Monday, May 18, 2009
MAY 18, 2009 - MORE ON SLEEP
When you lose sleep, you really can't catch up. Your hormones don't spring back like that. Sleeping less than you need affects at least ten different hormones, not just melatonin. Sleeplessness causes shifts in all these hormones and changes appetite, fertility, and mental and cardiac health.
The National Institutes of Health concludes that six hours of prolactin production in the dark is the minimum necessary to maintain immune function like T-cell and beneficial killer-cell production. But you can't get six hours of prolactin secretion on six hours of sleep a night. It takes ar least three and a half hours of melatonin secretion before you even see prolactin. So if you don't go to bed two or three hours before midnight, there won't be enough time for this hormonal action to happen. Remember, if you sleep enough each night, you will lose weight as a result of your cortisol going down. Now you're listening, aren't you?
During the night, healing hormones go to work. Going to sleep early causes cortisol levels to drop, and when the cortisol levels are lowered, insulin levels lower. When the sun comes up, cortisol and insulin levels rise. Plenty of sleep, increased vitality and energy, controlled weight because of lowered insulin at night helps to keep weight at optimum.
Did you ever think that going to bed early was a component of weight loss? If you are eating correctly, exercising in moderation, and going to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., you are ahead of the game.
I read in Ageless that it is necessary to sleep in complete darkness for the optimal operation of hormones. The smallest bit of light will cause cortisol to remain high during the night. There was a study done where they put people in a completely dark room except for one tiny pin light on the backs of the knees, and their cortisol stayed high as a result.
In Lights Out, T.S. Wiley says that "an avalanche of peer-reviewed scientific papers supports our conclusion that when we don't sleep in sync with the seasonal variation in light exposure, we alter a balance of nature that has been programmed into our physiology since day one." The National Institutes of Health confirms that it is a scientific "given" that light and dark cycles turn hormone production on and off and activate the immune system. According to T.S. Wiley, "If the lack of prolactin at night doesn't get you, the lack of melatonin ultimately will. Melatonin is the most potent antioxidant known. Less melatonin and more free radicals mean faster aging even without chronic high insulin racking up a 'clock time' of four years for every one you live."