By Dr. Erin Wiley ND
We all want the best medicine: a medicine that is designed to help us feel better, look younger, and function to our fullest potential. The great news is that this type of medicine is not a pill you can take, but a hormone you can make. Growth hormone is the anti-aging hormone! Growth hormone is responsible for cellular reproduction and regeneration. Optimal growth hormone production means healthier skin, stronger bones, improved memory and concentration, improved strength, increased muscle mass, and healthy weight loss. With a few simple lifestyle changes, it is easy to optimize your body’s production of growth hormone:
1. Go to bed earlier: The more hours of sleep you get before midnight the more growth hormone you will produce. Part of getting to sleep earlier includes keeping that Blackberry or iPad out of the bedroom!
2. Sleep in a dark room: Even the smallest amount of light stimulation can suppress melatonin production, which regulates growth hormone. Try “black out” curtains or wear an organic cotton eye mask.
3. Sleep in a cool room: Lowering your body temperature will improve the quality of your sleep and increase growth hormone production. Lower your thermostat at night or take a warm bath or shower before bed. Yes, a warm shower will actually lower your core body temperature!
4. Skip the bedtime snack: High blood sugar levels will suppress growth hormone production. Eat your last meal 2-3 hours before bed. Focus on eating protein, vegetables and healthy fat, thus limiting your carbohydrate intake for better blood sugar regulation and growth hormone production.
5. Exercise: Not only will exercise improve your sleep, but exercise, especially strength and resistance training, significantly increases growth hormone production. Strength training for 30 minutes 2-3 days a week is all it takes to build a younger, healthier body!
Not getting enough sleep? Talk to the Naturopathic Doctors at IHI about optimizing your hormone balance.
Dr. Erin Wiley is a Naturopathic Doctor, Clinic Director and Co-Founder of the Integrative Health Institute. Dr. Wiley has a special interest in digestive health, endocrinology and hormone balance with a clinical focus on fertility, menopause, anxiety, depression, healthy weight loss, detoxification and environmental medicine. Dr. Wiley practices downtown Toronto at the corner of King and Sherbourne St.