Sleep…we all know how good it feels when we wake rested, and we all know (and I’m sure others do!) when we don’t.
Sleep is where all the magic happens, and I’m not talking about your dreams. Sleep is a natural homeostatic process that involves many Psycho, Neuro, and Immune changes that are carefully orchestrated to keep you in balance.
What I want to educate you all on (in two parts) is a new field of study known as Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI). PNI is ” the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body” What does this tells us? we have a mind body connection, and it’s powerful. So powerful in fact that even the stress of being cold can tap into the same immune system-nervous system loop that triggers symptoms of the common cold!. you having a laugh right? unfortunately not.
I’ll keep part 1 just to sleep.
So where does sleep fit into all of this? Nocturnal sleep has profound benefits to regulate our immunity. Our biological clock (Circadian rhythm) only affects some aspects of our immunity. Where sleep is the primary factor. Sleep influences two important pathways named the Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).YES, big words (nerd alert!) but think of these two as hormone regulators. The HPA and SNS are important at regulating stress hormones such as Cortisol and Epinephrine.
What happens when sleep is restricted, broken or chronic?. Remember our HPA axis? our HPA axis releases cortisol and up-regulation of pro-inflammatory’s, such as interleukin to name one. HPA trigger a release via the hypothalamus gland, into our tissues and lymph organs, and thus we have a mini cascade of events…which can suppress our immunity, and you can do the math what can happen after this…
So what should be happening?
Simply, with adequate sleep 6-8 hours.(HGH) Human growth hormone will be doing its anabolic job to proliferate cell growth and repair. And our nasty stress hormones should be lying dormant.
Are sleep, stress and sickness interrelated?
I hope you have learnt something interesting and new?
Well…I’m so very grateful that you all want to learn something new on this Monday 🙂
As you are reading in anticipation of learning something new, your brain is releasing neurotransmitters and neuropeptides such as Dopamine and regulating your autonomic nervous system such as your “rest digest” parasympathetic nervous system (I hope) , and lastly a little bit of GABA (inhibitory neurotransmitter) to lessen your excitement…..just a bit…
Have I still got your attention?
Turn on your Pre frontal cortex now…!
“Nerves that fire together….wire together”. What do I mean by this? In layman’s terms when we have a thought (positive/negative) and when we move (functionally/dysfunctionally) we make a connection (a neuron). Now what happens when this connection (neuron to neurons) becomes stronger through repetition? we get synaptic plasticity (strengthen/weakening) Our thoughts and movements become ingrained in the brain, so strong in fact that the brain can fire this thought/movement off without it’s conscious because it becomes “AUTO”NOMOUS, automatic, just like putting on your seat belt. Do you ever remember doing that?
Where am I getting at here? imagine a negative thought or a dysfunctional movement. Add hundreds/thousands of repetitions, neurons that are solely dedicated to producing that thought or this movement and chemicals such as Epinephrine (adrenaline) to make you feel this thought or that movement in your body, affecting your organs, like in your gut which has a nervous system of it’s own! and if we do the math we have a slight problem.
When we eventually (consciously) learn we have a problem and decide to challenge. Our dedicated neurons get upset because they have worked so hard over time with repetitions to make a plastic change, this adds more confusion/thoughts to brain such as “I’m tired today, I’ll try again tomorrow” because it’s what you wanted wasn’t it? I guess not. But now this may have triggered you to have a conscious mindful reflection to possibly change…? Where is the environment you think can trigger the above the most?
Do you want to learn more?
How about reading “Breaking the habit of being yourself” by Dr Joe Dispenza?. Brilliant neuroscientist whose understanding of the mind body connection can elaborate further. And possibly give you a little nudge.
Finally, if you want more just ask, or “like”
Happy Monday 🙂