Inflammation has obstructed fitness goals too long in America. Today we are revealing some truth that will augment your knowledge regarding this matter.
What is inflammation?
Typically we think of inflammation as a localized physical condition in which part of the body becomes reddened, swollen, hot, and often painful, especially as a reaction to injury or infection. The type of inflammation we are referring to in this blog is more of a systemic or whole body inflammation.
This form of systemic inflammation can be caused by foreign invaders such as: viruses or bacteria, poor sleeping or eating habits, as well as inability to manage stress.
Of these factors sleep deprivation is the most prevalent. We live in an American culture that praises the hustle and looks down on those who prioritize rest. With popular hashtags amongst our youth like #vamplife and #nodaysoff, we seem to devalue the importance of how much rest can affect our daily living. People boast about egregious things like, “I worked all weekend on 4 hours of sleep.” Boasting about poor sleeping habits is like bragging about eating four cheeseburgers after having triple bypass surgery. Sleep deprivation causes you to react rather than respond to circumstances that arise in life – there’s nothing brag-worthy about that.
Why Inflammation is the Enemy
Sleep deprivation causes a constant state of stress, which leads to the production of a cytokine called Tumor Necrosis Factor, or TNF alpha. TNF alpha is an inflammatory cytokine produced by macrophages/monocytes during acute inflammation and is responsible for a diverse range of signaling events within cells, leading to necrosis or apoptosis (cell death). The protein is also important for resistance to infection and cancers.
The less sleep we get, the higher the inflammation response, and the more we secrete the TNF alpha. The more we secrete this cytokine, the more fat we store and the more inflamed we get, furthering this negative spiral effect.
Inflammation and sleep deprivation can cause strong urges for foods high in carbohydrates and processed sugars. Also, inflammation can cause a slower metabolism, a weaker immune system function, and a decreased reaction time.
10 Tips to Combat Inflammation
- Improve sleep environment (Shut down all electronics an hour before bed).
- Create a routine to obtain the best sleep possible.
- Shut down any light source including any lights on electronics in your bedroom.
- Eat at least 2 hours before bed, allowing optimal time for food to digest.
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
- Find ways to manage stress (Meditate/Exercise/Hobbies).
- Keep a Sleep Log/Journal to determine sleep habits (7 plus hours average is optimal).
- Supplement with 20 or 90 minute naps to try to combat sleep deprivation 8 or 9 hours after rising times.
- Limit alcohol usage.
- Driving with Sleep Deprivation = Driving Under Influence.