Researchers have long known that regular bouts of sleep loss lead to cognitive impairment like the inability to focus, learn or memorize. A ground breaking study from the University of Pennsylvania has discovered that sleep deprivation seems to negatively affect a molecular pathway in the brain’s hippocampus—the area that is needed for memory formation and learning.1
According to Canadian sleep researchers, we live in a sleep deprived society, with almost one-third of the adult population sleeping less than six hours each night.2 Sleep deprivation leads to constant fatigue, tiredness and obesity.3 According to myriad research, lack of sleep greatly increases our ability to accumulate fat—primarily in the abdominal area,4 which also happens to be the most dangerous place to store fat because of its relation to the metabolic syndrome,5 a disorder associated with diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
It is believed that lack of sleep leads to disease and accumulated fat gain by altering key hormones responsible for regulating our appetite and craving response.6 Studies have also indicated that sleep loss contributes to a reduction in our anti-fat/anti-aging hormone, growth hormone (HGH) and increases in cortisol—the premiere stress hormone,7 a double whammy when it comes to maintaining a healthy metabolism. Cortisol also happens to be the main hormone that increases as we age (along with insulin), leading to premature aging and loss of lean body mass (which further erodes a healthy metabolism).
Aside from working towards better sleep habits, some of which include; dimming the lights an hour or two before bed, listening to soothing music, reading and sleeping in a cooler environment, it's time to get acquainted with natural sleep aids. Sure I know, you've tried these before with varying degrees of success and they're all created equal right? WRONG! The majority of sleep formulas contain ingredients like melatonin, hops or valerian, all of which help to enhance a deeper sleep and relax the body. The problem is that almost all formulas on the market today do nothing to target two of the primary reasons people don't experience ultimate sleep:
- They are constantly degrading tryptophan—the building block to deep sleep
- They are getting up numerous times to empty their bladders
As people age, experience stress and/or inflammation, they increase levels of an enzyme called IDO (which stands for indoleamine-pyrrole 2, 3-dioxygenase). High levels of IDO lead to lower levels of tryptophan, which leads to a reduction in serotonin (the happy brain chemical) and melatonin (the sleep hormone), as tryptophan is the precursor to both. When tryptophan levels are reduced, people experience excessive cravings (for sweets), depression, anxiety and sleep problems. It has been clinically proven that lower levels of tryptophan lead to insomnia8 and higher levels lead to enhanced sleep cycles.9 But what about your middle-of-the-night pee problem?
One of the main reasons both sexes experience urinary problems, that seem to come alive in the middle of the night, is due to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and/or a weakening of the bladder sphincter (the muscle that controls urine flow). This is believed to be caused by hormonal changes, primarily the loss of testosterone, which is needed to keep these muscles from shrinking or growing weak.10 Even though weak bladder control affects both genders, more women tend to suffer from it then men.
SO WHAT IS ONE TO DO?
Believe it or not, the answer to various bladder issues have been around since the beginning of time, we just didn't have the technology to get at them until now! Pumpkin seeds have a long history of use in helping to alleviate various bladder conditions. Even though many people have noticed some bladder-related relief by using pumpkin seed oil, according to new research, it is the water-soluble portion of pumpkin seed that is most effective. Research shows that water-soluble pumpkin seed extract is able to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles of the bladder by:
- Allowing more testosterone to become available to the pelvic muscles
- Binding to the pelvic-floor androgen receptors, further strengthening the pelvic muscles
- Helping to allow the bladder to relax (by increasing nitric oxide)
A brand new sleep formula called Ultimate Sleep addresses the main issues concerning our inability to get to sleep, stay asleep and awake feeling refreshed, as it contains research-proven 100 percent natural non habit forming sleep-supportive ingredients that compete with the IDO enzyme, allowing for greater tryptophan levels and therefore deeper sleep cycles. Another product called Ultimate Bladder Control contains a patented form of water-soluble pumpkin seed extract that can help remedy the bladder issues waking you up in the middle of the night.
By consuming ingredients that help with both your sleep cycle as well as your bladder issues, you will finally be able to get the ultimate sleep!
- Vecsey et al. Sleep deprivation impairs cAMP signaling in the hippocampus. Nature, 2009; 461 (7267): 1122.
- Bonnet MH, Arand DL. We are chronically sleep deprived. Sleep 1995; 18: 908¡V11.
- Bliwise DL. Historical change in the report of daytime fatigue. Sleep 1996; 19: 462¡V4.
- Chaput JP, Tremblay A. Does short sleep duration favor abdominal adiposity in children? Int J Pediatr Obes 2007.
- Despres JP, Lemieux I. Abdominal obesity and metabolic syndrome. Nature 2006; 444: 881¡V7.
- Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med 2004; 1: 210-17.
- Spiegel K, Leproult R, L'hermite-Baleriaux M, Copinschi G, Penev PD, Van Cauter E. Leptin levels are dependent on sleep duration: relationships with sympathovagal balance, carbohydrate regulation, cortisol, and thyrotropin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004; 89: 5762¡V771.
- Riemann D, Feige B, Hornyak M, Koch S, Hohagen F, Voderholzer U. The tryptophan depletion test: impact on sleep in primary insomnia—a pilot study. Psychiatry Res. 2002 Mar 15;109(2):129¡V35.
- Demisch K, Bauer J, Georgi K, Demisch L. Treatment of severe chronic insomnia with L-tryptophan: results of a double-blind cross-over study. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1987 Nov;20(6):242¡V4.
- EFLAR Pumpkin Seed Special Extract: New in vitro studies on the efficacy and mode of action in incontinence disorders. Frutarom Switzerland Ltd.; 2006.
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Brad King, MS, MFS
Brad King is a highly sought after authority on nutrition, obesity, longevity and one’s health and he has been touted as one of the most influential health mentors of our time.
He is an award winning nutritional formulator and was honored with the Best in Canada Award for Health Motivator/Educator and Public Speaker in 2010, was inducted into the Canadian Sports Nutrition Hall of Fame in 2003 and sits on the board of Directors for CHI the premiere sports nutrition education center.
Brad is the author of 10 books including the international best seller, Fat Wars 45 Days to Transform Your Body, the award winning Beer Belly Blues: What Every Aging Man and the Women in His Life Need to Know and his newly released The Ultimate Male Solution.
Brad is a leading health expert having appeared on NBC, ABC and CBS, some of these interviews include: The Today Show, Canada AM, Balance TV, Macleans, Oxygen, The National Post, Chatelaine and Live with Marcus and Lisa.