Anxiety & Sleep
It’s surprising just how many people put up with poor quality sleep. It is often the first frontier of health to show signs of stress, as the nervous system is the portal to melatonin (sleep neurotransmitter). Despite the obvious importance of a good night’s rest, it seems like this part of our health routine is considered a flexible commodity by many. But nothing could be further from the truth. Traditional Chinese Medicine has taught us about the meridian body clock, whereby each of the 12 meridian systems is most active over a 2 hour segment. It just so happens, the detoxification systems (digestion, lungs and liver) are most active overnight. Liver congestion is the most common pattern I see clinically, disturbing sleep between 1am and 3am.
The parasympathetic nervous system (Rest & Digest state) enjoys the longest extended period to execute the majority of our house-keeping functions during sleep. The list of activities to execute each night is extensive and many of them take hours of inactive rest before they can begin and require uninterrupted processes to be completed. Some of the notable ones are; cellular autophagy, migrating motor complex (digestive cleansing wave), phase 2 liver detoxification, hormone recycling, muscular repair and growth, memory processing and lymphatic drainage. Sleeping less than 8 hrs, delaying sleep until after 10pm or any disturbance during the night will abbreviate these vital operations & will incur an accumulative load over many years. Shift workers are at most risk and need to compensate these nocturnal duties with additional support and clean living.