Original article in PDF

Spring 2014

Good Night

6 for web

Before the discovery of electricity, people went to bed at sunset, and they followed instinctive biorhythms of the body worked out over the centuries. It is during sleep that our body produces vital hormones and antioxidants. Makpal knows a lot about hormones and gives advice on the quality of sleep.

In our hectic time, people tend to sleep less and less. Time pressure at work, household chores, late events, 24-hour TV and the Internet prevent you from going to sleep on time. Unfortunately, many people don’t even understand how important healthy sleep is for quality of life and longevity. It’s during sleep that all functions of the body are revitalized. Restless, light and inferior sleep lead to many diseases such as: memory loss, hormonal imbalance, metabolic disorders, depression, bilious headache, high blood pressure, weight gain and immune suppression.

Our biological clock or circadian rhythm was developed over centuries in harmony with the environment and nature. When we stay awake after midnight, and even till dawn, we disrupt our internal clock. The light of streetlights penetrating into the room, and the glow from electrical appliances and all kinds of lighting confuse our body. All of these light signals tell our brain to stay awake, while at the same time our internal clock says to fall asleep. It results in an imbalance that leads to stress.

 

Slenderness Hormone

When we are deprived of good quality sleep, our body reduces the production of leptin, i.e., the hormone that sends signals to the brain about satiety of the body, and increases levels of ghrelin, the hormone that causes hunger. Studies have shown that in bodies of people who slept for about four hours for two days, leptin was reduced by 18%, and ghrelin was increased by 28%. Thus, disruption of the biological clock leads to an increase in unhealthy appetite and excess weight gain. It turns out that good quality sleep is our guarantee against obesity!

 

Hormone of Health, Youth and Beauty

  • Nature has predetermined that at about 9 or 10 p.m. our brain begins to produce melatonin, which causes drowsiness. More precisely, this hormone is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and its main task is to regulate our sleep. This small gland the size of a pea at the base of the brain follows the level of light throughout the day, and when it gets dark, begins melatonin production, so we start getting sleepy.
  • Of course, not everything is that simple, because our body is a very complex clock mechanism with a lot of parts that must work together in a single rhythm. During sleep, recovery processes are launched in every organ (the brain, lungs, liver, heart, muscles and even the skin). Violation of the natural rhythm of wakefulness during the day and sleep at night leads to disruption of recovery processes and suppression of the melatonin level, which makes us vulnerable to diseases and even leads to cancer (confirmed by a report of the American Medical Association).

We know that aging and senile diseases are caused by cell death. In turn, the life of our cells depends on their energy substations, namely, mitochondria. If mitochondria are damaged by free radicals that take away their vital energy, serious diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer appear! Melatonin is also a strong antioxidant, which destroys pathogenic molecules, free radicals and bad estrogens (estrone and estradiol). Healthy sleep protects mitochondria with a powerful antioxidant barrier against melatonin, thus saving millions of our cells, which means that we prolong our life and youth!

 

Happiness Hormone

There is another hormone, serotonin, which responsible for melatonin production. At a reduced serotonin level, depression and bilious headaches occur. In turn, serotonin generates tryptophan in the body with the help of an amino acid. This amino acid improves mood, enhances wellness, and improves and restores sleep. Protein food is a natural source of tryptophan. However, tryptophan is an amino acid that is very sensitive to a temperature increase. If you heat most of your food, you will not receive the required amount of this amino acid. There also important components for serotonin production. These are vitamin B3 and vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium and iron.

What do you do if, for some reason, it’s impossible to fall asleep and sleep well? Inverted yoga asanas will help you. It’s not by chance that the shoulder stand is called the queen of yoga poses, and the headstand is called the king.

We stand, walk and sit under the influence of gravity. Where do we get the strength to resist the force of gravity? The energy of movement is given to us by adrenaline and noradrenaline. Once you assume a horizontal position, the level of adrenaline production drops sharply, and if you turn completely upside down, adrenaline production nearly ceases. This is a signal for the body to rest.

In addition to lighting, the cause of bad night’s sleep is the wrong position of the back and the neck. The neck is the main coordination center in the body. Main lymph channels, important arteries and vessels and nerves pass along the spine through the neck to the brain. For healthy sleep it is important to lie absolutely horizontal! If the head is raised, adrenaline continues to be produced and our body does not fully rest.

 

Seven Tips for Healthy Sleep:

  1. Try to go to bed as early as possible. Ideally, by 10 p.m. At this time, the process of rest, recovery and self-purification of the body is launched. If you’re not asleep at this time, toxins return to the liver and are sent back to the circulatory system.
  2. Artificial lighting during sleep confuses the body, which can’t decide which chemicals to produce – those needed for rest at night or for work during the day. Even very weak light is enough to suppress melatonin production, so darkness is very important in the bedroom! For this purpose, hang thick curtains in the bedroom that don’t the light from the moon and streetlights come in. Get rid of night lights and all electronic lighting (a clock, radio, etc.). And of course, unplug the TV and the computer completely, if they are in the bedroom.
  3. Don’t eat before going to bed, as the digestive process disturbs sleep.
  4. Don’t watch TV before going to bed, and don’t play games on a computer or a tablet, as they excite the brain and disrupt functioning of the pineal gland, making it difficult to fall asleep. Those who still fall asleep in front of the TV due to overwork and habit, have light superficial sleep, during which there are no important recovery processes. If you don’t have enough mental images, it’s better to read a relaxing and quiet book for a while, but in a book, not on a tablet!
  5. Don’t drink alcohol. Although alcohol relaxes and causes drowsiness, the effect will be short-lived, and many people wake up after several hours, unable to fall asleep again. Alcohol also interferes with the deep stage of rapid eye movement, during which the basic recovery processes occur. Instead of alcohol, to relieve tension and relax, it’s better to take a hot bath, shower or sauna 30-60 minutes before bed. If you often wake up at night to go to the toilet, don’t drink any liquids for 2 hours before bedtime.
  6. If you already take antidepressants and sleeping pills, consider natural 5-HTP plant antioxidant produced from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, an African tree. 5-HTP has gained popularity as an effective natural remedy for the treatment of insomnia and depression.
  7. To produce serotonin, try to introduce more protein products (sources of tryptophan) that have not undergone heat treatment to the diet. For example, bee pollen is the best, most affordable and easily digestible source of protein, along with microalgae, chlorella and spirulina, raw nuts and pumpkin seeds, chia and flax, which can be sprouted and added to salads.