Sleep is a basic principle of good health and well-being and integral to the body’s healing system. A lack of sleep deprives the body of essential energy and cell restoration, which then creates a less than desirable state of health. When in this suboptimal state, the body is subject to dysfunction, is thrown out of balance, and results in poor health.
In both instances of chronic pain and fatigue conditions, sleep disturbances are common. In some cases, lack of sleep precedes the illness and in others sleep deprivation is the result of the disease. In both cases, however, correcting the body’s circadian rhythm and restoring quality sleep is essential for healing.
The circadian rhythm is a 24-hr internal clock that facilitates much of the body’s internal functions in conjunction with external environmental factors. Things like late bedtimes, working grave shifts, and eating at unusual hours go against the body’s natural rhythm and can disrupt a number of internal activities, resulting in poor health. Supporting one’s natural circadian rhythm is paramount for anyone struggling with any health issue because essential processes in the body occur in sleep. Neurogenesis being one of the most the important activities that happens in sleep. New neurons are produced, old ones replaced, and pathways are created in order to restore the central nervous system.
So how do you promote good health and fall in step with your body’s clock? Start by following a regular sleep schedule. Most people do best by going to sleep at 10 or 11 p.m. and waking up around 6 or 7 a.m. The body may require more sleep during winter months when less sunlight is available during the day.
Preparing for sleep is just as important as getting to bed on time. Melatonin starts to be produced two hours before sleep is assumed. One hour before retiring to bed, turn off electronics and read, meditate or take a magnesium salt bath. Finally, it is important to sleep in a dark, quiet room. If you can see your hand in front of your face, it is not dark enough.