For Wellness, Sleep is not Negotiable

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A man having a sound sleep. Image source: Stock Photo

In wellness, we acknowledge that sleep is a part of the normal healthy design of the body by our creator. We define wellness as his perfection and our starting point. In other words, Wellness is a perspective on our health that gives reverence to the source of our being. Which simply implies that everything God created is perfect.

All creatures God created have a sleep and wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythm. This means that in His perfection, there is a time to be awake and a time to sleep. Now, let’s explore this with sleep. The circadian rhythm rules the world. And, the more you exist in alignment with that circadian rhythm, the more health you enjoy.

What is the normal sleep pattern for humans? Let’s start with a discussion on the natural cue for sleep. Sunset is when the sun goes down, or when the moon starts to come up. That’s when a lot of mammals find their quiet spot to sleep. That was when ancient man, before the era of electricity and light bulbs, went to sleep.

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Biochemically, a hormone called melatonin begins to rise in the blood from about 7 pm. By 10 pm to 2 am melatonin has reached its peak. That’s when the human body should be totally fast asleep. By about 4 am, melatonin levels are dropping and dropping to the point where it’s almost negligible, making room for another hormone called cortisol, which is the “wakeful hormone”.

Once you understand that the body’s natural sleep timing is led by melatonin levels, and is in alignment with our circadian rhythm, which is in alignment with the sun setting and the moon rising, then that is what a man is supposed to do.

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Here is the wahala or trouble. Today, we violate those laws. Work schedule, transport issues, finances, using our phones, social media and watching TV are a few causes of the violation. The body is very forgiving if you do this once in a while. But if you continue with this pattern, a debt occurs, a sleep debt, also called sleep deprivation. The longer and the more chronic this occurs, the more you knock out your circadian rhythm. The longer the violation of your circadian rhythm occurs, the closer you draw illness and poor health.

“The further you stray away from Mother Nature, The sooner she says, Return to sender.” This quotation comes to light regarding our sleep behaviour. If you violate the rules of nature, you pay a price. Thus, if you desire your health and wellness back in all arenas of life – nutrition, lifestyle, mental health, spirituality, and even the environment – get back in alignment with nature or understand how nature works.

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Be in bed, latest 10 pm; if possible, by 9 pm. Between 10 pm and 4 am, let your body be in that deep restorative rest. In the next write-up, I will explain what happens when you sleep.

What happens to your body, when your melatonin level rises normally? What happens to the body when you get adequate sleep? And what happens to the body biochemically and hormonally when you fail to get enough sleep? We will consider these shortly. (Continues next edition…)

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