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Sleep

Your lack of sleep may be disrupting your hormones

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Knowing how things work and the impacts they have in our body help us live a better life and achieve our goals in a simple way.

Nowadays sleep is one of our least priorities, if we want to lose weight we focus on diet and exercise and even when we know sleep is important we don´t give it the attention it deserves. Just one night of poor sleep will have negative consequences on your day and if this become chronic it can cause negative health problems.

Here we´ll talk about 5 hormones that are affected with just one night of poor sleep, this hormones are: cortisol, growth hormone, insulin, leptin and ghrelin.

Cortisol is the stress hormone, every time you are under stress your body releases cortisol to deal with that situation, your body needs more energy so it shuts down non essential functions for that period of time and glucose increases because it´s the preferred form of energy and you need energy in case you need to run or fight. Lack of sleep increases stress in your body so if you didn´t get enough good sleep cortisol will be high.

Growth hormone is the one that keeps you lean, it helps your cells use stored fat for energy and also repair and build muscle. Your body produces this hormone during sleep you need to get through all the phases of sleep for this hormone to get high. Lack of sleep keeps this hormone low making it easier for your body to store fat and even lose muscle tissue.

Insulin is known as the fat storage hormone, it takes insulin to the cells so it can be use as energy and it is triggered by carbohydrates, the higher insulin is the more fat you store and it´s also dangerous. Lack of sleep makes your body insulin resistant meaning that your body is not efficient using carbohydrates, your body needs to produce more insulin to get the same job done.

Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite and it tells you when to stop eating by sending signals to your brain that you are full and that you have plenty of energy. Lack of sleep lowers leptin in your body so it can´t send signals to your brain that you are full so you keep eating.

Ghrelin also sends signals to your brain and tells you when you need to eat. Lack of sleep increases ghrelin so you are hungry all day. This is why your craving for sweets and unhealthy foods increases with just one night of poor sleep.

During sleep your brain is recharging so that you can learn, understand and memorize things with ease, lack of sleep affects your cognitive skills making it harder to retain new information, to react fast and make good decisions. Your attention and alertness lowers and you won´t be as creative as you can be.

Lack of sleep sends the wrong signals and trigger these hormones in the wrong way affecting not only your fitness goals but your health in general. One night of poor sleep will affect your day and you´ll see it in the short run symptoms like feeling tired, sleepy, lack of energy, hard to focus, cravings increase specially for sweets, being in a bad mood.

Chronic sleep problems can cause many physical and health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, anxiety. It also makes your hormones go out of balance the internal clock of your body go nuts.

Changing habits is key for good quality sleep every night, some of the causes of bad sleep are chronic stress and blue light, if you are stressed your body won´t relax and your mind won´t stop making it almost impossible to fall asleep and get the adequate rest. Blue light is present in almost all screens of technology devices like computers, lap tops, cell phones, tv. Avoiding the use of this electronics before you go to bed help you sleep better and faster, meditation helps you relax and calm and release tension from your body and muscles.

In future post we´ll talk about each hormone separately to go deeper so you can have a better understanding, if there´s something in particular you want to know just let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to answer all your questions.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Why lack of sleep can make you gain weight

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If you want to make your weight loss journey easier and maintain a lean physique then you need to pay attention to the quality and quantity of sleep.

We´ve mentioned before that weight loss is not only about calories, in fact it is more about hormones and metabolism and sleep plays a huge role on maintaining all hormones and systems on your body in balance. Lack of sleep has a negative impact on your brain and body, this include your weight.

There´s so much research and studies done about the relationships between sleep and weight and it´s clear that when you don´t get enough high quality sleep you gain weight or at least it is harder for you to stay on track, the reason for this is hormones.

Some hormones regulate your hunger and appetite, these hormones are leptin and ghrelin, when leptin is up you have less cravings and you eat less, when ghrelin is up you have more cravings and you eat more. With lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep leptin decreases and ghrelin increases this is why it is harder to avoid unhealthy foods and to follow a diet when you didn´t get enough high-quality sleep.

Lack of sleep increases cravings for the unhealthy foods you need to avoid, highly processed and refined foods that are loaded with sugars, trans fats and unhealthy oils and if you eat them you´ll get into a cycle that is hard to leave thanks to the signals this food sends to your body including your brain. We also need to consider that you not only have cravings for unhealthy foods and in most cases you´ll end up eating them, you also tend to eat more.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep make you feel tired, without energy to exercise so chances are you´ll skip the work out of the day and if you don´t exercise, you eat unhealthy foods and you eat more you have the recipe to gain weight.

If your body is working properly and everything is in balance it´s really simple to lose weight and maintain optimal health and also maintain a healthy weight and to keep all hormones and systems in balance you need to make sure that your diet is sending the right messages to your body and enough high quality sleep makes this possible in an easier way.

Leptin and ghrelin are just two of the hormones, there are other hormones like growth hormone and insulin that also play an important role on weight and optimal health. There are studies that show that one night of poor sleep increases insulin and when insulin is high then you don´t burn fat. For a healthy weight loss and to make it sustainable you need to make sure that you are losing fat and maintaining lean muscle mass, insulin blocks fat burn.

One night of poor sleep takes all hormones out of balance which makes it impossible to lose weight and if it is chronical the negative impacts are worse.

On future posts we´ll talk about why weight loss is not about self-control and will power, it´s about making sure that your body works properly, this means that you need to improve your health, to maintain optimal health you need to develop certain healthy habits and routines which includes enough high quality sleep, this is key to make sure that all hormones are working properly which is what makes your weight loss possible in a simple, effortless and enjoyable way.

Finding ways, tools and strategies that help you get enough high quality sleep is important, having a sleep schedule, exercising especially in the morning, using breathing techniques are some of the tools you can use to improve sleep.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you had pay attention at how you feel after a night of poor sleep, have you realized that you eat less, that you have more cravings and you more?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

ExerciseSleep

How exercise improves sleep

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We can´t deny the fact that exercise has so many incredible benefits for optimal health and this includes sleep, if you want to get better sleep then make exercise part of your daily routine.

Nowadays we are more sedentary than we used to be some years ago and we do not prioritize our health, most of us live very unhealthy lifestyle created by negative habits and routines. This includes lack of exercise or physical activity.

Exercise helps you improve the quality and quantity of sleep, we´ve talked about on past posts about the internal clock of our body called the circadian rhythm and on future posts we´ll talk about our body temperature and how it fluctuates during day and night. Exercise helps keep your body in balance by increasing body temperature and keeping the circadian rhythm in balance.

The time of the day you exercise impacts the quality and quantity of sleep, if you do a high intensity workout at night then it will be harder for you to fall asleep which is not what we want so the best time to exercise is in the morning, it doesn´t matter if you go to the gym, if you exercise at home or if you go to outside; it doesn´t matter if you lift weights, if you do bodyweight exercises or if you jump rope or go for a walk; any physical activity done in the morning improves the quality and quantity of sleep. When you exercise in the morning your body temperature increases and then starts to fall, exercising in the afternoon still gives your body temperature time to fall before you go to bed.

If you can exercise outside and get sunlight you get a lot more benefits and this also improves the quality and quantity of sleep by keeping your circadian rhythm in sync.

The intensity and effort of your workouts need to be considered also, it´s not recommended to do exercise at high intensity and effort whether it´s resistance or cardio at night because it will take you so long to fall asleep and you won´t get high quality of sleep. If the only time you can exercise is at night make sure it´s moderate intensity and effort. If you can exercise in the morning then moderate to high intensity is better but always making sure that you are paying attention to proper form and avoid all injuries.

If your goal with exercise is to improve the quality and quantity of sleep then you don´t need to do long workouts, I don´t recommend more than 90 minutes of exercise actually and 90 minutes are not necessary. To improve sleep taking a 10 to 15 minutes walks is all you need to get the benefits. 30 minutes 5 days a week would be the ideal amount of time to improve sleep and also to improve your health. Starting with 10 minutes is a great way to go.

We also need to mention the exercise reduces stress and when you lower stress the quality and quantity of sleep improves, how many nights have you lied in bed ready to fall asleep but you keep thinking and worrying on everything going on with your life? From you school, grades, your job, your boss, finances, relationships? All these fears and worries increase stress and they keep you awake at night. Exercising is a great way to leave that stress out of your body and improve your mood.

When you exercise or do some physical activity you end up tired, exercise requires energy this is why when you do any new activity or go out and spend some time playing with friends, family or you have a camping day or any other outside activity that includes exercise and physical movement you feel tired and when you go to bed you fall asleep really fast. When you exercise you are using energy and this makes you tired so by the end of the day you want to rest so when you go to bed your body is prepared to get that well deserve rest giving it the opportunity to work properly.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you remember how you felt the last time you spent some time outside with friends or family doing any physical activity, playing a sport and having fun and if you remember how you slept that night.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How to improve sleep during shift work

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You know that sleep is important, it not only help you feel energized and perform at your best every day, it is also important to maintain optimal health but what do you do when you have a shift work?

People that work night shift face many different challenges and have a lot of problems with their health. They are disorganized, they lack human connection, they feel lonely and some of then have depression or anxiety. It´s not only that they feel tired, they can´t concentrate, they performance decrease, the negative impact on the long run can put their health at risk.

I mentioned before that our body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm and this clock needs to be working with our environment so that all systems and hormones on our body are on sync. People that work night shifts are working against this internal clock so it´s really hard for them to get enough sleep during day and the reason for this is because during the night there´s no light and that sends the signal to your body that it´s time to rest, recover and grow and during day there´s light so this sends the signal to your body to stay alert. Even when they may be able to fall asleep the quality of sleep won´t be as high as possible, they can be woken up by people or normal noises very easily and this can lead to insomnia or other sleep problems. They need to work on having a good schedule that helps them get the best quality of sleep possible.

Unfortunately, some people work night shifts, and this is detrimental to their health because it gets really hard to get the quality and quantity of sleep needed. If you are one of them here are some steps you can take to improve sleep:

1.- Avoid highly processed and fast foods, try to make your meals low carbohydrates and focus on getting enough healthy proteins and fats.

2.- Do some exercise before your night shift.

3.- Get bright light at night during work, get your work place with good light and use amber glasses during day.

4.- Take naps if you can

5.- Drink coffee or tea to stay alert

6.- Keep a sleep schedule and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends.

7.- Use eye mask to send the right signal through your eyes, you want total darkness.

On cases like this one you need to work and focus on the other 4 principles of fitness, food, exercise, stress and mindset. What you eat and when you eat will have a huge impact on how able you are to stay alert during your work and how fast can you fall asleep. Stress will also have a negative impact making your sleep low quality, physical activity will help you stay alert during your shift and it will also help you get better quality and quantity of sleep.

When you can´t take control of the 5 principles of fitness and you can´t make sure that you are working on all of them you need to work harder on the ones you can control so that you can reduce the negative impact of the last one.

Try to avoid working several night shift in a row and if you can avoid them do it as much as possible. Most jobs have a lunch time so taking a nap during this lunch time can be very beneficial. Make sure that you eat a healthy meal during that lunch time and use the rest of the time to take a nap.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you work night shifts and how you manage to get sleep or if you are having troubles getting enough high quality sleep.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How many hours of sleep do we need per night?

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This is a question many of us keep asking time and time again, from what I´ve read and what I´ve seen the amount of sleep each of us need per night will vary according to different factors like our levels of stress, nutrition, exercise, age, etc; our lifestyle will determine not only the amount of sleep we need but it will determine the tools we use for each of the 5 principles of fitness to live our best life possible.

Most people in the industry and research will say that we need around 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep per night but most of us don´t get that recommend quantity some of us because we can´t and some prefer to spend time late night watching Netflix or doing other stuff.

For someone who is very active during the day, someone who trained hard in the gym, someone who has a very stressful life getting the 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep is necessary because the body and mind needs to recover from all that stress and work of the day and get ready to start over again. Someone who doesn´t exercise hard and for someone who is able to maintain stress low the entire day can get only 6 hours of sleep and feel great.

Our age also plays an important point to consider, according to the National Sleep Foundation, the younger we are the more sleep we need, children need around 9 hours, adults around 8 hours, older adults around 7 hours.

The best way to know how many hours you need is by how you feel when you wake up, if you feel rested, with energy and ready to start your day then it was enough but if it´s hard to wake up and you want to hit the snooze button over and over, if you feel tired, if you lack energy then those are signs that you need to sleep more or improve the quality.

In any case, whether it´s 7 to 8 hours or 6 hours you need to make those hours count, quality of sleep is important, you may sleep 8 hours but if you keep waking up in the middle of the night you won´t get through all the phases of sleep and your body and mind won´t recover properly so when you wake up you won´t feel rested. You may get 6 hours of sleep but if those 6 hours were great and you were able to go through all the phases in each cycle when you wake up, you feel rested, energized and ready for the day.

There´s something I need to say about sleep, from everything I´ve read and research each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes so if we consider this and the 7 to 8 hours of sleep recommended the math is not right. It is possible that most people need 7.5 hours of sleep per night, but this is not a rule. Considering sleep cycles the question for me is how many cycles of sleep do you need? And this will vary from people to people. At what time you go to sleep also a has a huge impact, some people prefer to go to sleep really late around midnight while others around 9:00 pm. We all have a best time to go to sleep and it´s different for each of us, if you sleep at the right time for you, you may need less sleep.

Quality and quantity of sleep are both important, you can make adjustments to the quantity according to your lifestyle, but you need to make sure that it´s good quality. Enough good quality sleep help you perform better throughout the day by increasing focus and concentration, increase productivity, you get better results, it´s easier to stay on track in any program and the reason for this is that your body is working the way it should, all hormones and systems are on balance, when everything is on balance everything works as it´s supposed to work and that´s when you are able to perform at peak.

Sleep is a crucial part of success in life, it makes your fitness journey a lot easier but getting enough good quality sleep is crucial for health so developing habits and a schedule that help you get good quality sleep every night is key, we´re living very fast paced and stressful days so developing a routine before we go to sleep and right when we wake up helps us improve sleep by calming our mind and relaxing our body and also help us focus and concentrate on what we need to do every single day to stay on track and achieve our goals.

If you need to sleep 7 to 8 hours but for different reasons you can´t get them, naps are a great tool, taking a nap between 12 pm to 2:00 pm can help you recover and continue with the rest of your day.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Tips to fall asleep faster

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Sleep needs to be a priority; we know that but is it easy for you to fall asleep fast or does it take so long until you can finally fall asleep?

There are different supplements you can buy that claim and promise to help you improve the quality of sleep and to help you fall asleep, but does they actually work? And what about the negative effects? I don´t recommend any supplement to help you get enough high quality sleep and to fall asleep faster (unless in certain occasions like jet lag) but there are some tips I can share with you to fall asleep faster.

There are several sleep problems that can be affecting the quality and quantity of sleep and also making it harder for you to fall asleep fast, we´re going to talk about this sleep problems on future posts because in these cases we need to take other kind of action.

When it comes to falling asleep faster and improving the quality of sleep most of us do not need to take supplements, what you need to do is change some habits or routines of your day that are impacting our sleep, the moment you make these changes you start getting benefits and the more you do them the best results you get.

What you do on your entire day has an impact on the quality of your sleep and how fast you´re able to fall asleep, your lifestyle plays a huge role on optimal health, what you do and don´t do are both important, you can´t just focus on doing certain things right you also need to avoid doing certain things in some cases just by not doing certain things that have a negative impact we can get amazing results.

Some tips you can follow to fall asleep faster are:

1.- Avoid eating 2 or 3 hours before going to bed, you don´t want your body to be working on digesting food.

2.- Avoid caffeine after lunch,

3.- Decrease blue light exposure or use amber glasses as the sun goes down,

4.- Make sure your room is dark.

You´ve probably heard these tips before but, have you tried them? They may look so simple but they´re actually effective, this tips help your body work more efficiently according to the internal clock of your body, when you reduce or block blue light and you make sure that your room is dark you´re sending the right signal to your body to secret melatonin so that you can fall asleep, when you avoid eating 3 hours before going to bed you make sure that everything you ate during the day is already digested so your body can focus on what it needs to do during sleep which is clean, repair, recover and grow. When you stop drinking caffeine at lunch, you give your body time to take it out of your system. With caffeine you also need to consider the amount, if you drink too much caffeine even before lunch it can have a negative impact making it harder to fall asleep.

You may be thinking that the tips I share with you are so simple and basic but, they are so effective, we are so stressed living a routinely life worrying for stuff that is not that important and we´ve forgotten to prioritize our health. The moment we start developing healthy habits for the 5 principles of fitness our health will improve and our life in general. For some of you it may be difficult to follow all the tips or steps I share with you in this and all the site and social media because of school, work or your lifestyle, just make sure that you find the ones that you can adapt to you life and work for you.

Give these 4 tips a try for a couple of weeks and let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you find it easier to fall asleep or if you´re still having trouble.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

How blue light impacts sleep

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Have you been having difficulties falling asleep? Are you having sleep problems or a bad night sleep?

We spend too much time in front of a computer, laptops, tablet, cell phone or any other screen but we don´t think about the negative impact that this have in the quality and quantity of sleep. It´s not only the fact that we´re exposed to electric light from the moment we wake up to the moment we want to fall asleep, the type of light we´re exposed and the times of the day have a negative impact on sleep.

The light that the screens of electric devices like computers, laptops, cellphones, etc; and electric bulbs release is blue light.

Even when artificial light has a huge positive impact on your life by helping you get more things done, it also has so many negative impacts for your health and your life. Some years ago the only source of lightning was the sun and people worked and schedule their day according to the light of the sun, they worked more in coherence and harmony with nature and the environment until we had access of artificial light and when this happened we were able to illuminate our evenings and nights which causes a lot of health problems.

We saw in the last post how the circadian rhythm works and the access to light at night before bed blocks melatonin and hormones and functions in our body get out of sync.

Blue light in particular has been associated to a negative impact on your sleep and health in general. Blue light exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin which is hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that influences the circadian rhythm.

If you are one of those people who like to check their email or social media right before going to bed or worse, when you are already in bed just before falling asleep and you find it hard to fall asleep the blue light from the screen is the one that impairs your ability to fall asleep.

Since blue light impacts the quality and quantity of sleep this leads to greater health problems, lack or poor-quality sleep makes it harder to lose weight and maintain optimal weight and health and it´s linked to more complicated health problems.

Light sends the signal to your brain and body that you need to be woken up through the eyes so when you want to fall asleep you need to send the right signal to your brain through your eyes and this means avoiding all light 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed especially blue light.

In the last years amber glasses have increased popularity (we´re going to talk about them in the next post) because they are one tool to block blue light but there are more strategies and tools you can use to reduce the exposure to light and this includes having a sleep schedule which is for most of us the best option because we can design one that works for us and our day.

The best thing you can do is try to emulate nature, emulate your environment which means that you need to reduce light as the sun goes down and increase it as the sun raise but this can be hard for most of us since we need to get to school, our job and get so much stuff done during the day so the best option is to reduce light exposure for a period of time before going to bed.

We know that high quality sleep is key if we want to lose weight and maintain an amazing physique so you need to make sure that you get the best quality sleep as possible because most of us do not get the 7 to 8 hours, to improve sleep and make sure it´s high quality it all starts by being able to fall asleep fast which can be achieved by having a sleep schedule and this schedule needs to consider avoiding all blue light, especially screen devices for at least 60 minutes before going to bed, red light is a good option too but we´re going to talk about it in future posts.

Follow this next steps today to improve the quality of sleep:

1.- Turn off all electric devices especially the ones with screens like Tv, computer, tablets, cell phones (if you need to keep your phone on in case of emergency make sure that you don´t check it) 60 minutes before going to bed,

2.- Take the first 30 minutes to practice visualization and gratitude exercises,

3.- Take the next 30 minutes to practice breathing exercises to fall asleep faster.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you did the exercise and what was your result or experience.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

Sleep is not only for rest

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There are so many things going on in your body while you sleep and it´s not only recovery and growth. All systems of your body and brain are working so hard doing different functions while we sleep.

From cleaning your body from toxins, to deleting unnecessary information and storing important information in other parts of your brain there are so many processes that need to work in harmony, your body and brain never rest, there´s always something going on.

One of the most important processes that go on while you sleep is that your body gets rid of toxins and your brain deletes unnecessary information. Have you ever stopped for a moment and think about all the toxins you consume in one day? from the food you eat, the high levels of chronic stress from your work or school, the products you use to clean, the air you breathe, etc; in that same day you also get a ton of information from what you see on all social media, to tv, the news, also information about your coworkers or classmates, what´s happening on our city or country and even in other countries, everything you see from the moment you wake up, there´s literally so much going on every single day so when you sleep your brain also has a system that helps it manage all that information, if the information is not important it will be deleted, if it´s something important for a project it will store it in a part of the brain until you´re done with it and you´re able to forget it while the most important and relevant information will get stored in the long-term memory.

All this cleaning part is so important to be able to free space on your brain to get more information in, to learn new skills and in your body to help us prevent diseases.

There are so many toxins that have a negative impact on your body and health so there are systems in your body that make all this cleaning possible every night but for this to happen you need to make sure that you get enough high quality sleep.

During sleep your hormones are also working, enough high quality sleep makes it easier to lose weight and stay lean because all your hormones like leptin and ghrelin are balanced and working properly so you don´t have cravings, you don´t feel hungry all day so it´s easier for you to make the right choices. Enough high-quality sleep improves metabolism and helps with insulin sensitivity. Lack or poor sleep is linked to weight and obesity, if you are obese or overweight can cause sleep problems which leads to a negative cycle.

Your physical and mental health are also impacted by the quality and quantity of your sleep, you can see the negative impact of a poor night sleep that day and if this sleep problem is chronic then the negative impact is huge, health problems physical or mental are highly linked to poor or lack of sleep. When you don´t get enough high quality sleep the immune system won´t be working efficiently and this makes it harder for your body to fight diseases, also lack or poor sleep increases stress as we mentioned before and stress and we know that this bad stress causes a lot of damage to your body.

Your body needs to heal, recover, repair, grow and clean from all the toxins, stress (good and bad) that you went through during the day and for this to be possible you need to be aware of the other 4 principles of fitness so that your body has the nutrients and everything it needs to make every process as optimal as possible.

Since sleep affects every system, hormone, etc; on your body and there are so many processed going on while you sleep we need to make sure that you get enough high quality sleep every night, this is not only necessary to maintain a good mood, energy and concentration throughout the day it´s necessary for optimal health and this includes physical and mental.

You cannot forget that sleep plays an important role for the proper recovery of your workouts, your muscles recover, grow and get stronger when you´re recovering and sleep is part of this recovery so, if you want to get the best results possible you need to make sure that you are getting enough high quality sleep. For weight loss sleep is also important to keep cravings low and make sure that all hormones are working properly to make your weight loss journey a lot easier.

One simple step you can take today to improve the quality and quantity of sleep is turn off all electric devices and lights at least 30minutes before going to bed, try to make your bedroom as dark as possible those 30 minutes, this will send signals to your brain and body that it´s time to sleep.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you make sleep a priority every night and how good is your quality of sleep and if you don´t prioritize sleep let us know why, is it school, your job, kids?

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

What you need to know about the circadian rhythm

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Your body has an internal clock that is always working but, you need to make sure that it´s in sync with all systems and hormones and it needs to work in harmony with your environment.

You may have heard about the importance of having a sleep schedule or at least trying to go to sleep around the same time every night, this is true and the positive impact it has in your life is amazing, the reason for this is the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm plays an important role on the quality and quantity of your sleep, if the circadian rhythm is out of sync for any reason then it will impact negatively your sleep, this can by just for one night but if this turns into a habit it can have huge negative consequences in the long run.

You are supposed to follow nature´s clock what I mean with this is that you´re supposed to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun goes up. Your body has an internal clock and most of its functions go according to that internal clock, this has to do with the production of melatonin to fall asleep, increasing cortisol at certain hours.

Nature works in a cycle of 24 hours, a cycle of day and night, during day you get light from the sun and at night it´s dark. Your body also works in the same 24 hours period, or at least it tries. This 24-hour cycle has a lot to do with your sleep-wake cycle the same way the sun rises and sets every day. This cycle also contributes to hours of sleep when your body is recovering, growing and eliminating toxics and hours of alertness during the day when you are supposed to have all the energy and focus to live as best as possible.

During this cycle there are so many things going on in your body like producing melatonin, body temperature fluctuates, the hormones also have fluctuations.

You need melatonin to fall asleep which is produced when the sun starts to set and as the lights go down if we keep working on your computer or laptop or checking your phone until late night your body won´t produce melatonin which is one of the reasons why you can´t fall asleep and you don´t get high quality sleep. When it´s dark your eyes send a signal to your brain that it´s time to rest so your body produces melatonin to fall asleep.

Cortisol is an important hormone and it´s higher in the morning and it decreases throughout the day. Just as cortisol there are other hormones like insulin, leptin, ghrelin that plays an important role on your health and they´re all impacted by this internal clock called the circadian rhythm.

When you are out of zync with natures clock it affects negatively your body, and this includes your brain and it affects also your health physical and mental.

This circadian rhythm may be affected by lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, when you go to sleep late at night around midnight like many of us do and you want to fall asleep fast just minutes after turning off the computer or checking emails which is impossible for your body. Not having a sleep schedule and sleep routine also affects negatively this internal clock. Outside factors like light from electric devices, sounds, temperature they all have an impact on how your body and brain get the right signals to either fall asleep or wake up.

Even when it seems like you can get ahead of this internal clock this is not true, your internal clock is affected by your environment being the cycles of day and light the most important ones because this circadian rhythm that is located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus receives direct information from the eyes.

So, if you want to feel great and maintain optimal health, you need to make sure that everything is functioning as best as possible and making sure that the circadian rhythm is in sync is key.

A simple step you can take to make sure that the circadian rhythm is sync is to mimic your environment, try to turn off the lights and electric devices when the sun goes down, if this is hard because of school or work then using amber glasses is a great option. When you wake up get some light exposure from the sun.

Let us know if you knew about this internal clock and how it impacts our body and health by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam

Sleep

What happens during sleep?

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Most of us want to feel and perform at peak every day or at least we want to feel great and be able to go through all activities and accomplish our daily goals as best as possible but even when we want all this we do not prioritize sleep. I know some days is impossible to go to bed early and get 8 hours of quality sleep but, how many times have you stayed up late watching one more episode of Game of Thrones, a Harry Potter or Avengers movies? (I love those ones, choose the one you love 😊)

I think that if you understand what happens when you sleep you will consider to give it the importance it deserves and even if you can´t get 8 hours every night you can make some changes to your lifestyle and adopt good habits that will improve the quality of your sleep and get at least 6 hours every night which will impact your life positively.

Sleep is crucial for your health and survival, specially because your brain never stops, there are so many processes going on in your brain and body while you sleep, every day your brain receives tones of information and you put your body through stress, while we sleep your body is recovering and your brain is storing information, it also takes you through movies that seem so real which are dreams.

We´re going to keep it simple, sleep can divide it in 2 phases which are deep sleep and REM, deep sleep focuses more on our body while REM focuses more on our brain.

REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)

In this part of sleep the focus is on your brain and memory, when you are awake you are taking a lot of information that is stored in the short term memory, during sleep all that information goes through a selective test, if it´s important and useful that information gets stored in the long term memory where it can last a lifetime, this is where your memories are stored and you can share the stories for years to come, if the information is not relevant, important or useful it´s deleted. Most of the information you get during the day is deleted, this clean part prevents that your brain gets filled with unnecessary stuff.

Even when memory consolidation requires both deep sleep and REM studies show that if you have any sleep issue during this stage you tend to be more forgetful. Dreams are experienced most vividly during this stage and even when the reasons or purpose of dreams are not clear it may be to help us process information and emotions.

Deep sleep

During this part of sleep all the healing and repair in the body occurs, here the body is working on recovering from the day, recover, healing and growing. Growth hormone is released during this phase but all other hormones like leptin, ghrelin, insulin are also working, the same with the systems of your body like digestive, immune they´re all working together to recover and build muscle, skin, hair.

During deep sleep your physical body is recovering, healing and growing, the body is actually healing itself from wounds, repairing muscle, replacing cells this is why it´s so important.

It´s clear that you need enough good quality sleep and you need to go through both phases repeatedly every night, lack of sleep impacts all the process going on while you sleep that is why it´s harder to stay focused on what you are doing, we tend to be more forgetful and you are more susceptible to get sick.

Optimal health physically and mentally requires good quality sleep, this compliments the other 4 principles of fitness so developing good habits for each of them leads to a better life, it´s not about being perfect on one of them, it´s about improving in all of them. If you can´t get 8 hours of sleep every day try getting 6 hours and focus on making those 6 hours the best and use tools to reduce stress which will help you improve the quality of sleep, eat real, fresh foods, workout every day and stay as far as possible from negative people, be more positive all day.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Pam