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Sleep & Muscle Repair - part 2

Posted May 20 2010 12:12pm
Welcome back to the second part of Sleep & Muscle Repair .

In yesterday's blog I presented startling information stating that our bodies go through physical repair from 10 PM to 2 AM.

The catch... we need to be ASLEEP during this timeframe to gain the optimal levels of repair.

If not, we diminish the process.

Since only those sucking their thumb and watching Law & Order get to bed by 10 PM, many of us have questions surrounding this statement.

As I alluded to in yesterday's post, we can get the answer from the cavemen.

In today's modern society we see the caveman everywhere at all times of day - doing TV interviews, cruising on their 'hogs', talking to their therapist, even on a moving walkway...

But that was not the case back in the caveman day!

Before thousands of artificial light sources were available (fire included) humans followed the circadian cycle.

Within this natural physiological cycle of about 24 hours, they also followed natural sleep/wake cycles.

Which are all associated with light.

Many of our hormones are produced in tune with the cycle of the sun.

Whenever light stimulates your skin or eyes, regardless of the source, your brain and hormonal system think it's morning. 

In response to this light, you naturally release cortisol - a nasty stress hormone if not regulated.

As the sun rises, our cortisol levels rise and peak between 6 AM and 9 AM to prepare our bodies for work, movement, and back then - survival!

These elevated levels maintain until about midday and then lower.

In the afternoon, cortisol levels begin dropping significantly, especially as the sun goes down.

Decreasing cortisol levels allow the release of melatonin and increase the levels of growth and repair hormones.

If we follow our natural sleep/wake cycles, we start winding down as the sun sets and should fall asleep by about 10 PM.

But we don't do that, do we?!

We have all types of light stimulants ON - TV, computers, fluorescent lights, movies, sporting events, etc.

This screws up our physical and muscle repair.

Come back tomorrow for the final part of Sleep & Muscle Repair for recommendations on optimizing this repair through sleep.

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