You may have heard about this on the news this week and today I caught sight of an article by The Guardian's science correspondent, Hannah Devlin. It is worth sharing as a reminder of a key way to optimise health. You may have read my previous blog about "Sleep" and it is in this regard that most of us know about the term "circadian rhythms" and their part in good health. But as Devlin's article and the blog mention, being in tune with our circadian rhythms affects so much more than sleep.
The article, "'Western society is chronically sleep deprived': the importance of the body's clock", tells us about Hall, Rosebush and Young's accomplishments in their discoveries of the molecular mechanisms controlling these rhythms. The prize winners recently found the main gene that controls this clock and how it is connected to our planet's revolutions. Indeed, most of our cells have a clock of their own and about 50% of these are switched on and off by our bodies' "period" gene. At night time this gene encodes a protein in the cell then it degrades during the day - giving us a continual pattern. It is easy to see then that staying aligned to nature's clock enhances our well-being and performance and why it plays a part in risk for strokes, heart disease, dementia, obesity, diabetes and even some cancers.
In our 24/7 society it is worth making an effort to sync with light and dark because a tiny part of our brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, is linked to the eye's retina and connects to the pineal gland on the opposite side. This gland pumps out melatonin - a crucial hormone for sleep. In shift work and jet lag our bodies have to over-ride its biology. In connection to the common problem of over-eating and diabetes, research shows that animals in tune with their circadian rhythm (even if sleep deprived) maintain a steady weight but animals forced onto a schedule that is out of sync, eat impulsively and develop glucose intolerance. It shows also why following instructions to take medicine at particular times is important - for example, strokes are most common in the morning so swallowing blood pressure tablets first thing is best. On the other hand, the liver produces cholesterol more quickly at night so swallow satins before bed.
Like using self-hypnosis and mindfulness for health benefits the evidence for aligning ourselves to our circadian rhythms is clear. Can any of us ignore the recommendation to get an old-fashioned good night's sleep? Perhaps you recognise this but struggle to achieve it? If so, help to sweet dreams, weight loss or other is just a call or email away! My Summit contact details to arrange a free consultation are firstname.lastname@example.org and 075 548 54321. Hypnotherapy and NLP techniques for insomnia and sleep disorder are a good option because sleep is not controlled consciously...ask an insomnia sufferer or those of us who have tried telling a restless child to go to sleep! On the other-hand, if it is your life-style that needs attention then life-coaching is useful. Among other successes I have helped clients combat insomnia, pain disrupting sleep, sleep disorder and weight problems.
Scroll down from here if you would like to read my "Sleep" blog, posted May 2017. Go further back to January to read about weight management. There are links to other reading with the blogs. The one to Devlin's article is below.