Trouble Sleeping? Impact of Desynchronized circadian rhythms.
Virtually all organisms on the planet display an internal representation of the solar days in the form of circadian rhythms driven by biological clocks. Nearly every aspect of physiology and behaviour is mediated by these internal clocks.
Circadian rhythms are the master clocks synchronizing what happens inside our body: e.g. when we get hungry, when we get sleepy, and when we perform our best depends on proper function of circadian rhythms. When circadian rhythms are misaligned, we experience an imbalance in our hormone cycle, physiology and disease can occur. Desynchronized circadian rhythms have been recently linked to a greater risk for obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and depression.
More recent studies talk about the stress impact of ALAN, Artificial Light at Night. ALAN exposure can have serious implications for adaptive physiology and behaviour, including immune, metabolic function, reproductive behaviour as well as impact on the endocrine system.
Disrupted Hormone cycles due to modern-day stress:
Our endocrine system is our glandular system. These glands produce chemical messages which are called hormones and it is the job of hormones to tell the body to do pretty much everything it does. It interacts with our immune system and our nervous system; these 3 systems literally make up the core of our body.
The pineal gland is our timekeeper and governs our circadian rhythms and it produces two important hormones: serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is the lovely sleep hormone and serotonin is the happiness and energy hormone. Melatonin is an important hormone in circadian synchronization and is involved in many biological and physiological regulations in the body. It is an effective hormone for human biorhythm (circadian rhythm).
Our endocrine system can often be disrupted due to modern-day stress, whether it is work stress, family pressure, financial stress, EMF exposure, poor quality water, demineralised food / depleted nutrition, aggressively farmed food, chemical toxicity (skincare, cleaning products, toiletries, pollution, pesticides), synthetic supplements, stimulants (caffeine, tobacco and alcohol etc), air conditioning, outgassing from new clothes, furniture, paint, carpets.
Imbalanced diets: Diets lacking key macro nutrients and consuming foods we are intolerant to will impact our stress levels and blood sugar metabolism.
Sedentary lifestyles: Lack of movement and exercise impacts our well-being, so try make time for daily exercise to support your circulation and reduce stress.
All the above are examples of stressors that affect our body and our circadian rhythm alignment. Our glandular system is sensitive to the elevated levels of toxic stress which impacts on our endocrine system. For example, symptoms that manifest from a stressed pineal gland are insomnia, sleep issues, fatigue.
Over 30% of people have some insomnia-like symptoms and about the same number, approximately one-third of adults, don’t get the recommended 7 - 9 hours of sleep per night. Almost 1 in 5 have trouble falling asleep every single night.
Functional Kinesiology can help to identify the root cause of your sleep issues and fatigue.
At Helen McHugh Kinesiology Leeds, I support clients with strategies to mitigate the consequences of insomnia, sleep issues and stress.
There are a wide range of issues that can contribute to trouble sleeping, from stress and anxiety to pain or even underlying health problems. My goal is to get to the root of your health imbalance.
Here are a few examples of Functional Kinesiology protocols I use:
- Kinesiology lymphatic massage will release stress from the body.
- Emotional Stress Release - Holding space for you to discuss your stresses and use Kinesiology protocols to release stuck emotions from the brain.
- Introduce dietary protocols that you can easily incorporate to help balance your blood sugars
- In-clinic testing for food intolerances and work out a plan on how to eliminate these from your diet and seek alternative foods that will best support your digestion.
- In-clinic testing for the relevant BACH Flower homeopathic remedy.
- Testing for relevant nutritional supplements to best support your Circadian Rhythm and ensure that you're aware of any vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Examples of supplements I would test for with someone with sleep issues or fatigue: CoQ10, Ashwagandha, Magnesium, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) amino acid, B Vitamins, Ginkgo biloba, Magnesium, L-theanine.
Helen's well-being tips: When I work with clients, I discuss their insomnia and fatigue stressors, and I share the following homework tips -
Reboot - To help reboot or reset your circadian rhythm with light, Increase bright light exposure during the day. Try get outdoors first thing or try to spend a bit more time outdoors or close to a source of natural sunlight. For example, by eating breakfast either outdoors or in a sunny and bright part of your home.
Wind down - try properly wind down at night, fully relax, and disengage from the outside world, to calm your central nervous system. Reduce blue light exposure in the evening. Blue light tricks your body into thinking it’s daytime so it’s important to reduce screen time especially at night, which stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
Pay attention to both sleep quality and quantity - Ensure you have good quality sleep for at least 8 hours per night. Make sure your bedroom is pitch-black bedroom or with black out curtains, no lights such as TVs or electric alarm clocks and turn your phone off. This will help the pineal gland produce melatonin and serotonin. If you are under stress or unwell, get a minimum of 8-10 hours rest / sleep.
Try to sleep and wake at consistent times - Your body’s circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset. Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day. Reduce irregular or long daytime naps as long daytime naps may impair sleep quality. If you have trouble sleeping at night, stop napping or shorten your naps.
Exercise at the right time of day - The stress hormone, cortisol which is produced during exercise is at its highest in the morning and falls throughout the day. To work with our natural rhythms, its optimum to do your cardiovascular exercise in the morning / afternoon and do light exercises, such as pilates, walking or yoga in the evening. Try avoid strenuous exercise such as running in the evening which will cause a build-up of cortisol at the wrong end of the day.
Don’t consume caffeine late in the day - Caffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink large amounts in the late afternoon or evening. If you are under stress, do not use caffeine to stay awake as this will put additional pressure on the adrenals. Caffeine is acceptable as a drink in the morning if your stress is under control.
Next steps: To support your well-being journey, why not schedule an initial consultation. More information on the SERVICES page and then reserve your appointment on the BOOK ONLINE section of www.helenmchugh.co.uk.
Promo code: # WORLD SLEEP 2022
Receive £10 discount on any Kinesiology consultation (Online or In-clinic). Appointment can be made for any future available date but must be pre-reserved online at www.helenmchugh.co.uk on or before: February 12th, 2022, 5pm GMT.
Maximum use: Once per client.