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Sleep, One of the Crossfit Essentials

Along with Diet, and proper training (ie Crossfit), Sleep is one of the most important contributors to our health and Athletic Performance. The Machine has been reading a very interesting book that takes a whole new look at how sleep affects our hormonal balance. Pretty cool stuff. Read below for the full scoop. Personal Note: Costa Rica was awesome, and our surfing is now at a whole new level, look for a summer surf trip to Tofino. Can't wait to see you all at the "barn". PattyI recently read a really cool book called Lights out. It talks about the affect that artificial light and lack of sleep has on your body and it is pretty crazy how serious of an issue that it is. The book is over 300 pages long, but bellow I have attempted to highlight the main points to give you the gist of why adequate sleep needs to become a key part of your healthy lifestyle. Your body translates long hrs of artificial light into summer time. Because it instinctively knows that summer comes before winter and that winter means no available food, you begin to crave carbohydrates so you can store fat for a time when food is scarce & you should be hibernating. This storage is accomplished by: 1. increasing carbohydrate consumption until your body responds to all the insulin by becoming insulin resistant in muscle tissue; 2. ensuring carbohydrates taken end up as fat pads; 3. prompting the liver to dump the extra sugar into cholesterol production which will keep cell membranes from freezing at low temperatures. Sleep controls your appetite for carbohydrates, and the consumption of carbohydrates controls water retention (which changes your blood pressure and affects body weight) and insulin production (which facilitates cholesterol production). But the biggest problem with short night year-round, beyond appetite derangement, is that insulin will stay higher during the dark, when it should be flat, and cortisol falls so late it wont come up normally in the morning. This is a reversal of normal hormonal rhythms. You should wake up with elevated cortisol to deal with stress during the day. The reversal you’ve created by staying up late-making your insulin and cortisol stay high at night, when they should be low-continues into the daylight hours. The first symptom of melatonin overflow is needing an alarm to wake you up. When you have a melatonin “hangover” you’re still too sleepy to wake up even though morning light should suppress melatonin spontaneously. The real problem is that without a rise in cortisol, you have no dopamine. Your cortisol is not high enough to deal with stress during the day and even whack time perception. Without cortisol to enhance dopamine, the day seems to go too fast and depression and heart disease can occur. So if you have no sleep, you have no hormonal control which has damaging effects on your body. The minute you cut your carbohydrate intake down to less than 45 gram a day, you signal your entire endocrine system that famine and winter are coming and you unwind the clock. Reducing your carbohydrate consumption you will drop ten or so pounds of retained fluid, dropping your blood pressure and burning your fat base, a process that throws off ketones and reduce your serotonin too, so you’re not as paranoid and depressed. The blood pressure drop is a respite for your kidney function. But even if you stop eating carbohydrate, your cortisol, insulin, and your prolactin won’t drop to winter levels unless you sleep at least 9.5 hour a night, starting as close to dusk as possible. This means that long hour of artificial light alone, without massive carbohydrate consumption, can raise your blood pressure somewhat, because cortisol, which is always up when the lights are on, is part of your sympathetic nervous system control of blood pressure. So you’re really not out of the woods unless you increase your sleep. When this ancient clocking system kicks in, you crave the foods that will spike your insulin to create “resistance” to insulin in your muscles, so that you send all the energy to store as fat for the long famine you would endure in the real world. So in the hormonal state brought on by long hours of light, the urge to consume carbohydrates or drink alcohol to put on a fat base for upcoming winter becomes metabolically and psychologically impossible to resist. The sugars you crave send your insulin up to crate the insulin resistance you need to get fat. On your way to tubby, you convert all the carbohydrates you’ve eaten into cholesterol as VLDL, and you retain water, which alters your blood pressure. In order to control our appetite for carbohydrates to loose weight, bring insulin levels down, and stay sane and fertile we must sleep more. Machine Still want to know more?? ">Neurological institute on Sleep