Did you know that the 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology was given to researchers who proved that every cell in the body has a circadian (daily) clock?
In other words, these researchers discovered that we all operate best and are at our healthiest when our bodies and minds find rhythm each day.
“For many years we have known that living organisms, including humans, have an internal, biological clock that helps them anticipate and adapt to the regular rhythm of the day,” said Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young, the researchers who were able to peek inside our biological clock and elucidate its inner workings. “Our discoveries explain how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronized with the Earth’s revolutions.” – NobelPrize.org
The research from this Nobel Prize shows that our bodies and minds work at their optimum levels when the peripheral clocks in all of the cells of the body are synced well with the master clock in our brain through our daily behaviors. More succinctly: they discovered that every cell in our body works best when we Add Rhythm to our lives.
That’s why this month, we are focusing on monthly challenges that Add Rhythm to your life and allow your body to restore itself to optimal health.
Challenge 1: Healthy Is a Sleep Date
Our “Healthy Is a Sleep Date” challenge teaches you how to create an optimal “warm-up” to achieve better sleep.
There is perhaps no behavior more powerful in syncing your daily rhythms than prioritizing quality sleep. Take, for example, sleep’s drastic effect on something as important to your health as your immune system.
Sleep has substantial regulatory effects on the immune system. And it does so in a rhythmical manner. Circulating immune cells peak early in the night and then slowly make their way into lymphoid organs where they get to work ridding your body of virally infected cells. Lack of sleep for just one night not only reduces the ability of your body to fight current infections, but it can also reduce your natural killer (NK) cell count by 70%! That’s not good news, because NK cells – a type of white blood cells – help keep us safe from both acute diseases, like the cold and flu, as well as chronic diseases like cancer.
But, if you resume sleeping 7+ hours per night, then in just one night NK cell activity can return to its baseline level. Additionally, getting 7+ hours of quality sleep leading up to something like a flu shot can help you produce double the amount of antibodies, making the shot even more effective!
Sleep is critical for every major system in the body:
- Memory improves by over 60% after a good night’s sleep;
- body composition, weight, and your diabetic profile (your body’s ability to regulate glucose) are all negatively altered by less than 6 hours of sleep;
- muscle mass, testosterone, and growth hormone are all influenced by sleep; &
- your thyroid, adrenal hormones, & ultimately your entire hormone axis are all affected by your sleep patterns!
Challenge 2: Healthy Is 15 Minutes of “Me Time”
When was the last time you did something that allowed you to take a break and feel truly relaxed?
Taking time to do something relaxing and enjoyable for yourself is not just a “good idea,” it’s actually as important to your health as exercising, sleeping, and eating healthy.
A lot of us spend most of our day in fight or flight mode and releasing excess cortisol because we are responding to the many stressors that come our way each day. When cortisol levels from chronic stress stay very high for extended periods of time, research shows that:
- Risk of chronic disease, chronic inflammation, and immune dysfunction are all heightened.
- Muscular strength, energy levels, and sex drive are all negatively affected.
- Weight gain, inability to lose weight, and sleep disruption occur more often.
You can reverse these negative trends by activating a different part of your nervous system and de-stressing your body by adding rhythm with 15 minutes of “me time” every day.
Challenge 3: Healthy Is Spending Time in Nature
As cities have grown larger, our worlds have grown smaller; so small that we can do most of our work on a device that fits in our pockets. We are spending less time outdoors while experiencing more muscle aches, headaches, and increased stress with the demands of being available at all hours of the day.
Research shows that spending a little time each day surrounded by nature has been proven to improve mental health and boost your immune system. In fact, simply taking a walk in a park can reverse many of the effects of things like screen time and can give you other benefits such as:
- Boost your body’s natural immune system
- Improve creativity
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Reduce mental fatigue
- Reduce the impact of stress
- Mitigate the impact of dementia, anxiety, and other mental health diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease
This month it’s time to get reattached to nature and adding rhythm to your life by implementing a dose of the “nature cure.”
Which one of these are you planning to implement this month? Come see us at one of our September events and let us know!