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.

Want A Good Nights Sleep? Try These Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep Habits

Want A Good Nights Sleep? Try These Healthy Sleep Habits

We all know the perils of financial debt, but did you know that you can build up debt of sleep also?  Getting shortchanged occasionally on your sleep is no a serious problem, but when it happens night after night, you  build up a backlog of needed sleep.  This sleep debt can affect your mood, health and safety.  If you want a good nights sleep, try these healthy sleep habits.

The average person needs around eight and one-half hours of sleep every night.  You might need a little less or a little more, but you need this sleep every day,  just like you need water and oxygen. Losing just one hour of sleep per day builds up a “sleep debt”.

It’s not just the quantity of sleep that you need, it’s also the quality of sleep.  You need a certain amount of deep sleep.  During the deepest stages of sleep, your body releases growth hormone to stimulate tissue repair and regeneration. This means that if you don’t get enough good quality sleep, it will adversely affect your physical health.

For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:

  •   Dramatically weaken your immune system.
  • Accelerate tumor growth-tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions.
  • Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can affect your weight gain.
  • Seriously impair our memory; even a single night of poor sleep can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
  • Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability.

For a good night’s sleep try these healthy sleep habits, by optimizing your sleep sanctuary. To improve your sleep, you may need to modify some of your lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise.  When your circadian rhythms are disrupted your body produces less melatonin (a hormone and an anti-oxidant) and has less ability to fight disease, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals.

Impaired sleep an also increase stress-related disorder, including:  Heart Disease, Stomach Ulcers, Constipation, Mood Disorders

One study has even shown that people with chronic insomnia have a three times greater risk of dying from any cause. Lost sleep is lost forever, and persistent lack of sleep has a cumulative effect when it comes to disrupting your health. Whether you have trouble falling asleep, waking up too often, or feeling inadequately rested when you wake up in the morning-or maybe you simply want to improve the quality of your sleep-Try these healthy sleep habits:

1.  Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible.  Even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin and serotonin.

2.  Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees.

3.  Check the electro-magnetic fields (EMF’s)

4.  Take a hot bath, shower before bed.  When your body temperature is raised in the late evening, it will help facilitate slumber.

5.  Avoid before -bed snacks.  Grains and sugars will raise your blood sugar and delay sleep.  Later, when the blood sugar drops too low, you may wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.

6.  Put your work away at least one hour before bedtime.  This will give your mind a chance to unwind so you can go to sleep feeling more calm, not hyped up about deadlines etc.

7.  Avoid caffeine.   In some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption.  So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night.

8.  Avoid alcohol.  Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake-up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep.  Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.

9.  Exercise regularly.  Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve sleep.  However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show that exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.

10. Avoid foods you may be sensitive to.  This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and pasteurized dairy.  Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas.

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.