THE REAL BEAUTY OF BEAUTY SLEEP
Healthy Living Blog
by Rachelle Tetreault L,Ac
We live in a new world of changing technology and constant multi-tasking where our sleep can be affected and our biorhythms can be out of sync with how nature intended. It is important to take a look at how something as natural and vital as sleep should be aligned with our body-energy clock to have optimal health advantages. Almost every hormone released in the body is in response to our natural circadian rhythm. Spending time outdoors getting exposure to bright, natural light to enhance better sleep quality. Many people are under exposed to light and lack the proper biorhythm which nature intended as our body-energy clock regulation.
In Eastern Medicine, it is well known that our biorhythm should correlate with the body-energy clock by cyclical ebbs and flows of vital energy moving from yin organs to their prospective luo-connecting yang organ throughout the body at certain set time intervals. For instance, the liver which acts to regulate vital energy to all other organs has a peak time of 1am to 3am. The liver acts as a filter for the whole body and has multiple metabolic functions and it also helps regulate hormones. The liver is responsible for storing blood but also the steady flow of vital energy throughout the body for many essential metabolic and biological functions. So, to be in bed before 10pm at night can help enhance the liver’s function for pronounced, restorative care for the body. During this time, deep sleep is enhanced, rest, recovery, better planning abilities take place, and the detoxification of blood is optimized. The liver signs for biorhythms disrupted may be anger, irritability, and/or frustration.
The luo-connecting meridian to the liver is the gallbladder which peaks in its cycle about 11pm to 1am. If you desire to wake with good energy then this is the time to ensure solid sleep. During rest, yin energy is reduced and yang energy is heightened which is then stored for daytime hours creating optimal energy throughout the day. Signs of deficiency can be resentment, having a hard time making decisions, or chronic indecisiveness. When sleep takes place, toxins can be properly released, fresh blood made more readily. If you tend to wake up during this time, there may be too much yang energy or pathways may have stagnation and a liver detox may be the best choice. The gallbladder energy time clock is optimal for releasing bile, enabling cellular repair, and building red blood cells.
Many hormones and metabolic functions are greatly affected by sleep quality and circadian rhythms. A variety of hormones are released at night especially for overall regulation. These include the growth hormone, melatonin, cortisol, and leptin. The metabolism becomes affected with sleep disruptions greatly due to the hunger hormones become dysregulated. These include insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. These are responsible for fat storage, blood sugar regulation, hunger sensory, as well as fullness sensory. Other hormones related to the biorhythm being off include thyroid, estrogen, and progesterone. Major hormone functions include controlling heart rate, blood pressure, libido, fertility, body temperature, growth, metabolism, and appetite. Lack of sleep also reduces the immune response leading to increased infections, increased appetite, weight gain and ultimately hormonal disruptions.
Sleep issues often are rooted in liver fire. Other signs which often are associated include teeth grinding, irritability, temper, dry eyes and mouth, and even depression. When the liver is overactive, acupuncture points are used to help stimulate the release of what is called liver fire. Food therapy like chrysanthemum tea helps clear excess liver heat and also has a calming effect. Goji berries help nourish the liver yin and blood which helps when stagnation of liver energy has persisted for a while. Other foods and herbals include longan fruit and jujube seeds which improves overall circulation and calms the mind. It is good to meditate before bedtime with cleansing breaths. Soaking feet in a hot bath also has shown to improve sleep quality. If the liver is overactive, it is good to avoid alcohol, caffeine, both sweet and spicy foods which are more yang in nature. But rather embark on yin foods like watermelon, tofu, green beans, and bananas.
Studies have shown over time, that lack of sleep results in increased sympathetic nervous system activity. This leads to increased cortisol levels, weight gain, diabetes, insulin resistance, and even elevated blood pressure and heart rate issues. To counteract this, the parasympathetic nervous system can be heightened by some simple techniques. These may include visualization of good experiences, music therapy, massages, meditative exercise, breathing techniques, and being out in nature. This allows both the heart rate and blood pressure to reduce and circulation to be more balanced. Also, digestion and metabolism become more harmonized. Also, to ensure better sleep, be flexible with mind and body, be adaptable. Let go when needed and try not to ruminate or overthink everything. In my office, I often use auricular points to help calm the nervous system. They work almost instantly by instigating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Melatonin and valerian can be good sleep aids. However, too much melatonin can hinder the natural melatonin production over time. Valerian root can help calm the mind by reducing brain activity which is helpful if going through a stressful time and sleep is disrupted. For a full assessment with treatment, please call today to begin your healing journey to optimal health! 772-353-1397