Sleep-Wake Cycle

By Michelle Owen

Sleep and Maintaining A Good Body Clock

Each of us has an internal body clock called the Suprachaismatic Nucleus that regulates our daily sleep-wake patterns. This is often referred to as the “Body Clock” and it governs the release and timing of most mood, energy and sleep related hormones.

The body clock is dependant on light signals to function properly each day, dawn and dusk allows us to know when wake up or go to sleep.

For many people their lifestyles, living conditions, work, health and other conditions don’t allow them to get the correct sleep-wake signals anymore.

When we don’t get these correct signals, our sleep – wake patterns suffer and this can develop into a sleep disorder. When we have disrupted sleep patterns our body becomes stressed from the release of hormones at incorrect times in the day.

Good quality sleep gives the body a chance to repair, recover and heal.

  • We get our physiological recovery between 10pm and 12am
  • We get our psychological and nervous system recovery between 2am and 6am.

If you are getting into bed at 12pm on a regular basis it means that you are missing two hours a night of your physical recovery. This can result in all sorts of aches pains and niggles that will simply not get better.

When our bodies are healthy we can get away with the odd late night here or there without affecting us too much. However, when we abuse our sleep times on a regular basis, this becomes a major stress to the body, upsetting hormonal balance and causing adrenal fatigue. When the body is under stress of any sort, the immune system suffers…THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS!

But what if my sleeping patterns are due to my job?

Sometimes we cannot change our sleeping situation, for example, shift workers or parents with new babies. In these situations it is important to look after yourself in all other areas of your life to reduce overall load, that’s where the Six Foundation Life Principles come in.

Our daily sleep-wake patterns are called circadian rhythms. ‘Circadian‘ is Latin for ‘about a day‘. If you struggle with sleep, a circadian rhythm disorder is probably a factor. The body clock uses signals like sunlight and darkness to know when to produce the active hormones and when to shut them down and release the night time withdrawal and sleep hormones.

Our bodies crave and need regularity in all areas of our lives and this is not just related to sleep. Our bodies thrive when we have regular eating, sleeping, hydration, exercise and other important life principles. If we have the required regularity then our system will be in time with our body clock. When we lose the regularity that our system needs them we suffer in many areas.

Things that inhibit sleep

Many things can disrupt our sleep-wake cycles:

  • Working late in bright lights (especially fluorescent)
  • Electromagnetic stress from computers
  • TVs flickering
  • Training at high intensities late in the evening
  • Coffee
  • Energy drinks
  • Sweet desserts
  • And more!

In addition, alcohol and sugar can both make you crash to sleep but then wake later in the night through a drop in blood sugar level, to find yourself tossing and turning in the early hours and feeling hungry.

Toxicity in the body is also a common thing today as people eat more and more processed foods, bad fats, food colourings and preservatives.

Entrainment is another factor. People can retrain a sleep pattern with in 7 to 21 days. For example if you stay up till midnight for three weeks in a row your internal body clock will be trained to wait till midnight to start Cortisol reduction. This means melatonin, the sleep recovery and repair hormone kick in very late and you will be robbed of recovery time. Over time this can lead to chronic fatigue, adrenal stress, suppressed immune function and poor or impaired physiological repair resulting in aches pains and niggles.

Did you know…

When you get up in the night and switch on a light your sleep-wake centre will think the light is dawn and it will release Cortisol, serotonin and other alertness hormones. This diminishes the melatonin (sleep hormone) and makes it difficult to resume your sleep.You get back into bed and you try to get back to sleep. Your body has gone into wake-up mode and this is why many people have trouble getting back to sleep.

Sleeping In The Day

If you have to sleep during the day I recommend that you always wear an eye mask and make the room as dark as possible. This will reduce the amount of light filtering through eye lids and assist in a better quality of nap or sleep.

By doing this you will get a far better quality of sleep and you will wake up feeling a lot more refreshed than if you try to sleep without one.

Tips to assist you in getting good quality sleep:

As the evening goes you can assist with the reduction of Cortisol (stress hormone) from your body and increase melatonin (sleep hormone). There are many ways to do this and everyone will have something different that appeals to them. Some of these are:

  • A hot relaxing bath
  • Dim the lights
  • Candles
  • Massage
  • Deep diaphragmatic breathing
  • Meditation
  • Soft music
  • Positive reading

As well as these, the following tips are helpful:

  • It is healthy for your sleep cycle if you do not go to bed with either a full or on an empty stomach.
  • Eating a correct snack for your Metabolic Type will help greatly with the quality of your sleep.
  • If you have a busy mind try writing your thoughts in a journal to get them out instead of them racing around in your head while trying to sleep.

Sleep well.

Information resourced from “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!” by Paul Chek, available from www.hqh.com

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.

www.michelleowen.co.nz

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Sweet Enough to Kill

By Michelle Owen

Sugar. Sweet enough to kill you slowly.

Many people are eating sugar on a daily basis without even realising it. Sugar is hidden or camouflaged in many foods that are promoted as healthy, such as:

  • Modern breakfast cereals
  • Processed juices
  • Processed yoghurts
  • White bread
  • Milk products
  • Muesli bars

However many of these “shelf” products are overloaded with sugar, it is simply hidden on the label – instead coming under many different names.

The average food label lists higher quantity ingredients first. When it comes to sugar though, many food manufacturers break it down into different sugars so that each individual sugar appears further down the list and the sugar content does not look so daunting. This is done knowing that the average person does not know all the different names of sugar!

Be aware: Anything with “ose” on the end, e.g. fructose, lactose, sucrose, ribose, glucose…is sugar!

But why all the fuss about sugar?

When carbohydrates, (sugars), are eaten in any form without an adequate mix of quality proteins and fats to stabilise blood sugar levels, many things can happen within the body.

As we eat sugar we experience a rise in blood sugar levels. As this occurs the adrenal glands release insulin to clear the blood sugar from the system. This can result in a crash in blood sugar and then energy. If this is happening on a regular basis it is very hard for our system to maintain stable energy within the body. Over time this can lead to health issues such as:

  • Body fat storage
  • Stressed adrenal glands
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Type II diabetes
  • Gout
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Thrush infections
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suppressed immune function.

And the list goes on!

Perception vs. Reality

People perceive that they are eating healthily when they have their low fat, packaged cereals or toast with jam and juice for breakfast. Unfortunately, if we break all of this down we find that it is predominantly simple sugars. You cannot possibly generate good energy from these types of foods!

Balance is Essential

No matter what a person’s Metabolic Type or age, it is very important to maintain a correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils with every meal and snack. Doing this will work to maintain blood sugar in a controlled fashion. Unfortunately, many people begin their days with a breakfast consisting of sugar. One of the biggest concerns here is our children who are going to school hyped up on sugar, resulting in a decrease in attention and an increase in hyperactivity disorders.

When we look at the fact that one-teaspoon of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to 4 hours, we begin to understand how this can cause havoc within the body over time. What many do not realise however is that healthy items like dates, raisins, bananas, or other foods also have a very high sugar content (glycemic index), and when eaten alone without fats, oils and proteins, they can actually have the same effect as refined sugar. Although they carry nutritional value, they can still be very disruptive to the hormonal system of the body.

It is extremely important for your health to know how to properly food combine to stabilise blood sugar levels. This creates steady energy not only for your body but also for your brain function and mood. Sugar makes the body acid! When the body becomes acid the PH levels and many hormones become disrupted.

Fungal and Parasitic Infections.

Long-term consumption of sugar in any form will lead to poor health. As our health deteriorates our vitality decreases. Our internal environment shifts to a point where our body is now a good place for fungal infections and parasite infections to live. Both of these live and thrive on sugar and as you continue to eat it, even if it perceived as healthy, these organisms will flourish in your system.

Common problems that occur when somebody has a fungal infection are dandruff, vaginal yeast infections, athlete’s foot, jock itch, just to name a few! People with intestinal parasite infections are usually under-nourished and weak, infected with viral, fungal, or bacteria, and have various types of chemical and metal poisoning.

Human intestinal parasites can be present in any disease, in any person, at any age. They are responsible for many health problems because they secrete toxins and steal the vital nutrients from our bodies. They can irritate or exaggerate other health problems you may be experiencing. Everyone is at risk and under their mercy during parasitic infections.

We create the perfect living environment for parasites and for the feeding of fungal infections when the bowel becomes ineffective in the elimination of our waste products. The build-up of faecal material on the walls of the colon is attributed to constipation and the amounts of junk food, chemicals, bad fats and sweets we consume.

To clear this type of infection an anti fungal diet must be followed. This includes eliminating all sugars, fruits, and below ground vegetables because of their high sugar content. Concentrate on good quality meat, chicken, fish and above ground vegetables. Eating right for your metabolic type is very important.

CHEK Points on Sugar

Read product labels for sugars that end in “ose” and avoid these. These include:

  • Fructose, lactose, sucrose, ribose, glucose. Look and purchase foods that say “100% Sugar Free”
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners as this tricks the brain. Stevier is a good natural alternative if you require a sweetener.
  • Avoid soft drinks, they are all sweet and fizzy.
  • Use seasonal fruits and berries to sweeten food.
  • Purchase whole foods, organic meats and vegetables
  • Keep away from processed foods!

Information resourced from “You Are What You Eat” CD series and “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!” both by Paul Chek www.hqh.com

Michelle Owen
Michelle is a C.H.E.K Practitioner Level 3 and CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3. With a successful studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Michelle works as a Postural and Wellness Specialist, Lifestyle Coach and Practitioner. She also offers onsite Corporate Wellness Seminars and has spoken for a number of corporate companies including Hyatt Regency, Kensington Swan and ANZ Bank. As a Key Note Speaker, Michelle is passionate about bringing the CHEK principles to people everywhere.

www.michelleowen.co.nz

Autumn Immune Booster Salad

Triple A Salad

This week’s recipe is brought to you by our Nutrition Specialist, Jo Rushton

Triple “A” is such a great Autumn salad to boost the immune system and metabolism, full of good fats and much more!

Avocado is rich in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps to lower cholesterol, helps to protect the liver and does wonders to support your skin.

Asparagus is bursting with goodness such as Iron, Magnesium and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Manganese and Selenium.

Artichokes are a good source of Vitamin C, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate and Manganese.

The Recipe:

  • 2 bunches of Asparagus
  • 1 large Avocado – diced
  • 2 medium sized fresh Artichokes – prepared by peeling back the outer leaves and boiling until tender. Refresh with ice cold water and put to one side.
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp Organic Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Method:

  1. Steam and refresh asparagus and cut on an angle in half.
  2. Prepare, cook and quarter artichoke if using fresh.
  3. Combine the olive oil lemon juice and seasoning together.
  4. Combine asparagus, avocado and artichokes together in a bowl and fold in the dressing
  5. Serve on a platter.

Jo Rushton
Jo Rushton is a professional chef, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3 and CHEK Exercise Coach. She offers a multidimensional approach to health, fitness and wellbeing, combining her skills and knowledge from the CHEK Program, and combining it with her own wisdom and truth that has evolved over a decade of searching for health, empowerment and inner peace.

www.6wisdoms.com

Pate – the Superfood!

Chicken Liver Pate

We often think of pate as a sinful indulgence.  It’s not.  Pate is simply chocked full of essential nutrients such as:

  • Iron for healthy blood
  • Folate for healthy cell regeneration and protection from heart disease
  • B12 for a healthy nervous system
  • Vitamin B6 for healthy hormones and protein metabolism
  • Vitamin A for healthy eyes, skin and respiratory tract
  • Zinc for healthy skin and immune system
  • Protein for growth, repair and regeneration
  • Choline for healthy nerves and muscles
  • Cholesterol (yes cholesterol IS an essential ‘nutrient’, without it there’d be no estrogen, progesterone or testosterone, you’d have leaky cells and you wouldn’t be able to store memories or make myelin which protects your nerves.  If your cholesterol is high you need to find out why YOUR liver is producing more than it should.  Your liver makes 80% of the cholesterol found in your body, 10% is made in your digestive tract and 5% in your skin.  Only 5-10% comes from dietary sources.  FYI breast milk contains more cholesterol than any other food)

How to use it:

Try it on toast for breakfast (makes better brain food than honey on toast and most kids love it…provided you don’t tell them what it’s made from!).  It also makes a great mid-afternoon snack with some raw organic carrot sticks.

Most pates these days is made from margarine instead of butter, which you’ll know from previous email newsletters, makes the top 10 unhealthy food list due to trans fats and other nasty rancid fats.  Margarine is cheap and nasty.  By making your own you can use organic chicken livers and organic butter and enjoy it with complete peace of mind.

The Recipe:

Always an open heart filled with gratitude and love compulsory!

  • 500 gr organic chicken livers
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 slices of bacon (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 250r organic butter
  • 100 ml of white wine (optional)
  • Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon, or parsley (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat 50 gr butter in pan; add onion garlic and sauté for 1 minute add bacon and livers sauté till opaque. Add herbs if selected. Add white and reduce to just a moist consistency. Let cool.
  2. Transfer to blender, add remaining butter and blend till smooth.
  3. Transfer to glass container and refrigerate.
  4. Additional melted butter can be drizzled over the top to preserve color and help to keep the pate from forming a skin on top.

This week’s recipe is brought to you by our Nutrition Specialist, Jo Rushton

Jo Rushton   www.6wisdoms.com
Jo Rushton is a professional chef, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level 3 and CHEK
Exercise Coach. She offers a multidimensional approach to health, fitness and wellbeing, combining her skills and knowledge from the CHEK Program, and combining it with her own wisdom and truth that has evolved over a decade of searching for health, empowerment and inner peace.