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  1. The endocannabinoid system is present in humans as well as other mammals. This system comprises neurotransmitters, which are known as endocannabinoids, and protein receptors. It is these receptors that react with plant-based cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, which are present in hemp products. THC is responsible for the psychoactive high when you use cannabis while CBD does not produce a high; rather it has a soothing and calming effect. The endocannabinoid system is quite complex, but researchers know that it regulates several physiological and cognitive processes, including sleep, mood, pain, and appetite. In fact, the endocannabinoid system is essential for homeostasis in humans. Research is still ongoing to find out how the endocannabinoid system affects sleep cycles. The Function of the Endocannabinoid System Homeostasis means that the body is in total equilibrium – the physiological and cognitive processes in the body are functioning the way they should and hence, the body is completely in balance. When one or more of the physiological and cognitive processes are not balanced, the endocannabinoid system comes into play. It helps to restore the balance. Based on this function of the system, you can say that the endocannabinoid system works to regulate the physiological and cognitive processes that are associated with homeostasis. These processes include sleep cycle, circadian rhythm, appetite, digestion, pain, responses to stress, body temperature, thermoregulation, fertility, pregnancy and pre- and post-natal development. In addition, the endocannabinoid system also regulates mood and controls motor learning and skills, and memory. It is prudent to remember that the endocannabinoid system can regulate one process without having an effect on other physiological and cognitive processes. As a result, it helps the body attain homeostasis quicker. In order to restore homeostasis, the endocannabinoid system interacts with receptors, enzymes, and hormones. Once the body attains homeostasis, the resultant byproducts are metabolized and degraded in the body. Hence, these molecules (byproducts) cannot affect other processes occurring in the body. Cannabinoids and Endocannabinoid System The endocannabinoid system consists of endocannabinoids, receptors that these cannabinoids bind to and enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids after they restore homeostasis. The two primary endocannabinoids in the body are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. The former plays a role in the generation of nerve cells in the brain and can also enhance mood and minimize anxiety. That is why it is known as the bliss molecule. Anandamide is also found in copious amounts in the body after performing strenuous exercise. On the other hand, 2-arachidonoylglycerol helps to regulate the circulatory system. These endocannabinoids are difficult to study as they quickly get broken down by the endocannabinoid enzymes unlike other neurotransmitters, which tend to last longer in the blood or are stored for use later on. When it comes to cannabis, the two most common cannabinoids in this plant is CBD and THC. These phytocannabinoids react with the same receptors that endocannabinoids react with, but this interaction is different. For instance, THC and anandamide bind to the same endocannabinoid receptors and produce a feeling of calm and relaxation. But, THC does not get broken down by the enzyme that metabolizes anandamide. Hence, it stays longer in the bloodstream, causing persistent high in people who consume it. Endocannabinoids cannot function without the presence of cannabinoid receptors, and the most common receptors within the endocannabinoid system are CB1 and CB2. These two receptors were first discovered in the 1990s. The CB1 receptors, although present across the body, are mainly found in the CNS and the brain. The CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, digestive system, and peripheral nervous system. The phytocannabinoids react with CB1 and CB2 receptors, but in a different manner. Hence, they produce different effects. Scientific studies show the CBD tends to produce therapeutic effects without the high that is associated with THC. Hence, it promotes a feeling of calm and relaxation without the person feeling high. It is this reaction to CBD that treats sleep issues, including insomnia. Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase is the enzyme that breaks down anandamide. However, the enzyme decomposes quickly in the body to prevent over-activity from high levels of anandamide. When you consume CBD, it inhibits the Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase enzyme. As a result, the breakdown of anandamide occurs slowly. This increases the levels of endocannabinoids in the body, allowing the body to get relaxed. When the body is calm, without any feeling of anxiety and stress, a person can go to sleep more easily. Anandamide is not the only receptor that the CBD binds with. According to researchers, it binds with receptors that are not even part of the endocannabinoid system. So, if you take full-spectrum CBD tincture or oil, it will contain many more cannabinoids other than CBD. Each of these cannabinoids will have their own reaction and health benefits. Researchers are still trying to ascertain how the endocannabinoid system affects sleep and circadian rhythm. At the moment, do know that the system has a profound effect on different parts of the brain and the body which are essential to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Researchers also know that if a person has a deficiency of endocannabinoids in the body, it has an adverse effect on the person’s sleep and circadian rhythm. The Bottom Line The endocannabinoid system is relatively new to researchers and studies are ongoing to find out how it affects biological processes in the body. Nonetheless, researchers already know that the endocannabinoid system does impact sleep. If you are suffering from insomnia or you do not get a good night’s sleep, it may be prudent to use CBD oil that is organically grown and does not show signs of contaminants and pollutants. It will enable you to ensure that the CBD binds to the right receptors and promote a feeling of calm. When the biological processes are in the right balance, you will enjoy good sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. You may want to consult your physician if you are taking any other medication before you begin using CBD oil, as it may have contraindications. FDA DISCLOSURE The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.
  2. Not many of us usually connect our diet to our sleep quality. But the nutrition that we provide to our bodies determines the sleep quality and quantity to a great extent. There are various kinds of diets that a person can follow, in order to lose weight or stay healthy. But getting into a new diet can affect sleep. Some diets can cause insomnia while others can make you feel excessively sleepy. There are foods that are good for sleep. Not only do they keep you healthy, but also keep your sleep cycle normal. Including those foods in your diet can improve your quality of sleep. But there are certain foods that can interfere with sleep. Foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates or processed food are the biggest enemies of sleep. It is often recommended that large, heavy meals should not be consumed close to bedtime. This is because sugar and carbohydrates take time to be broken down and digested by the body, which increases metabolism and interferes with sleep. The quality of sleep that a person enjoys is an indicator of his health. If he sleeps well without any interferences or disturbances, it indicates good health. Poor quality or quantity of sleep is linked to internal weaknesses or nutritional deficiencies. One diet that can cause insomnia in some people is the ketogenic diet. Various diets come and go, and there are several people who like to try them out, in the hopes of losing weight or becoming healthier. But before starting any new diet, no matter how beneficial to other aspects of health, its effect on sleep should be carefully studied. What Is The Ketogenic Diet? Although the keto diet has been around for a while, it has recently started to gain massive popularity because it claims to help in weight loss and fat burn. In this diet, you need to cut down on carbohydrates and increase intake of healthy fats, proteins, and vegetables low in starch. The most significant aspect of this diet is the drastic cut-down on carbohydrates. You have to consume little to no carbohydrates, with most of the energy being provided to the body by fats and proteins. The word “keto” comes from the small fuel molecules called ketones produced by the body as an alternate source of Ketones are produced by the liver when both carbs and proteins are in short supply. Carbohydrates and proteins are what convert into glucose to provide fuel for the body. But when these aren’t sufficient enough, the body uses up fat to produce ketones, which serve as fuel for the body and the brain. A keto diet is thought to be beneficial for weight loss because it helps the body burn fat rapidly. It also has other effects such as less hunger and a higher metabolism. However, there are significant side effects too, which happen when the body is in a state of ketosis. What Is Ketosis? When there is an excess of ketones in the body, it’s called ketosis. This is usually triggered by an insufficient amount of carbohydrates and proteins in the body when the metabolism is fueled entirely by fat. It also happens in diabetic patients when the blood sugar levels rise suddenly but can be managed with insulin. However, when ketosis is a result of a keto diet, there can be a number of side effects. Some of the side effects include diarrhea, fatigue, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Sleeplessness is one of the most significant side-effects of ketosis. Even though every person’s reaction to the keto diet is different, insomnia is one of the most commonly reported symptoms. This is more noticeable when beginning the diet, as the body takes time to adjust to it. Insomnia, at first glance, may not seem as bad. But going without sufficient sleep, especially when you’re on a diet, can do more harm to your body than good. If you suffer from any sleep disorder, you must consult your doctor before going on a new diet. The Connection Between Ketosis and Insomnia There is a scientific explanation for the loss of sleep associated with ketosis. Since carbohydrates are usually the main source of energy to the body, they constantly supply the body with glucose and provide the brain amino acid L-tryptophan into the brain. This amino acid helps in the production of serotonin, a hormone that aids in relaxation, sleep, and overall wellbeing. As day turns into night, serotonin is converted into melatonin, the sleep hormone. The reason behind the insomnia is the inclusion of little to no carbs in the keto diet. As a result, there is low L-tryptophan, which hinders the production of to serotonin and melatonin. This usually happens in the initial stages of the diet, when the body is still getting used to the new system. Insomnia and inadequate sleep are one the most commonly reported symptoms of ketosis, which also helps people understand that the diet is starting to work. There may also be other reasons behind insomnia triggered by ketosis. One of them is a high metabolism and extra energy. A keto diet is supposed to fuel energy and boost metabolism, making you more active and alert. However, on the downside, it can also cause delayed sleep onset and insomnia. When you’re bursting with energy all the time, it’s hard to fall asleep. How To Prevent Insomnia Due to Ketosis Generally, insomnia or sleep difficulties caused by a keto diet go away on its own once your body gets used to the new diet. To make sure this happens quickly, you must stick to the diet religiously. However, if your sleep problems keep getting worse and if it’s related to the new diet, then it’s an indication that the diet isn’t right for you.
  3. It happens to the best of us – we have an early start the next day but are unable to fall asleep. We lie in bed, staring at the ceiling, and listening to the ticking clock as the night refuses to end. For some people, it happens every day, and for others, it happens when they are too tired or stressed, and their brains simply won’t shut up. The most interesting – and frustrating -thing about not being able to fall asleep is that the more you think about it, the harder it is for sleep to come. Does that mean you have a sleep disorder? Yes and no. Some people have trouble falling asleep when they have a lot on their minds or when they are too stressed or excited. However, if this is a regular occurrence without any external cause, you probably have sleep-onset insomnia. This is a condition when the person is unable to fall asleep when he is supposed to. Sleep onset insomnia is also sometimes called delayed sleep disorder and can be a common occurrence with some people. When you are unable to fall asleep at the right time, you get late in the morning and remain drowsy the rest of the day. The hours lost at night result in sleep deficiency and excessive daytime sleepiness. It is no surprise that sleep disorders are on the rise around the world, and affecting the global economy because of lost productivity. Besides, sleep deficiency and excessive daytime sleepiness cause accidents and injuries and also lead to greater health problems later in life. Why You Can’t Fall Asleep? When we go to bed, we want to fall asleep as quickly as possible. Everyone loves a good night’s rest because it makes them feel fresh and alert and helps them achieve more throughout the day. But a lot of reasons contribute to sleep onset insomnia or simply the inability to fall asleep. This can either happen on a regular basis or once in a while, but it is frustrating nevertheless. Stress and anxiety are usually the two most important factors that interfere with normal sleep. When there is a lot on your mind, sleep can be elusive. Until your brain shuts off, it is hard to fall asleep. Consuming caffeine and alcohol before bed can also interfere with sleep. Medical conditions and medications also cause sleep problems. However, sometimes every person finds it hard to fall asleep, even if they sleep without any issues on other nights. This is often because of mental exertion, stress, anxiety or the wrong foods. 10 Tips to Fall Asleep Faster If you do not have a medical problem and are unable to fall asleep simply because of external factors, there are things you can do to make sleep come faster. The following tips are meant to help you get started on a healthy sleep routine that makes falling asleep and waking up the next morning equally easy. Go to Bed Only When You Are Sleepy Just because it’s time for bed doesn’t mean you should be lying in bed when you aren’t sleepy. Make it a point to go to bed only when you feel sleepy. This will help the brain associate the bed with sleep and nothing else. Maintain A Sleep Routine Once you get home from work, make sure to wind down with a relaxing sleep routine. From having a relaxing drink to taking a warm bath to listening to soothing music, it all helps your brain shut down and get into sleep mode. Watch or Read Something Boring That’s right if you must read or watch TV in bed, make sure it’s something boring. There’s even a channel on YouTube called Napflix that plays boring videos to help you fall asleep. Avoid watching horror movies or the 11 pm news or anything that excites you. Don’t Look at The Clock When you’re lying in bed unable to sleep, your eyes keep going to the bedside clock. Looking at the time every few seconds makes the night pass slower than usual. To avoid this, either remove the clock from the room or turn it backward. When you cannot see the time, you fret less about being unable to fall asleep. Adjust the Temperature Regardless of the season, if your bedroom doesn’t have the ideal temperature, it can be hard to fall asleep. If it’s too cold, turn the thermostat up. If it’s too hot, turn on the air conditioner. If you want your room warm even in summer and if it’s something that helps you sleep better, don’t be shy about turning up the thermostat when everyone else is using the AC. Keep Warm It isn’t uncommon to find people who have chilly hands and feet throughout the year, especially when they go to bed. If this is you and it keeps you from falling asleep at night, try warming up your feet. Either wear socks to bed or use an additional blanket or soak your feet in warm water before hitting the sack. Have Comfortable Bedding Not many people want to invest in comfortable bedding because they think it’s a waste of money. What they don’t realize is that bedding is crucial to sleep quality. When you have attractive and comfortable bedding, it makes sleep time more appealing and makes you look forward to going to bed. Try Deep Breathing If it’s stress and anxiety keeping you from falling asleep, practice deep breathing while you’re lying in bed. Simply breathe through your nose, making sure it’s your belly that swells and not your chest and exhale from your mouth. Keep doing this until you doze off. Have Sex Whether you are coupled up or single, sex is powerful enough to help you relax because it releases the feel-good hormone called oxytocin. That’s the reason why bedtime is regarded as the best time to have sex because it helps you get relaxed and sound sleep afterward. Avoid Heavy Meals Before Bed What you eat for dinner often has a big impact on your sleep quality. If you have a heavy meal close to bedtime, your digestive system will work throughout the night, preventing your brain and body from relaxing and falling asleep. If you must eat close to bedtime, keep it light. A heavy meal for dinner should be consumed within 6 in the evening, not later. When to Seek Medical Help for Sleep-Onset Insomnia? If all these lifestyle changes do not resolve your sleep-onset insomnia, you can seek medical help. However, it is recommended that you try every means in the book before taking the help of sleep supplements or medications.
  4. A peaceful environment is one of the most important requirements for sleep quality. Unfortunately, getting a peaceful, undisturbed environment is a difficult task in today’s modern world. One of the biggest enemies of sleep today is the need to remain connected and be in-the-know all the time. Easy access to the internet, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, and the rise of Netflix have made it harder for sleep to come and stay. Sleep loves attention; it loves peace and quiet; when it finds you fiddling with your smartphone in bed or staring at another episode of Game of Thrones while eating crackers in bed, it decides to leave. Electronics have invaded our lives and our homes. Even till a few years ago, electronics world limited to the TV, the music system and the computer. But now, with smart televisions smart home systems, there is no end to the number of electronics we are surrounded by at a given time. We have even started to run the house with help from the digital assistant called Alexa. There is no part of our lives untouched by electronics, and sleep does not take it well. If sleep were a person, it would be most offended by a TV in the bedroom. Imagine walking into a room to find the love of your life lost in the television while you try hard to get some attention and make conversation. Doesn’t it make you feel bad? It’s the same with sleep. When you’re watching television instead of inviting sleep into your bedroom, you are shooing sleep out of your life. And beware, if sleep leaves you, it spells serious trouble. As if bingeing on Netflix shows isn’t bad enough, keeping a TV in the bedroom just makes it a whole lot worse. There was a time when one household had only a single TV, and the entire family sat together to watch their favorite shows at a certain time every day. These days, people want the TV all to themselves. So, there’s a TV in the living room, one in the master bedroom, and another in the kid’s bedroom. No one watches the same thing at the same time either. Mom watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 6, the kids watch SpongeBob SquarePants at 7, and dad watches ESPN at 10. If grandpa comes to visit, he demands the TV be all his when it’s time for Breaking Bad. Preparing Your Bedroom for Sleep There have been several studies that prove that environmental factors are a leading cause behind sleep disorders and deprivation. And the bedroom tops the list. Sleep is intrinsically associated with the bedroom; we do not associate sleep with the living room or the dining room or the kitchen. That is why the bedroom should have the right environment for inducing sleep. Alas, not many people seem to follow this because putting a TV in the bedroom has become the norm. The TV has almost become like a piece of bedroom furniture. Ideally, it should belong to the music system somewhere in the corner of the living room, but many people prefer a TV in the bedroom even when there is one in some other room. Why is this not the right thing to do? There are two most important reasons. The first one is that rooms serve purposes. Would you think of eating dinner in the bathroom or taking a shower in the kitchen? No, because these rooms are not meant for those purposes. Why then should the TV be placed in the bedroom instead of the living room or the entertainment room? When we watch TV in bed, our brains get confused. It fails to understand if the bedroom is meant for watching TV and staying awake till late or if it is meant for switching off and going to sleep. This is how the dissociation between sleep and the bedroom develops. The brain does not associate the bedroom with sleep anymore when you keep watching TV there instead of sleeping. Therefore, even when you try to fall asleep in your bed, it does not happen, because the brain still associates the bedroom with staying awake. The second reason is that exposing yourself to bright lights before going to bed disrupts the melatonin production and delays onset of sleep. Watching TV, working on the laptop, or texting on your smartphone within two hours of bedtime lowers the melatonin produced by the brain and makes you less sleepy. Melatonin production is always hindered by any kind of bright light and the light reflected from electronic devices is the worst. By constantly exposing yourself to the television at bedtime you are significantly affecting the melatonin production in the brain. Even if you stop watching television in bed, it takes a long time for the melatonin levels to return to normal. Reasons for Not Having A TV In the Bedroom There is more than one reason to not have the television in the bedroom. In fact, the bedroom should not have anything that’s not associated with sleep. People build a workstation right in their bedrooms– but it is only a signal for the brain to think that a bedroom is a place of high energy activity. Having a TV in the bedroom also affects our relationships and our physical and emotional health. The following are only a few of the reasons why the TV does not belong in the bedroom: It Affects Sex Life: When both partners watch TV in bed, it lowers the amount of sex you’d be normally having to half. When couples don’t have regular sex, it distances them physically and emotionally. It Causes Fights: When you want to watch HGTV, and your partner wants to watch ESPN, it causes stress and arguments. When the season finale of the TV series doesn’t end the way you would have wanted, you spend the night arguing over it. This can even make way for discord in the relationship. It Creates Unreal Expectations: Reality TV is known to paint an ideal image in our heads. From the ideal body to the ideal wedding dress to the ideal relationship, reality TV creates unrealistic expectations in us. Watching reality television before bed gives rise to resentments, disappointments, and pent-up emotions. It Causes Eye Strain: As if working on the computer and staying glued to the phone isn’t bad enough, watching TV in bed creates additional strain and stress on your eyes. From eye strain, you can get headaches, watery eyes, and fatigue. Watching TV in a dark or dimly lit bedroom affects your eyes even more. It Creates Loneliness And Depression: If you like to binge-watch TV instead of going out and socializing, you may be lonely or depressed. Watching ideal relationships playing out on screen might be fulfilling for the moment, but it adds nothing to your life. It Leads To Unnecessary Purchases: Various studies have found that people are more likely to act on advertisements when they are tired and half asleep in bed. When you watch TV in bed, the advertisements seem to call out to you more, and you cannot stop thinking about them through the night. Full Article
  5. In an ideal world, we’d all be clocking in eight hours of z’s a night. We would cut down on afternoon naps and steer clear of caffeine to make falling and staying asleep a cinch. But even when we do stick to all the “right” sleeping strategies, it can be hard to doze off. If that’s the case for you, your lifestyle choices might need a closer look, as there are some pretty unexpected things that can be throwing your precious slumber out of whack. Dr. Janet Kennedy, Ph.D., revealed six surprising habits keeping you from restful sleep. A Case of Sleep Performance Anxiety Trying to fall asleep can actually be the thing keeping you from well, falling asleep. Kennedy calls it “sleep performance anxiety.” Getting into bed to try to doze on command will increase anxiety if the body is not ready for sleep because you’ll be too stressed out to relax and snooze, she says. Her favorite trick falling asleep is hopping into bed with a good ol’ book. “Reading, especially fiction, occupies your mind, distracts you from stressful thoughts and allows your body to relax,” she says. Working Out Too Close to Bedtime So, research tells us that there is no ideal to work out. Morning, afternoon, or evening, the best time to fit in a sweat session is more tied to personal preference than anything else. That being said, hitting the gym too close to bedtime can leave you counting sheep. “Exercise raises the body temperature and heart rate, so it can be hard to fall asleep (right after). Some people don’t have any trouble going to sleep after working out, but if snoozing post-workout is difficult, it’s best to avoid vigorous exercise two to four hours before bed,” says Kennedy. Cuddling With Your Smartphone What do email, Candy Crush, and Instagram have in common? They all could be sabotaging your sleep. “Your phone keeps the mind tied to work and stress. Easy access to devices also makes it too tempting to check all your apps, making it even harder to fall asleep,” Kennedy says. Recent research has found that the light from smartphones increases sleep deprivation because it tricks our brains into thinking it’s morning. An hour before bed, it’s time to ditch your smartphone and tablet for the evening. Too Little Unwinding Time Trying to doze off immediately after a late night at the office or a night out raging might work sometimes, but it’s not the best sleep strategy. And Kennedy notes that even if you do fall asleep quickly, the quality of your sleep may suffer. “You can’t work or play hard all day and expect to fall asleep and stay asleep without a wind-down period. The body and mind need a chance to transition from the active stress of the day to the relaxed state that leads to good sleep,” she says. Set aside 30 minutes to an hour before bed to read, journal, or meditate — activities that will turn down the stress dial. Irregular Sleep Schedule Trying to “catch up on sleep” and snoozing until noon during the weekends can throw your sleep cycle out of whack. “It’s better to keep your wakeup time consistent even if you go to bed later than usual sometimes. That way, you’ll be tired when your normal bedtime rolls around the next night,” Kennedy explains. Skimping on Food While downing a three-course meal or even a very fat-laden dish (think: hamburger, mac and cheese) pre-bedtime is discouraged, “diets that are too calorie restrictive can also interfere with sleep since blood sugar will be too low at night,” notes Kennedy. Aim to eat a small snack an hour or two before hitting the hay, especially if you had an early dinner. Turkey on whole wheat or an apple with nut butter are great options. Source: bit.ly/13uHEgh *Removed ad*
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