health brief





Value Your Sleep

Understanding and Dealing with Sleep Loss
by Lee Rossano

As a nation we do not value sleep. In order for all our hormones to work properly we need 6-8 hours of sleep between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Even going to bed late can affect circadian rhythms.

If you get a burst of energy at 10:30 p.m. your adrenal glands have started to produce cortisol and shut off melatonin. Our pineal gland (small pea shaped gland in the middle of our brain) is sensitive to light, stress and neurotransmitters like serotonin and Gaba. We need enough serotonin to convert to melatonin which helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.

Some causes of sleep/circadian rhythm disturbance include electromagnetic fields i.e. WIFI networks smart phones and computers, stress, adrenal and cortisone imbalance, artificial lighting, lack of exercise and anti-depressants (low serotonin levels).

Effects of sleep loss include brain fog, carb cravings, joint pain, lower immunity, mood disorders, anxiety and depression, accelerated aging decline of melatonin, adrenal dysfunction circadian rhythms.

Melatonin is a very important component of sleep and we have natural decline starting in our late 30’s and as we age it drops off unless we supplement. Melatonin gets turned off by the body in response to adrenal cortisol levels and the darkness and daylight cycle.

Even young children sometimes need help falling and staying asleep, so use of a children's melatonin spray may help.

How to improve your sleep? Go to bed by 10:30. Try some relaxation time in bed. No TV’s, laptops or smart phones in the bedroom. Reading tables are ok if they have a softly lit screen. Essential oils may be helpful so check with your local essential oils expert.

Lee Rossano is a Certified Nutritional Counselor with Advanced Nutritional Solutions in Lake Orion, MI. For more information, call 248-652-4160 or visit

Background image credit: Ljupco Smokovski/

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