by Glen Depke
So really, how important is a positive night’s sleep? Your body does most of its maintenance and repair when you are sleeping and I do not know of anyone that does not require a regular dose of this maintenance and repair. While your immune system is always active on some level, it kicks into high gear during your sleep cycle.
First let’s define a good night’s sleep. I would suggest that this is typically 8 hours and generally from the times of approximately 10:00PM and 6:00AM. During the winter months you may require even more sleep to be at your best. Recognize that I also put specific times since it is not OK to simply get eight hours of sleep if you are going to bed at 1:00AM and sleeping to 9:00AM. Yes, this is still eight hours but it is an unhealthy eight hours since it is not in alignment with natural shifts in cortisol and melatonin. If you have a positive focus on your fundamentals of health and good hormonal balance, it should be easy to fall asleep and you should have no challenges staying asleep until morning.
So what helps us create this positive pattern? A big part of this is tied into hormonal balance. If you follow our newsletter regularly, you understand the importance of the adrenal glands and cortisol production. Most do not understand though that cortisol production and melatonin have a direct relation to each other. When cortisol goes up, melatonin goes down and when cortisol goes down, melatonin goes up. When melatonin increases, this sets you up to fall asleep easily, as well as allowing you to have uninterrupted sleep. This raise in melatonin also stimulates your body to initiate an increase immune systems response for your maintenance and repair.
So to address this let’s review what is setting up this positive pattern. Recognize the importance of having balanced adrenals since low cortisol at night is what raises night time melatonin. If this is not balanced, this will throw off your circadian rhythm all day and lead to even further adrenal imbalance. In my opinion too many individuals have been led to believe that the answer lies in supplementing with melatonin. This may provide some immediate relief but long term it may actual create further hormonal imbalances and long term insomnia.
Typically speaking what will lead to improving the circadian rhythms is to improve production of the neurotransmitter serotonin and/or the essential amino acid tryptophan. The flow to produce optimal melatonin is tryptophan, serotonin to melatonin. Often if you supplement with tryptophan and support serotonin production you can normalize your melatonin production and improve your circadian rhythm. This in turn can help balance your adrenal function and make life much easier if you are using a proper protocol per your adrenal imbalance.
Obviously, it will be helpful to reduce stress, get out in the sun daily and “shut down” about an hour before bedtime.
Please “get” that a regular positive night’s sleep is so important. If you are not reaching this goal, please look for direction of a qualified natural health practitioner that understands these processes.
If you have any questions or comments on this post, please leave your comment below and I will personally address this.