Energy Zapped

Posted by Mourad Jabbour On Wednesday, April 3, 2013 0 comments

SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common problem for many this time of year. Here is some biological science behind why your energy is lower in November-February.
Circadian Rhythms or daily rhythms are the body's adrenal response to dawn, mid day and dusk. Your body produces stress hormones along with other neuro exciting hormones upon waking. The hormones Cortisol and DHEA must have a proper relationship in order to have a healthy immune system, metabolism and feeling of good energy. Let's say that restoring the body in the sleep cycle is critical to the production and regulation of these hormones. Other factors that affect the balance of these two major players are diet, environmental stress, emotional stress and any other exposure to stress including exercise or lack of.
If the body struggles to produce energy or expend energy then some stress or imbalance is adversely affecting the balance of these hormones.
So, in order to have proper energy at this time of year, you must sleep and wake according to the light cycles of the season.
The eyes and brain respond to natural light. It's imperative that you wake up and get exposed to natural light despite the cold or clouds. If the brain doesn't get this light exposure then the production of Cortisol and DHEA are impaired. Similarly, if you only get unnatural light exposure then the brain doesn't have a true sense for the time of the day. Remember, the secretion of these hormones is light dependent.
Additionally, neurotransmission is an additional factor that occurs when diet and sleep are respected. I often test for neurotransmitter deficiency.
Dusk and sleep time are also light dependent. It's natural to begin to feel lower energy around 4:30pm in the northern hemisphere/NYC or even earlier the more north you go. Your body's cortisol production should subside gradually to allow a parasympathetic dominance to occur. The body is moving toward a rest and digest state and does very well with a larger meal and less light in the evening. This enables a rise in Melatonin that causes you to feel sleepy. It's not good to fight it or induce an unnatural loop by forcing the body to stay awake by getting more light, caffeine or stressful exercise
If you respect this then you should begin to restore energy balance naturally unless you have Adrenal Dysfunction.
Here are my top list of Energy Zappers
1. Poor digestion and poor diet. The quality of food and the timing of the meals
2. Too much unnatural light exposure. Indoors all day and no Mid Day sunlight.
3. Waking and sleeping with unnatural light at the wrong times. ie. November bedtime 12am-6am.
4. Less than 8hrs sleep or the wrong 8hr pattern. 12am-8am is not healthy and less sleep is worse.
5. Caffeine consumption. The timing and amount affect the extra production of cortisol. If too much is secreted then the body begins to experience an energy level of a later time of day. It pushes your clock forward thereby upsetting the natural rhythm. However, when consumed in small amounts and not on an empty stomach then the cortisol affect is less severe. Everybody's sensitivity to caffeine can vary so this doesn't apply as severely to some. If you have trouble sleeping and drink caffeine then it's worth experimenting.
6. Poor timing of exercise. Training in the dark is not normal. We are nocturnal to a small degree. It's normal to exercise at night in July 6-8pm but not in January.
7. Trying to multitask and be overly productive in the Autumn and Winter. Computer and TV watching.
8. Medication usage as well as sleeping pills. Most meds affect the body's rhythms.
9. Alcohol consumption in amounts that affect sleep.
10. Anything causing you to wakeup at night or relieve your bladder. You need deep restful sleep.
Finally. we are human. A rationalization for lack of sleep will result in health problems like weight gain, inability to lose weight, high inflammation that can be dangerous to your organs, muscle and joints, poor neural regeneration leading to poor coordination and poor hormonal restoration leading to hormone imbalance that affect mood, body weight, libido, general wellbeing, immunity, appetite and energy.
So if you want to kill cravings and balance your body then balance your body naturally with sleep.


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