Two clear reasons why our sleep cycles change as we age.

How circadian rhythms work.

Our sleep-wake cycle would normally follow the sun. As the sun rises and the temperature gets warmer we wake up. As the sun sets, core body temperature falls, and we produce a hormone called melatonin to promote sleep. This daily cycle is known as our circadian rhythm, this is managed by the master clock in the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Located in the hypothalamus, the SCN tells our body when to sleep, when to eat, and when to be the most active, based on cues such as light and temperature.

Circadian rhythms change throughout our lifetime, from middle age they shift half an hour every decade. This change means from 60 to 65 we perform mental tasks better in the morning and start to become sleepy in the late afternoon. There has been research that has shown circadian rhythm timing in older adults, can be more delicate, often leading to disrupted sleep if they do not sleep within certain times..

Two reasons circadian rhythms change with age.

  • Studies on mice have shown that the SCN becomes weaker with age. This leads to less pronounced fluctuation in our circadian rhythm, which in turn will produce less melatonin at night, hence older adults may have less of a distinction between being asleep and awake, resulting in sleeping less soundly at night and experiencing more tiredness throughout the day.
  • Light is the critical part in regulating our circadian rhythms. There have been many studies researching how light exposure changes as we age. As our eyes age, they do not let as much light in, also we may spend more time in weak artificial light, which is not as effective at regulating our circadian rhythm. After people have had cataract surgery, they often report better sleep, because more light is getting into the eyes.

Coping with these changes.

Older people still need the recommended 7-9 hours sleep. Sleep deprivation can make you tired, confused, and even depressed, symptoms which may be mistaken for dementia or other disorders. While it’s normal to experience sleep problems as you age, severe changes to your circadian rhythm may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Also, during deep sleep, toxins are flushed from the brain particularly the amyloid plaque. Amyloid plaque build-up is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is very hard to fight the natural cycles of our bodies, although we all try. If it is possible to change your sleeping pattern to an earlier time, you may have more sound sleep and get more deep sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is also helpful.

Getting more light during the day may help you sleep better. If you are a night person try not to get too much light in the morning hours, take your walk or time in the sun in the evening. You could also use light therapy later in the day. This may help delay the melatonin release and make your body think your bedtime is later.

I will begin a course of meditations to help people sleep starting 12th January 2023 at 8pm. Cost £35 if paid on or before the 12th of January or £10 per session.

In the new year I will also have a course you can buy to help with sleeping.

Sign up for my newsletter to receive regular updates and download one of my e-books about ChakrasMeditation TipsInner Child or Skincare

Are you struggling with sleep? Would you like help to sleep well?

by Soul Essence New Eltham

We spend a third of our lives sleeping, yet so many of us struggle to sleep well.  Poor sleep affects every part of our life, from our cognitive ability, sleepless nights leads to 40% less memory storage, weight loss, dieting is affected because our hormones become unbalance, deprived of sleep we lose muscle not fat. Even our immune function is affected, we have a 70% drop-in immune cell activity, after a night of poor sleep. It is said “we are not healthy, if our sleep is not healthy”.

Did you know only 200 years ago before artificial light, Biphasic sleep was common practice? This is the practice of sleeping during two periods over the course of 24 hours making up seven to nine hours sleep, people went to bed at sunset and woke in the early hours 1 and 2 am and were fully awake for approximately an hour, this time was spent praying, interpreting dreams, engaged in sexual activity, writing books and poems, sometimes visiting neighbours, and even milking cows. They would then go back to sleep and get up at sunrise. Now with artificial light, office jobs, and shift work we sleep using a monophasic routine of one approximate 8-hour block of sleep.

If you are someone who wakes up in the early hours wide awake, perhaps your circadian rhythm prefers the Biphasic sleep pattern.  Try getting up and doing something relaxing for an hour reading a book (not on a screen) yoga, or meditating, maybe if you find ironing relaxing or another quiet housework chore you could do these. Then after an hour return to bed and go to sleep. This takes the stress away from looking at the ceiling and feeling guilty because you can’t sleep. Your insomnia may be as simple as accepting this hour or two of wakefulness, put it to good use and then go back to bed. You may need to change the time you go to bed so you can still get 7 to 8 hours sleep.

Using your breath to relax your parasympathetic nervous system.

The parasympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system balances your sympathetic nervous system. While your sympathetic nervous system controls your body’s “fight or flight” response, your parasympathetic nervous system helps to control your body’s response during times of rest.

One breathing exercise which is very good for relaxation is coherent breathing. Breathing in for 5 to 6 seconds and breathing out for 5 to 6 seconds. This gives us the exact 5 to 6 breaths a minute. This is a healthy breathing rate, doing this for 20 minutes a day has many benefits. If you can get your breath to leave a stressed state the other parts of your autonomic nervous system will follow, creating a reaction that will help to reduce stress, anxiety, and related health issues, including insomnia and lack of sleep.

There are many breathing exercises to help you relax so you can sleep.

Many of these will be shown and discussed on my package of meditations to help people sleep starting 12th January 2023 at 8pm. Cost £35 on the 12th of January or £10 per session.

In the new year I will also have a course you can buy to help with sleeping.

Sign up for my newsletter to receive regular updates and download one of my e-books about ChakrasMeditation TipsInner Child or Skincare

5 Reasons to meditate and reduce your stress and anxiety.

By Soul Essence New Eltham

Clears your mind.

Meditation helps clear all the jumbled thoughts we constantly have in our heads, possibly causing overload and stress. By meditating, we can relax and focus on the guided meditation or feel and acknowledge our worries, painful memories, thoughts, and emotions and help them dissipate. You can also find the underlying cause of your anxiety.

Relaxation.                                                                                               

Meditation helps you focus on your breathing; by slowing your breathing and using your belly to breathe, you start to relax. Once our bodies start to relax, we feel less stressed and anxious.

Helps you focus.

Firstly, most meditations focus on the breath or a person’s voice for part of the time. If your mind wanders or thoughts come, let them go and bring your focus back to the breath or voice each time. The more you do this the longer you are able to focus before thoughts enter your mind. The more regularly you meditate, the better your ability to focus will become. This will help you be more productive and less stressed.

Helps you sleep better.

Problems with sleep are often due to stress. Stress can cause tension, worry and anxiety, making it hard to fall asleep. By meditating before bed, you will feel more relaxed and calmer, making it easier to get to sleep and improving the quality of your sleep.

Being present in the now.

Living in the past can cause stress and anxiety. We need to remember the past cannot be changed; we can only learn from past experiences. The future has not happened, and we can only change the future by what we do NOW. Therefore, we often feel unhappy, stressed and anxious. We may not even realise it, however constantly living in the past and future can make you feel tired and out of touch with yourself. Meditation can help you stay present and focus on the present moment.

We have a course of meditations to help reduce stress and anxiety, starting Thursday 1st September 2022. The course will be fortnightly at 8 pm.  The cost is £45 for all six sessions or £10 on the night. To check dates click here

Book a session now!

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Get Enough Sleep to Help Reduce Your Pain

Restful Sleep Reduces Pain and Inflammation

Getting enough sleep can help reduce your pain, improve your quality of life and help you overcome diseases

Not only is sleep a fundamental human need, but it is also a necessity for people who experience aches or pains of any kind and should never be taken for granted. Sleep is so important, we naturally fall asleep when our body tells our brain that certain essential chemicals have been depleted and our muscles and ligaments are tired and in need of restoration.

The growing problem is that many of us rely on stimulants like coffee, tea and sodas to force ourselves to stay awake and continue working. We, therefore, stay up too late, get up too early, and continue to consume unhealthy amounts of toxic substances – night after night after night. For the better part of our adult lives, many of us are both sick AND tired through constantly starving our bodies of sleep.

Lack of sleep causes:

  • poor concentration,
  • slower reaction times,
  • decreased performance levels,
  • less ability to learn and compartmentalize new skills and knowledge,
  • more frequent memory lapses,
  • increases in simple injuries and accidents,
  • adverse changes in moods and behaviours,
  • increased frequency of headaches,
  • neck and shoulder pain, backaches,
  • fatigue
  • overload of toxic consumption.

This happens because during restful sleep our body is actually working to repair itself. The liver purifies the blood, the muscles repair, serotonin increases. Without ample sleep, these things do not happen at optimal levels. Our biological clock expects sleep to take over during the evening hours. We are genetically programmed to get up and lie down with the sun. It was the invention of artificial sources of light (candles and bulbs) that began our stressed-out drive for more working hours at the expense of much-needed rest.

What’s the big deal, you ask?

There is always, coffee, caffeine pills, cat naps, life is good getting by on only a few hours sleep per night. Well, not really. Did you know that in clinical tests rats die within a few weeks of sleep deprivation? Chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, attention deficit disorder, chronic migraine and headache, body aches and pain, mental illness, depression and anxiety are all in part caused – or made worse – by lack of sleep. And lack of sleep causes lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, placing you at risk for depression and suicidal thoughts.

https://amzn.to/2JlrgWp

 

This information is based on information taken from Arthritis Reversed: Groundbreaking 30-Day Arthritis Relief Action Plan.

Click on the image to go to Amazon to buy the book

 

 

My next post will be about Insomnia