Our body goes through biological cycles linked to cues from Nature. We all maintain a biological clock or a circadian
rhythm that sync with the cycles of day and night and induces not only our sleep-wake cycle but also the rise and fall of body temperature, and the ebb and flow of certain biochemicals and enzymes that dictate our physiology, our biocycle or bio rhythm. Hence try to be consistent in your daily routines, especially when it comes to when you eat and when you sleep and your exercise routine.
Sleep is vital. No amount of healthful food and exercise can counteract the ill-effects of poor sleeping habits. In addition to the number of health ailments, sleep deprivation also prematurely ages you by interfering with your production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), normally released by your pituary gland during deep sleep. Research has proved that our sleep habits greatly influence how much we eat, how over weight we get, how strong our immune systems are, how well we can cope with stress, how quick we can think and how fast we can react, how well we can remember things and even how creative and insightful we can be. Missing just one night sleep can boost the hunger stimulating hormone ghrelin by 20 percent the following day.
New research by neurologist Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester, suggests that during sleep brain cells shrink, expanding the space between them to allow fluids to pass through and remove toxic waste, even amyloid plaques (the protein implicated in Alzheimers). In waking hours, the space shrinks and the cleaning system slows, presumably to leave the brain with enough energy for the demands of wakefulness.
Hence it is important to make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your “to-do list” and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing those other things that prevent you from getting adequate sleep. Sleeping late in the night causes your body to produce cortisol, the stress hormone, which will also slow down fat loss.
Chronic inadequate sleep leads to reduction in day time alertness and even to short term memory loss, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, ADHD, alcoholism, mood disorders and behavioural problems and depression and also affects our immune system and, cellular recovery.
Research at Harvard has found that – “Moderate but chronic sleep loss is sufficient to cause a severe build up of sensitivity to pain” – Thomas Scammell.
A cup of coffee before bed time may help ease the pain of the sleep deprived, though it does nothing to dull pain in the rested.
Sleeping on the left side of the body helps better flow of lymph fluids and improves digestion and protects against acid reflux. So sleep on you left side for the first 20 mins after getting into bed. Then change your posture as comfortable for you, as sleeping too long on your left side may make your heart work harder due to weight on it.
If you exercise in the evenings, do so early at least 4 hrs before bed time, so that your elevated body temperature does not keep you awake, or have a cold water bath before bed time.