Part 7: Reducing Sleep Cycle Interruptions.
Each category that we’ve covered on Biohacking sleep has touched on reducing sleep interruptions but more specifically we want to reduce sleep cycle interruptions. An inconsistent sleep schedule can impact mood, concentration, weight, and of course cell recovery. In referencing sleep cycles you often hear about your internal clock or the circadian rhythm, simply put, this tells your body when to sleep and wake up. Not managing your sleep cycles for optimum uninterrupted length can hurt your overall health and leave you performing less than your potential.
Increased activity of the central nervous system is the main culprit causing negative performance on your sleep cycles, they cause reduced time spent on REM and deep sleep cycles, create more wake moments throughout the sleep schedule, and often reduce the sleep time. All of which have a direct impact on performance and recovery, and leading to more emotions of anxiety over happiness.
Tips to Managing Your Sleep Cycle:
Managing an optimal sleep cycle involves creating an ultimate sleep environment. There are some integral aspects of your sleep environment that will affect your circadian rhythm that you need to address for an optimal sleep cycle.
- -Elimination of blue light from electronics and energy-efficient light bulbs, as light has a powerful effect on your circadian rhythm.
- -Maintaining clean, non-toxic air quality in the sleep environment is critical to not overworking the central nervous system.
- -Thermoregulation is key to inducing longer sleep cycles and longer sleep times.
- -Make a routine. Our systems run best when it can anticipate its schedule. Start at least an hour before your planned bedtime by shutting down tv, phone, tablet, and dim the lights. Or, if some electronics are a must, try wearing blue-light-blocking glasses for that last hour before sleep.
- -Avoid daytime napping, focus on fully restorative sleep and you will not need naps.
- -Try to maintain the same bedtime and wake time, a regular routine will train your brain to anticipate the schedule and prepare your body for this. This will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
UNDERSTANDING CIRCADIAN RHYTHMN
The molecular circadian clock regulates thousands of genes throughout the brain and body, providing coordination of a broad range of processes including metabolism, immune function, and DNA repair. This is why this is so vital to wellness. Disrupting sleep rhythms is associated with a wide range of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and psychiatric disorders. This plays a critical role in the regulation of normal brain processes.
According to the National Institute of Health, recent studies have suggested a critical role of the circadian system in several disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, stress regulation, eating disorders, drug addiction, and alcoholism, as well as age-related cognitive deficits including Alzheimer's disease. The association of circadian rhythm disruption with cognitive function, mood, immune system disruption, and metabolism in shift workers, as well as people with mood disorders, provides further evidence for the effects of circadian disruption on synaptic plasticity. This research area is at the interface of neuroscience, cell biology, endocrinology, and psychiatry. Despite the evidence that circadian rhythms are involved in the coordination of several neural processes and in turn behaviors.
It is all connected and managing sleep, specifically managing sleep cycles is at the core or the hub for overall wellness and elevated performance. It is the fountain of youth and the recharge that is needed. Solving sleep issues is the foundation to building positive life outcomes.