What’s Your Sleep Cycle?

By Charles W. Page, MD –

The 24-hour circadian rhythm of homo sapiens has baffled biologists for years. Sleep is one of those pieces of human behavior that doesn’t seem to fit their evolutionary puzzle. Human beings tend to display monophasic patterns of rest—sleeping for one large continuous time period. This seems to contradict most modern theories of evolution.

When followed to its logical conclusion, evolution appears to suggest that sleep is a bad idea. According to the principles of natural selection, “those that snooze—lose!” If animals are not constantly aware of the potential threats around them, their survival is threatened. And those that do not survive fail to transmit their genes to the next generation.

Several creative theories have been promoted to help explain away this basic dilemma of sleep cycles in “evolved” humans. One maintains that humankind has only been conditioned to rest for a continuous period of the circadian cycle. It contends that man is still intrinsically geared to sleep like their more primordial ancestors and can still be reconditioned back into taking multiple small “cat naps” through the circadian cycle.

One of the champions of the polyphasic theory, Dr. Claudio Stampi, recommends taking multiple intermittent naps during the day instead of sleeping continuously for eight hours at night. His theory claims this pattern allows individuals to maximize their productivity and potential during a 24-hour period. In other words—sleep less and do more. Polyphasic sleeping is an alternative sleep pattern being researched as an option for those who need to function amidst sleep deprivation (i.e., NASA astronauts, long distance sailboat racers and soldiers).

For those of you whose eyelids are still open after absorbing these superfluous and slumberous ideas, let me suggest to you a simpler approach to rest. (One way or another—I did promise to help you sleep!) Instead becoming a polyphasic sleeper to maximize your productivity, why not surrender control to the One who created you? Sleep was God’s idea. God created you to release control of your frustrations, worries, fears and schedules and to fall asleep in His arms. Someone once said that “sleep is God’s contrivance to give to man what he cannot do for himself while he is awake.” By faith, learn to put your trust in a God who protects and provides for you as you rest.

God could have fashioned your circadian rhythms similar to other animals on this planet. For example, God did not create you with the sleeping habits of giraffes or elephants, which slumber for less than four hours per day. You were not created to always be on the alert for potential threats to your security. On the other hand, God did not create you like a bear that hibernates for several months out of the year. Your sleep cycles could have been shaped similar to a dolphin. Dolphins sleep with one-half of their brain “on” and the other side turned “off.” Unlike dolphins, your brain was not created to multitask while you rest.

God uniquely made you to “turn off” when you turn in. God wonderfully made you to surrender your life into His hands. Trust Him. He’s got your back!

Eating Clean – It’s in the Bible!

Laurette Willis –

Bless the Lord, O my soul…who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (Psalm 103:1, 5 NKJV).”

God didn’t arbitrarily forbid the Jews from eating certain foods. God doesn’t operate under the law of “whim.” Every meat deemed unclean by God is unfit for human consumption.

In 1953 science caught up with the Bible when Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University published a study on the toxicity of animals listed as clean and unclean in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. He ran tests to determine their toxic effects on a controlled growth culture in his laboratory (“An Experimental Pharmacological Appreciation of Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV,” Bulletin of Historical Medicine, Johns Hopkins University).

Not surprisingly, every animal God calls toxic, science finds toxic, too. Unclean animals include: swine, horse, rabbit, squirrel, dog, cat, bear, opossum, groundhog and rat. The clean animals (cloven-hoofed and chew the cud) include cattle, goats, sheep, oxen and deer. Interestingly, the blood of all animals is more toxic than the flesh.

Many of the animals God calls unclean eat flesh or have parasites that would sicken or kill humans. Pigs, bears and vultures eat decaying flesh. Wolves, lions and other predators often prey on the weakest, sickliest animals in a herd.

Jesus, being a devout Jew, did not eat pork. In fact He used pigs as receptacles for the demons within the Gadarene demoniac (Luke 8:22-39)! The man was set free when Jesus evicted the demons from him and sent them into a herd of swine. The pigs were destroyed when they plunged off a cliff into the lake and drowned.

Clean birds include poultry (chicken, turkey, geese), ducks, pigeons and quail. Many supermarkets now carry organic chicken products raised without antibiotics or hormones. We certainly don’t need to be ingesting synthetic estrogen (a hormone typically given to chickens). Pre-menopausal, peri-menopausal and menopausal women need to be especially aware that hormonal imbalances may be linked to synthetic estrogen and estrogen-producing foods.

Instead of pork, how about turkey franks or kosher beef hot dogs once in a while? A stir fry with fresh vegetables, crumbled organic or GreenFed™ burger, slivered almonds and water chestnuts is a quick and easy dinner your family will love. If you’re concerned about estrogen-producing foods, try fermented soy products such as tempeh instead of regular soy.

Archeological Evidence of Benefits of Eating Clean

Moses, who received the dietary and hygiene system from God, had been trained as a prince of Egypt in the most advanced medical system of his day. Yet Moses did not advocate the Egyptian way of avoiding disease. Forensic examinations of mummified Egyptians show that the wealthiest Egyptians didn’t seem to benefit from the best that their physicians had to offer. They suffered from many of the same diseases of our day. Many researchers believe this is due to their taste for unhealthful foods and disregard for hygiene, contrary to God’s directive to the Hebrews through Moses.

In short: Detox, eat clean, eat lean and always eat green (lots of veggies!).

Are You Out-Running Old Age or Allowing It to Catch Up with You?

By Julie Morris, R.N. –

I always said that exercising helped me to out-run old age, but now I am beginning to understand why!

News came out recently of a study by Dr. Beth Levine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She is studying the health benefits of exercise on mice and discovered this important fact: exercising increases the body’s ability to get rid of trash.

All of us have trash caused by broken-down cells that needs to be removed. This trash-removal process is called autophagy (aw-TAH-fa-gee). Autophagy may also help protect us against cancer, infection and other diseases.

Just as your car gets dings and the tires wear out, the structures inside of our cells wear out and need to be replaced. Autophagy collects these worn-out pieces and wraps them in a membrane. Then it carries them to a tiny spot inside the cell, called a lysosome, where there are recycled and digested into reusable products. Bottom line: out with the old–on with the new.

Dr. Levine’s studies have concentrated on autophagy in mice, but it’s a good bet that this process is the same in humans. Let’s look at one of her test results.

She discovered that mice that were fed high-fat diets to create diabetes associated with obesity were able to reverse their diabetes when they exercised daily for eight weeks. She found that mice that exercised for 30 minutes on a treadmill increased their autophagy 40-50 percent. Those that ran 80 minutes increased their autophagy 100 percent. Those that didn’t exercise were not able to induce autophagy and were unable to reverse their diabetes.

Dr. Levine and other researchers feel that these results have implications beyond the effect of exercise on diabetes. They speculate that autophagy may represent a cellular mechanism that prolongs life and protects against disease.

If spending 30 minutes or more a day will make me healthier and help me to out-run old age, I’m going to do it! How about you?

Bring on the Sunshine

By Cami Checketts –

Serving others brings sunshine into our very souls and health to our bodies. Jesus gave us the greatest example of serving our fellowmen. I suppose part of the joy that comes from serving is because we are acting as Jesus would.

I’m always searching for ways to teach my four sons to serve each other and serve others. They love to play outside and be active so we try to combine making opportunities to serve… and get some exercise. The following list includes a few of our favorite ways to do both:

1 – Going to the park. We love riding our bikes to the park and bringing our baseball mitts, lacrosse sticks, or a soccer ball. The little ones play on the play-set while the big guys work on improving their skills with their favorite sports, and we all enjoy some great family time. When we have the chance, we bring neighbor or family members’ children to give the parents a break and do a little service.

2 – Yard work. Sometimes it’s hard to convince the boys that this is fun, but we usually make it through once they get in the spirit of it. Gardening also burns almost three hundred calories per hour and if you plant vegetables you’ll be blessed with healthy and inexpensive food. It’s especially fun if we can help others with their yard work or share the produce from our garden. Last spring our nine-year-old came up with the idea to pick all the peas in the garden and take them to elderly people who couldn’t get out and grow their own vegetables. It was an unreal experience. The people were grateful for the peas, but even more grateful for a boy who took time to think of them.

3 – Going on visits. When it’s nice outside and we can ride bikes or scooters to visit the elderly or those who need a friend, it makes it much easier to get my boys excited about visiting.

4 – Nature walks. We love to walk around our area and appreciate the beauty the Lord has blessed us with: a newborn calf, wildflowers, frogs in the pond, sticks we can battle brothers with. Our world is so beautiful. And there are many opportunities to bond with family members when we get outside to enjoy them (except when the stick battle gets a little out of hand!).

5 – Hikes. We recently took our boys on a seven-mile hike through ankle-deep sand. It was miserable, but they were champions. They helped each other and they helped me have a good attitude. They talked about our ancestors who had to walk across the plains, and they reminded me that sometimes they were starving and dehydrated, but we had water and half a granola bar to share. It turned into a neat experience (that I don’t want to repeat soon!). We learned a valuable lesson: we need to be more prepared when we go on serious hikes (pack more than half a granola bar) and always keep a positive attitude.

These are just a few ideas that get our family outside, give us more opportunities to serve and bond together, and have fun. During this beautiful time of year, I pray we can all get out and enjoy the sunshine as well as share the sunshine with others.

What is your favorite outdoor activity? How can you incorporate service into these activities?

The Best Time to Exercise?

April 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Health and Fitness

By Laurette Willis –

My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15 NKJV).

I’m often asked what time of day I consider the best time to exercise. The short answer is, “Any time you will exercise is the best time!” Additionally, once you have a routine established, stick with it.

According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), those who exercise in the morning are most successful in making exercise a habit. ACE also recommends that if you prefer an early morning workout, “emphasize stretching and a good warm-up to insure that your body is ready for action.”

In recent years, scientists have been exploring the area of “circadian rhythms,” the internal clocks God put in place within our physical bodies.

You’ve GOT RHYTHM…

Circadian rhythms, the daily cycles that govern certain physical processes, originate in the hypothalamus just above the brain stem. They regulate everything from body temperature and blood pressure to metabolism.

The influence of circadian rhythms on body temperature seems to have the greatest effect on the quality of the workout we have. When your body temperature is at its highest, your workouts appear to be more productive. They are likely to be less productive when your body temperature is low.

Your body temperature is lowest one to three hours before you wake up in the morning, and at its highest late in the afternoon. Later in the day your muscles are warmer and more flexible, reaction time is quicker, blood pressure and resting heart rate are lower, and strength is at its peak.

Since studies have shown that exercise during these late afternoon/early evening hours produces better results, this may be a good choice for you. However, if you are a procrastinator (as I have been!), it may be wiser to stick to early morning workouts so you don’t melt into the couch after a hard day at the office.

Finding Your Peak Body Temperature

This will take a bit of work, but it will be worth it if you really want to know your circadian peak body temperature.

1. Record your temperature every couple of hours for 5 or 6 days in a row. Body temps usually fluctuate by 1.5 degrees plus or minus throughout the day.

2. Try exercising during the period 3 hours after your highest body temperature.

For most people, this will fall in the range between 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. If you are an early bird or night owl, the times may fluctuate 2-3 hours on either side of that, so adjust accordingly.

The ABSOLUTE BEST Time to Exercise

If stress relief is your goal, exercise always works, all of the time. And if you’re wondering when it’s best to train for an upcoming event, it all depends on what time you’ll actually be competing. If an upcoming marathon begins at 7:00 a.m., try training at that time of day.

In addition, combining exercise with the Word and prayer  can help make a good habit even better–transforming your workouts into worship!

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