Why is proper sleep important? What happens in the night and why is getting to bed by 10pm so important? These are definitely questions to ask yourself if being healthy and functioning at your optimum is important to you. Read on – 50% of us are sleep deprived and I would say an even greater percentage are out of sync with their natural sleep cycles.
First things first – When is this critical hour?
The most important processes of purification and renewal occurs before midnight including the deepest sleep of the night between 11pm – 12 am, often referred to as ‘Beauty sleep’. During this time you enter a dreamless state where oxygen consumption drops by 8%. This results in profound physical rest, body healing and relaxation.This physiological rest you gain in this hour of dreamless sleep is 3 times deeper than what you get after midnight when oxygen levels rise by 5-6%. Growth hormones are secreted profusely during this hour of deep sleep. These powerful hormones are responsible for cellular growth, repair and rejuvenation. People age faster if they don’t produce enough growth hormones. Why would you take synthetic growth hormones if you can produce your own by going to bed at the right time? Deep sleep never happens after midnight and only comes if you go to sleep 2 hours before.
If you miss it, you miss your beauty sleep and instead – your body triggers a stress response. Not always pretty!
When you feel tired, it’s not just your mind, it is a whole body response and one you must listen to if you want to avoid health problems and engage your bodies natural healing capabilities.
There are HUGE reasons to be in sync with your bodies sleep cycles, read on…
8pm – 10pm Melatonin increases, the sleep hormone.
From around 8pm your body’s melatonin levels will increase rapidly which starts to make you tired, Seratonin levels increase in daylight, and melatonin increases as the sun goes down. Bright screens at night lower melatonin levels and disrupt the body’s natural biological rhythms. Melatonin is a fundamental sleep signal so if you can shut down computers and bright screens from 8pm you will be doing your self a big favour. The more melatonin we have, the sleepier we become. If you don’t feel tired after 9.30 or 10, you could have disturbed melatonin levels.
10pm – 2pm The body’s critical healing phase
From 10pm – 2am the body enters a phase of cleansing, rebuilding and rejuvenating of the body. In particular the liver receives most of its energy at this time to conduct over 500 different functions including a vital supply of nutrients to all parts of the body to break down noxious substances and cleanse the blood. Most of the bile for the following day is produced at this time also. If you remain awake during this cycle, you will greatly impair the function of the liver which is responsible for keeping every organ in your body fed with nutrients, energy, hormones and a clean working environment.
At this time most of the blood supply at the back of the brain moves into the liver for storage and purification. If you remain mentally or physically active at this time, the liver won’t have enough blood to do its night duties as the brain actually contains a quarter of the bodies blood supply even though its size makes up only 1 fiftieth of our body mass.
Most heart disease is a result of a poorly functioning liver that is unable to remove all toxic substances from the blood on a daily basis. If we don’t give the liver the energy it needs to conduct its most basic activities, we sow the seeds for illness throughout the body.
Blood pressure usually falls during the sleep cycle. Interrupted sleep and missing the vital 2 hours before midnight can adversely affect this normal decline and lead to hypertension and cardiovascular problems.
If you can get to bed before 10pm and asleep by 10, you will be right in sync with your bodies natural rhythms.
2am – 6am The body’s elimination phase
The body’s temperature begins to drop and reaches it’s lowest at 4am, after that it begins to rise and adrenaline and cortisol levels rise ready to jump start the body ready for the day.
The early morning cycle in particular is responsible for moving the body’s waste products from the liver, cells, intestines and all other areas of the body towards the body’s elimination and detoxification systems. The lymphatic system which neutralises harmful microbes and metabolic waste and cells damaged by disease. Waste is passed to the bladder and rectum for elimination and the skin also receives waste products which is why having a shower in the morning is the best time.
Because the body’s waste removal systems are stimulated, being upright soon after waking and staying upright works with gravity to eliminate waste. Morning exercise is also helpful, a morning walk or my favourite morning exercise, rebounding on a trampoline, definitely gets things moving – ready for elimination including the all important lymph nodes.
As a side note – 70% of the body’s waste is eliminated through the lungs, 20% through the skin, 7% through the urine and only 3% through the faeces.
It really is so important not to ignore the body’s efforts to eliminate and assist it any way you can because any long term congestion in the colon, liver and kidneys can turn the body into a sewer reservoir and put you in danger of these materials cycling back around.
Children and young teens and even adolescents natural melatonin cycle is earlier and can benefit from getting to bed any time from 8pm if they are feeling tired.
Women 40-55 may experience sleep disturbance as they go through hormonal changes associated with menopause.
Going to sleep early in the night and rising early in the morning is one of the most important health recommendations you can receive. It’s free, it’s important and it’s in your own hands.
The information in this blog is taken from ancient Ayervedic wisdom and the book ‘Timeless secrets of health and rejuvenation’ by Andreas Moritz, which I consider an essential for anyone looking to be more proactive about their health.
As always, my 3 month program, tailored to you will support you to get on and stay on your healing journey. Whatever the inroad is to want to be well and to let go of your suffering, working with your body’s healing messages and loving yourself enough to do this is where we will start.