Good sleep comes down to balancing 3 things
1. Cortisol. This must decline in evening to be able to sleep
2. Accumulate adenosine – caffeine disrupts this
3. Increase melatonin – screens disrupt this
1. Stress increases Cortisol, ironically poor sleep increases cortisol – so it’s a catch 22, but an increase in cortisol also impairs immune function.
Cortisol is a good thing if it’s in the right time and the right amount. When your cortisol is on a natural hormone rhythm it is elevated at its peak in the morning, around 6 to 8 a.m. Then gradually declines as the day goes does on.
Cortisol is a really important hormone. It’s the body’s chief waking hormone. For about 45 minutes after you wake up, cortisol is at it’s highest it’s meant to be throughout the day. That’s a great fat burning window when you have that cortisol spike, which burns stored fats and stored sugars, for use by your body as fuel. It’s programmed to allow fuels to become accessible so that you can use them and set yourself up for the day.
However, if you have a quick breakfast that includes rapidly digesting carbs from oatmeal granola bars etc, that causes a spike in insulin. This is why consuming these types of carbs in the context of chronic stress is so bad, because the cortisol is chronically elevated due to chronic stress and then also keeping insulin elevated from the carbs, so this results in redistributing our weight from muscle to fat – so not only can it disrupt sleep but it can increase weight.
2. Caffeine blocks the sleep inducing molecule called adenosine which makes us feel sleepy. Adenosine builds up if you’re active throughout the day. The more adenosine you build up, the higher your sleep drive, The higher your sleep drive, the faster you’ll fall asleep and the more sound your sleep will be, as your body flushes out the adenosine your body built up.
3. Finally, Melatonin. It’s an important hormone that, at nighttime, tells the body it’s time to slow down.
It’s part of the circadian rhythm.
At a certain part of the day,
you start increasing your melatonin.
It not only tells your body to go to sleep,
it plays a role in your immune system.
It helps fight viruses and decreases inflammation.
It’s vital to have good sleep rituals.
When you’re home at night and you’re watching TV, and in front of the screen,
it helps enormously to wear blue blocking glasses.
ideally turn off your screens
at least an hour before you go to bed.
If you think you can watch an intense action packed movie
and then go to bed and fall asleep in 10 minutes,
you’re living in dreamland… or rather, you won’t be!
Sleep is THE number 1 priority in my life, because it has THE most impact on your energy and EVERYTHING you do requires energy. The less energy you have the faster you will fall into the vicious circle and the worse will be your health outcomes.
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