Let him sleep
for when he wakes
he will move
Decades of research have not yielded a clear answer about why we sleep, but for billions of years the apparent rise and setting of the Sun has directed the process of life. This cycle or 24-hour circadian rhythm governs the hormone secretions for most lifeforms. Melatonin, a timekeeping signal of our circadian clock, prepares our bodies for sleep by lowering our core body temperature and causing drowsiness. This sleep inducing hormone is synthesized from tryptophan (an amino acid) and is produced by the pineal gland located near the center of our brain. In addition, melatonin works as an antioxidant and can prevent cancer by protecting our DNA from damage due to carcinogens.
Light pollution from TV’s, iPads, laptops, and other forms of artificial lighting can suppress melatonin production. Our skin cells have a light-sensitive chemical called rhodopsin (also, found in the retina of our eyes) that could be signaling to our brains, organs, and thus interfering with our sleep cycle. Even night lights, in children’s bedrooms, have been shown to increase the chance for myopia (short-sightedness) in young children. It’s optimal to have our bedrooms and our children’s bedrooms completely dark to get the best quality sleep.
Poor sleep quality can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression. It can make you forgetful, fat, and wrinkled before your time. Total sleep deprivation, in research animals, caused complete immune function loss and death within weeks.
Sleep is the time for human growth hormone secretion, tissue repair, muscle growth, protein synthesis, and the burning of body fat. For infants and young children, it is the time for brain development. Infants can spend upwards of 13 to 14 hours asleep, and health conscious adults need between 7 to 10 hours of sleep. For optimizing hormonal secretions associated with our circadian rhythm, the hours between 10 PM to 2 AM need to be encompassed in our sleep cycle. As a sleep aid, 400 to 600 mg of magnesium citrate mixed in warm water before bed can be very relaxing.
For more tips to improve your sleep checkout Shawn Stevenson’s book entitled Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success.
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For my next post, we will look at the benefits of the earth’s electromagnetic surface on the human body – grounding.
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