By Bruce Meleski, PhD, Intelligent Sleep Consultant (part 1 of 2)
In the modern world, sleep is the ultimate human balancing act, providing rest and recovery while living in a 24 hour stimulated environment with lights, noise, smells, toxins, and stressful events continuously. As a result, many people suffer from sleep loss and sleep related issues.
From chronic disease to athletic performance and mental acuity, if you lose sleep it impacts your life in some way. It is not just the amount of sleep but also need the right type of sleep. Slow wave sleep allows the body to restore at the cellular level. Without this cellular repair, the risk of disease increases for obesity, diabetes, depression, and hypertension. Loss of sleep also affects our day to day performance. Sleep loss impacts athletic performance, memory recall, focus acuity, and reaction time.
Experience shows the immediate impact sleep loss has. When you don’t sleep well, you are tired and fatigued. When it comes to energy, adequate sleep is important. Studies show a 30-40% decrease in glucose metabolism with sleep loss while extending sleep results in a 17% improvement in reaction time.
Without sleep we die. Humans must sleep to restore and repair their body. The biological need for sleep is strong. We can live longer without water than we can without sleep. So if we want to optimize your sleep, what do you need to do? You need to balance yourself on all levels. To do this, look at the rhythms of life and start to integrate rhythms that assist us in sleeping. Here we discuss two key rhythms for sleep. More rhythms can be experienced at our seminar series.
Rhythms and Sleep
One biological rhythm that effects sleep is the circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock. Throughout most of history, daylight has largely dictated how humans live. We work in the light and we rest in the dark. Nocturnal animals live opposite, they work at night and rest during the day. These patterns are programmed into the genes. When our circadian rhythm shifts, we may lose sleep. Sunlight would help restore sleep balance. Sunlight early in the morning stimulates the brain’s pineal gland, the circadian rhythm’s control center. This approach has clinical significance for some types of sleep issues.
Another rhythm that effects sleep is the stress response, a bio-chemical pattern of events. The classic “fight or flight” response exists to help humans survive physical threats. During “fight or flight”, hormones are released that prepare the body for immediate action. In modern society, taking action is usually not appropriate, yet the “fight or flight” response still triggers. This unbalance can significantly impact sleep, result in anxiety, and effect neurotransmitters in the brain. A comprehensive stress management approach helps you manage stress and lessens its impact.
Balancing many biological rhythms involves the human senses. Examples include light and sound therapies, vibration therapy, and music therapy that heal, more about these in part 2 of this article.
You can experience more rhythms, patterns, and frequencies that effect sleep by attending Intelligent Sleep seminars, see www.intelligentsleep.com for details.
© 2011, Bruce Meleski, PhD, all rights reserved