All about sleep

Discover the significant impact of hormones on our sleep patterns and why artificial light and stress disrupt our natural sleep cycles.

Sleep is crucial for overall health but many of us are sleep deprived due to our hectic modern lifestyle. Prioritising sleep is essential – we can even take inspiration from my chickens.

Approx read time: 3 mins

Sleep when it’s dark

Humans have evolved to sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s light. Species vary in when they sleep, with some creatures sleeping at night and others in the day. I don’t think anyone has properly worked out why, but one factor could be which of our predators or big threats are around at certain times.

Sleep hormones

There are two hormones that hugely affect sleepiness and wakefulness; melatonin rises as the evening wears on, making us sleepy, then cortisol rises when it’s time to wake up, making us alert.

BUT, melatonin gets confused when we throw artificial light around everywhere at night and cortisol is constantly surging because of the stressful lives we lead – it’s all messed up!

Sleep is necessary for good health

It affects every function of the body and when we’re sleep deprived we are seriously jeopardising our health.

During sleep our body repairs, rebuilds and restores without interruption.

The brain carries out its admin and clears waste as does the gut. If you start making your brain work during the night or forcing the gut to digest food and drink when it’s not primed to it’s like wiping down your worktops while constantly throwing toast crumbs all over them. Your body ends up angry and inflamed on the inside – a perfect invite for chronic disease.

Modern lifestyle

Most people *are* now sleep deprived and this has got worse since we’ve had smartphones, tablets and computers and feel we have to engage and *can* engage 24/7. We’re also better off and can afford to have the lights and heating on for longer, where in the old days people would literally go to bed because it was cold and dark!

Sleep deprivation has almost become a boast, like “Heyyy I only get five hours sleep a night!” whereas boasting that you got nine hours is seen as being lazy. But the 9hr sleep is the wiser health move.

Can we learn from my chickens?

I keep chickens and they are riveting to watch with regard to sleep patterns. As the seasons change they take themselves to bed whatever time it gets dusk and they wake up when the sun rises. Obvs they don’t have iPhones, laptops or telly to distract them though.

And the lesson is, be more like chickens!

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for everything.” 

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Thank you for reading this article. Please note that while we share a lot of awesome information and research you should be aware our articles are strictly for informational purposes and do not constitute medical advice intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.