Dr. V’s Sleep Challenge
Dr. David Vojtisek, ND
We have all heard ad nauseam how all-important it is to get our sleep. Most of us have also experienced what it feels like when we don’t.
As it turns out the process of sleep is extremely important for many of our bodies’ regulatory functions. Our internal organs need to decrease their activity in order to rejuvenate and repair themselves, our musculoskeletal system also needs to rest and repair, many important hormones are released and keep our internal clock (circadian clock) running accurately, and our immune system is also kept in balance and strengthened while we sleep. The intricate web of checks and balances and various feedback loops and control mechanisms related to sleep is beyond this article but I find one of the most important and perhaps easiest to perceive is the fact that the function of our adrenal glands corresponds very well to the amount, quality and TIMING of our sleep. Yes it is important to get 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night but also important is the time we get to sleep. This is in part due to the fact that our adrenal glands manufacture the majority of cortisol, needed for various daily body functions, between 10 PM and 2 AM.
And so Dr. Vojtisek challenges all of you to try this simple experiment, that is if you are not doing so already. For 7 nights get into bed around 9:30 and actually shut the light off by 10:00 PM, yes this will include one weekend! Over the week write down how you are feeling compared to when you get to bed later and/or at different, irregular hours of the night.
I look forward to hearing some of your comments.
Other factors that can improve sleep quality are: the bedroom should be totally dark and at 18 degrees Celcius or cooler, 1 hour prior to sleep it is best to avoid TV and computer screens of any kind and best to avoid heavy foods for at least 2 hours prior to bedtime.