Getting a Good Nights Sleep

How has your week been? I hope you have had a good start to the New Year. I came home from the beach yesterday for a couple of days and I’m heading back again on Thursday for a long weekend.  Our caravan is set up at gorgeous Barwon Heads until the end of January so I’m doing my best to make the most of it.    I’m not sure if you’re a fan of camping but I was listening to an interview on “The Evolution of Medicine” as I drove back yesterday and curiously enough they mentioned a study on the benefits of camping. Apparently it’s very beneficial for children with ADHD as it resets their body clock. I certainly find it slows me down and brings me back to being more mindful and connected to nature.  In terms of evolution, over the past 100 years the environment most human beings live in has changed dramatically. The food that we eat and our current lifestyle is so far removed from the environment that we evolved in that there is a serious mismatch between what our biology is adapted to and the environment we currently find ourselves in. It will take many more generations before our bodies adapt to thrive on coffee, donuts and stress. We may well become extinct while we’re waiting to adapt.    A study from the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado shows that camping outdoors without electronic devices, helped synchronize people’s internal body clock to solar time so that they went to bed at sunset and woke up just after sunrise.  This isn’t surprising really but the health implications are quite profound.    Our internal body clock is called the Circadian Rhythm. When we’re in a dark environment our body produces a hormone called Melatonin.  This hormone helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. When we’re exposed to light, either natural or artificial, Melatonin levels drop.  In nature we will get sleepy when it’s dark and we wake up when it gets light. The problem now that we’re so “civilised” is that we’re exposed to artificial light well past sunset. Most of us are chronically sleep deprived.  The light that we’re exposed to is often the blue light that’s emitted from TV and computer screens and this light frequency is particularly disruptive to our Melatonin production.

The role of Melatonin goes beyond getting us to sleep. Melatonin actually helps regulate many other hormones in our body and has an important role in protecting against cancer, cardiovascular disease, mood disorders and obesity and it helps support our immune system.  When our natural circadian rhythm is disrupted we’re at a higher risk of disease. In fact, after several years of disruption, flight attendants and shift workers both have a significantly increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. According to Natural Health Practitioner, Chris Kresser, the natural rhythm of light and dark literally effects every cell in our body. Chris says that “We are currently performing a huge society wide experiment” on the effect of artificial light on our health. This has only occurred in the past 100 years or so and as a species we are not adapting well. Not only is insomnia a huge health problem but all the other health and mental health issues that result from lack of sleep are on the increase.    Now the benefits of camping aren’t restricted to Melatonin production.  As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, when you’re in nature you’re exposed to a wide variety of beneficial microbes that support your immune system and boost your health. Apparently this can be as beneficial as taking probiotics.   You are also more likely to take walks or get exercise that you may not normally do. While you do you’re breathing clean, unpolluted air and taking in lots of negative ions. Nature is a great stress antidote.  Watching a campfire, a waterfall or a sunset is a beautiful way to go into a natural state of meditation.  Being barefoot on the earth or hugging a tree (if there’s a touch of Hippy in you) will literally ground your energy and clear away stresses like magic. Apparently just having a view of sky and greenery from a hospital room or office has been shown to improve health. If you don’t have a view then get a poster of a natural setting and put a pot plant on your desk.  So if you have a chronic health issue, if you are stressed or have a sleeping problem then it may be the result of “Nature Deprivation Disorder.”  Sometimes I jokingly recommend PicnicTherapy but maybe there’s far more to being in nature than we thought.   You might want to consider the following tips…

  1. Dim the lights after sunset
  2. Switch off the TV, iPad, computer etc. a good 2 hours before bedtime
  3. Go to bed earlier.  Sleeping for 8 to 9 hours a night is really good for you
  4. Go camping regularly to reset your body clock
  5. Have a “Digital Detox” at least one day a week – no emails, internet, Facebook etc.
  6. Learn to meditate – Our next course starts this Thursday at 7pm
  7. Spend time in nature

‘Preservationist, naturalist, and early advocate for the National Park system, John Muir, knew a thing or two about the relationship of our minds and bodies to the outdoors without modern distractions. Two of his many famous quotes say it all: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”’   Ref Also remember to book your place for our upcoming 3 Day Retreat: “Rebooting Your Life”  We are not camping but we will definitely be connecting with nature and getting plenty of sleep.  This exclusive Retreat is designed to detox your mind, body and soul in luxury accommodation at Ocean Grove.  Take a look HERE for more details or to book online.    You might also want to take a look at our Term 1 Classes and workshops 15th Jan Thurs 7pm – 5 Week Mindfulness Meditation with Kesang Wangmo 20th Jan Tues 7pm – 8.15pm Kundalini Yoga with Geoff Charles 21st Jan Wed 6.30pm – 9.30pm Dimensional Therapy Level 2 with Marcus Bird 24th Jan Sat Emotional Freedom Technique with Catharine Ross 29th Jan Thurs 7pm – 10pm – VIP Pamper Party 7th Feb Sat 10am-1pm – Introduction to Chakras Workshop with Kara Kovacs  That’s all for now.  Now take a look at the Right Hand Column for our upcoming events, classes and therapies. Please Note:  The prices of some of our therapies are increasing at the beginning of February.  Have a happy, healthy week, Warm Regards, Alison Burton pioneering the future of healthcare Simply Natural Therapies 41 Tunstall Square East Doncaster VIC 3109 03 9842 7033 TAKE OUR HEALTH ASSESSMENT TAKE OUR 30 DAY WATER CHALLENGE SIGN UP FOR OUR FREE HEALTHY PREGNANCY AND BIRTH TOOLKIT VIEW OUR WELLNESS WEBCAST  on our Secret Remedy for Health