living Paleo living healthily is taking care of your body with more than just food. Sleep is the cornerstone of health and fitness, and without it, you can’t have optimum health OR fitness. It’s the only time your body has to heal and repair all the damage that you have dealt it throughout the day. Extended periods of sleep depravation has an effect on the body similar to aging and the CDC has stated that shift work “that involves circadian disruption” is a carcinogen.
Let that sink in for a second
Cigarettes, Asbestos…disruption of the natural circadian rhythms. All considered to have an equal, cancer causing, damaging effect on the body. And the real bitch of a down side is that you can’t exercise or eat your way out of it. Exercise only exacerbates the negative feedback loop of sleep depravation, and at some point the system WILL force you to stop through sickness and potential death.
So let’s assume that you’ve just said to your self, “Self, I don’t think sickness, cancer or death are right for me,” and you’ve marked some time for a private meeting between you and your pillow for tonight…but eight hours is REALLY all you can offer, because, hey, you’re a pretty big deal.
- Turn off the lights
- No chemical interference
- Ok, maybe one thing to add – Magnesium
Seriously…pitch black, and no, those little eye shade thingies don’t work. Our bodies will respond to blue wave lengths of light through skin penetration alone (blind people have circadian rhythms too).
If you want your body to treat you well, treat it well. Caffeine and alcohol can destroy a good nights sleep. Both of these things interfere with either your ability to sleep well or completely (or both), and completely jack with your bodies ability to release the hormones it needs for healing and rejuvenation.
Magnesium has been shown to help the quality of sleep when taken immediately before bedon an empty stomach. Best in the form of Magnesium citrate (400mg) or ZMA (‘ware some funky dreams with this one at first – it happened to me and others have said it as well) and Robb Wolf also suggests a dash of melatonin if your schedule is seriously jacked.
Finally, for a much more in-depth look at sleep as it applies to our mental and physical health I highly recommend the book Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley. Also, check out Robb’s book for an excellent chapter on sleep, which has more depth, information and humor than mine.