Have you ever been in a cycle in your life when everything seems to be working in your favor? Work is great, you feel great, home life is great, and things are just generally… great? It’s like you tapped into a rhythm that helps you gain momentum. Your body has rhythms that keep it feeling great, too. They were set by your ancestors over thousands and thousands of years of living according to a fairly regular routine: sleeping when it’s dark, waking when it’s light. Even though modern life has changed that wake-sleep cycle, our bodies haven’t gotten the memo.
According to integrative physician Frank Lipman, who wrote the book How to be Well, all of your organs (not just your heart) have their own tempos and rhythms – even your brain. When you understand how they work and you start paying attention to them… this could turn into a HUGE upgrade for your brain and ability to think and focus! “The more you work with your body’s innate rhythms, the better you feel,” he wrote. He says the single most important thing you can do to work with your body’s rhythms is to tap into the biggest rhythm of all – your wake-sleep cycle.
You do that by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day (even on the weekend).
Sleep is such a hot topic these days that it’s easy to shrug it off… but have you ever heard of your body’s glymphatic system? (No that isn’t a typo!) It was recently discovered, and as it turns out, it has a LOT to do with your ability to focus and think clearly. It has a very powerful effect on the long-term health of your brain!
Your glymphatic system cleans out toxins from your brain through your central nervous system, as well as distribute vital compounds (like glucose, amino acids, growth factors, etc.) throughout your brain. When it isn’t working properly, scientists believe it does a lot more than cause a lack of focus or fuzzy thinking. They theorize it can lead to neurodegenerative disorders (like Alzheimer’s) and other diseases.
Here’s the kicker: the glymphatic system only works when you’re asleep!
But if you can’t sleep regularly, you do NOT have to be a victim of your insomnia. Dr. Lipman says not being able to sleep is often a symptom of an imbalance in your body, and you have the power to fix it.
Here are the top reasons behind not being able to sleep at night, according to Dr. Lipman:
- Overstimulated nervous system – either by chronic stress or by nighttime exposure to blue light, which comes from smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc.
- Thyroid, adrenal, or sex hormone imbalances.
- Substances like alcohol, caffeine, supplements, recreational drugs, and/or medications.
- Your diet (processed/refined foods, too much sugar, or food intolerances).
- Digestive issues.
- Sleep apnea (when you stop breathing while asleep).
If you have a hard time sleeping, it’s definitely worth the detective work to figure out what’s behind YOUR symptoms so you can get back in sync with your own natural rhythms!
Experiment with the things you have the most power over (diet, stress, substances, eating before bed, etc) and see if it works. If it doesn’t, consider checking in with your doc for further investigation. Your brain (and your future self!) will thank you for it.
As you can see, we focus on your body and lifestyle as a whole, not just fitness and nutrition. If you are ready to create a real change to achieve real results in your life, I can help you put together a plan that works for you, your goals, and your lifestyle!