment for individuals with chronic insomnia. Only if that does not work do they recommend medications or supplements for insomnia.

Want to make your workplace less stressful so you can better serve your clients and sleep well at night? It’s time to choose the right tools for your behavioral health practice.

BestNotes EHR solutions were designed so you can run an efficient practice with better client results, higher revenue, and lower stress. Contact us today to learn more!

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