You Cannot Cheat the Sun and Moon! :
Understanding Your Sleep Cycles!
Since the dawn of human existence on this planet our bodies have developed a
symbiotic relationship with our surroundings. Everything from the development
of our vision, hearing, digestive system, nervous system and all of our organ
systems in response to our surroundings. This includes the cycles of our hormones
that control our sleep and wake cycles.
This cycle has been primarily controlled by our relationship with the sun and the moon. When the sun rises the color spectrum produced helps us produce the hormones that awaken the body and produce energy.... specifically cortisol. When the sun falls our body recognizes our need for rest and recovery and produces our recovery hormones. Those would be our sex hormones... testosterone, progesterone and other hormones that help to stimulate the anabolic processes that help rebuild tissue. There is also a section of sleep that helps to us to recover from emotional stress as well. This cycle is demonstrated by the following picture with the black line representing cortisol production and the white line represetning production of our recovery hormones.
As you can see our time of accelerating activity starts when the sun rises and starts to slowly decrease as the day passes noon. The reason for this might be due to our need to avoid the hot sun of midday for our main hunting activities in order to survive hot climates. Our wind down time should begin around 6pm in order for us to get to sleep around 10pm. This would happen naturally as the sun began to set and the spectrum of light exposure would naturally set our rest cycle in motion.
However since the advent of modern lighting we had gone from sleeping an average of 10-12 hours per evening to 6 or less. This is due to the fact that modern lighting can imitate sunlight and increase the production of our stress hormones into the evening hours when our rest and repair cycles should be happening. This will cause various disruptions in our health and lead to hormonal changes over time as demonstrated below.
As you can see the increase in stress hormones prevent the release of our normal recovery processes. This lack of sleep will cause various different health issues including:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased body fat
- Incomplete recovery from exercise
- Loss of physical performance
- Increased likelihood of infections
- Loss of libido and sexual function
- Joint Aches
- Gut Problems
- and many more symproms
Does this sound like you? You cannot cheat your circadian rhythms no matter how hard you try. Try avoiding artificial light for 1-2 hours before bed to help avoid increased cortisol. If you are having trouble getting to sleep by then or having issues with energy and lethargy, contact us for a complimentary consultation to help you gain a holistic understanidng of your health issues.
In good health,