Disrupted Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

 Your Circadian Rhythm Can Make You Hungrier and Forgetful

As you probably know, the physiological functions of virtually all organisms are governed by 24-hour circadian rhythms.  The modern, round-the-clock lifestyle, made possible by electric lighting, could disrupt your circadian rhythm  and interfere with leaning abilities.  Your lack of sleep due to an over loaded calendar, e-mail, web surfing and TV could take a toll on your health whether you realize it or not.  This is a  surefire way to dysregulate your circadian rhythm.  This can contribute to a whole host of chronic health problems, since your circadian system “drives” the biological activity at the cellular level.  Disruptions can cascade outward throughout your entire body.

Circadian Rhythm
Circadian Rhythm

Disrupted Sleep Patterns Can Impact Your Health

Your circadian clock influences :

Short term memory-Your circadian clock controls your daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness by alternately inhibiting  and exciting different parts of your brain through regulating the release of certain neurotransmitters.  This part of your brain is known as the hippocampus. This must be excited in order for the things you learn to be organized in such a way that you’ll remember them later. If your internal clock isn’t functioning properly, it causes the release of too much GABA.  Excess GABA can lead to short term memory loss and inability to retain new information.

Learning Performance-Better sleep enhances performance and learning.

Weight gain/loss- Previous research has indicated that lack of sleep affects levels of metabolic hormones that regulate satiety and hunger.  When you are sleep deprived, your body has decreased production of leptin.  This hormone that tells your brain there is no need for more food.  At the same time, it increases levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

Diabetes and heart disease risk-Too little and too much sleep may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.    A similar pattern has also been observed in the relationship between sleep and coronary heart disease.

Immune System– Research has found that when you are well-rested you will most likely have a stronger immune system to respond to viruses.  You release certain hormones during sleep that is responsible for boosting your immune system.

Cancer risk– Disruption of your circadian clock may influence cancer through changes in hormones like melatonin.  Your brain makes melatonin during sleep, and it known to suppress tumor development.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that helps to suppress harmful free radicals in your body and slows the production of estrogen, which can activate cancer.  When your circadian rhythm is disrupted, your body may produce less melatonin and therefore may have less ability to fight cancer.

Stress is Created by Inconsistent Circadian Cycle

Making matters worse, poor sleeping habits also tends to raise your levels of corticosterone, the stress hormone. When your body is under stress, it releases hormones that increase your heart rate and blood pressure.  Your muscles tense, your digestive processes stop, and certain brain centers are triggered,  which alters your brain chemistry.

A Natural Rhythm to Light Exposure

A part of living in sync with your natural circadian rhythm is to have consistent, regular exposure to light during the day and sleeping in absolute darkness at night.  This will help optimize your natural melatonin production.

Use Your Circadian Rhythm for Optimal Health

Regardless of your age, the best way to keep your circadian clock functioning properly is to make sure you are getting the necessary amount of high quality sleep, during those hours when your body expects to be sleeping.

It is important to realize that even if you do everything else right-eat nutritious meals, exercise, manage stress-if you aren’t getting high-quality sleep your health is bound to suffer in numerous ways.

For further info on sleep check out For A Good Nights Sleep Here Are 20 Facts.

I am Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.

For a Good Night’s Sleep Here Are 20 Facts

Want a Good Night’s Sleep Here are 20 Facts

Sleep is one of the great mysteries of life.  A good night’s sleep is one of the cornerstones of health.  Six to Eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults.  Too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.  If you want a good night’s sleep here are 20 facts.

Optimizing Your Sleep

  • Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. Even the glow from your clock radio could be interfering with your sleep.
  • Snoring is the primary cause of sleep disruption for approximately 90 million American adults; 37 million on a regular basis.
  • More than eight in ten people think that people often or sometimes misuse prescription sleep aids.
  • Some studies show the use of melatonin shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and reduce the number of awakenings.
  • One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.
  • People who don’t sleep enough are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (the appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
  • A seasonal disorder is believed to be influenced by the changing patterns of light and darkness that occur with the approach of winter.
  • Wind down and relax before going to bed. Try to go over the day’s activities and work out a plan of action for the next day.  Do not exercise too late in the evening.

    Good NIght's Sleep
    Good Night’s Sleep

Lifestyle Suggestions for Good Night’s Sleep

  • The body NEVER adjusts to shift work!
  • In general, exercising regularly makes it easier to fall asleep and have a more sound sleep.
  • Sleep is just as important as diet and exercise.
  • In general, most healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Although, some individuals are able to function with sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep.  Others can not perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours.
  • It is best to have a regular sleep pattern. Try to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at around the same time every morning.  Improved sleep will not happen immediately but if good sleep habits are maintained, sleep will certainly get better.  Preferably between 9:30 and 10:00 pm.
  • Make sure your bedroom is comfortable. You should have a quiet, dark room with comfortable bedding and good temperature control.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes. Caffeine (tea, coffee, cola drinks) and the nicotine in cigarettes are stimulants that can keep you awake.
  • Avoid daytime naps. Sleeping during the day will make it much more difficult to have a good night’s sleep.  If a nap is necessary, for example because of a late night, then limit this to about thirty minutes.  Make sure that you are awake for at least four hours before going back to bed.  Don’t allow yourself to fall asleep in front of the TV-not even for a minute.

     

    Sleep Habits

Continue reading “For a Good Night’s Sleep Here Are 20 Facts”

Can Adaptogen Herbs Help Stress?

Choosing the right Adaptogen Herbs for Stress

Natural medicine has long appreciated herbs as natural sources for treating stress.  One such example of this is adaptogen herbs.  This is especially true when your body is  supported emotionally and nourished physically by wholesome food and select herbs.

For numerous people contending with daily anxiety and frazzled nerves, long-term stress has become a widely common occurrence. Adaptogens work through hormonal regulation of the stress response, by fortifying the body’s immune system as they decrease cellular sensitivity to stress.  Adaptogen herbs include panax  ginseng, holy basil (ocimum sanctum), astragalas root, ashwagandha (withania somnifera), rhodiola (rhodiola rosea), Licorice Root  and reishi (ganoderma lucidum), mushroom.   Today I will discuss the seven I believe to be the most beneficial as part of a stress relieving lifestyle.  I have used most of these herbs and found them to be very helpful.

Top 7 Adaptogen Herbs for Stress

Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogen Herbs

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is one well known adaptogen and considered by many to be the most potent.  In humans, Panax ginseng has been shown to improve calmness and some aspects of working memory in healthy young adults.

Panax has also been observed to reduce ulcer index, assist the adrenal glands, lower blood glucose levels, triglycerides, and reduce damage of the circulatory system and other parts of the body.

This red ginseng also has antioxidant effects and has been found to improve mood and mental performance in small studies, may reduce fasting blood sugar levels.

What does all this mean?  It means that there are some promising results about the way this adaptogenic herbs may affect stress responses in humans.

Holy Basil

Also call tulsi, holy basil is known in India as the powerful anti-aging supplement.  It has also been a Avurvedic medicine to treat a large number of conditions, such as “infections, skin diseases, hepatic disorders, common cold and cough, malarial fever and as an antidote for snake bite and scorpion sting”.

Holy basil has also been studied as a use for anti-stress benefits.  One reason is the presence of three phytochemical compounds that lower stress parameters in lab studies.

In addition to these stress-related benefits, holy basil may potentially help to lower blood pressure, reduce seizure activity, fight bacteria, kill certain fungi, combat viral infections, protect the liver, promote immune system function and reduce pain response.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is often referred to as Indian ginseng.  It’ s effects on cortisol, stress tolerance and internal stress responses have been studied for decades.

In addition to stress relief, reviews have shown potential benefits on various types of tumors, cognition and memory, neurodegenerative diseases and brain health, inflammation and arthritis.

Astragalus Root

Used in Chinese medicine, astragalus has been known to boost immunity and potentially buffer the effects of stress.

Astragalus root may actually temporarily increase cortisol levels to allow the body to positively respond to certain types of stress.  This quick boost in temporary cortisol then lets the hormone level out as soon as the stressor has been removed.

There are studies that astragalus improved physical performance, helps the body get rid of disease-promoting free radicals, improve the use of glucose in the bloodstream and protect the liver.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola, or golden root, is a potent adaptogen that has been the focus of much research.  Like the other adaptogens, rhodiola provides a biological defense against stress.  In a human trial conducted in 2009 by scientists in Sweden they test the impact on people “suffering with stress-related fatigue”.  They found the rhodiola “exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome”.

Reishi Mushroom

Cordyceps, reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms are fungi with antioxidant properties.  That means nutrition-rich mushrooms have all the benefits of antioxidant foods.  They may not be adaptogens in the classic sense, but each has adaptogenic, anti-tumor and immune-enhancing properties.

It seems that the adaptogenic effect of reishi involves a temporary higher boost in the cortisol when exposed to stress, followed by a large drop during non-stress periods when compared with no treatment.

Licorice Root

Licorice root can increase energy and endurance, boost the immune system, and protect the thymus from being damaged by cortisol.  If may affect blood pressure and potassium levels, so traditional licorice root is typically recommended in cycles of 12 weeks, although this isn’t the case when taking DGL licorice, which is considered safe for long-term use.

Precautions

As always you should discuss any new supplements or medications with your doctor before beginning a regimen.  This is especially true with apoptogenic herbs, as several of them interact with prescription medications and are not recommended for people with certain conditions.

Be sure to do your research on any supplements you are considering finding out if they may conflict with any medications or conditions you may have, and use only high quality, organic varieties from trustworthy sources.

For further research on plants, herbs and natures remedies here is a resource that I found to be helpful.  The Healing Plants Bible, The Definitive Guide to Herbs, Trees and Flowers by Helen Farmer-Knowles.

I’m Shirley Noah, I teach the 9 pillars for health.  A step-by-step approach to good health.  Let’s connect to see how I may best serve you in the near future.