How’s your rhythm?

*The Route 56 Challenge: Day 27*

You don’t have to be too Zen or Earthy to recognize the cyclical nature to the world we live in. We live, and we die. We work and rest, give and take, breakdown and grow, and the examples don’t just stop with us.

Oh, sunny day!

Nature is often the perfect place to find examples of the life cycle. For example, the sun’s energy fuels photosynthesis in plants, which turns carbon dioxide to make food. The plants that grow then provide food for animals. Animal waste and decomposed plant matter then provide fuel for the soil to host more plant life, and around the circle we go.

Before you assume that next I’ll be encouraging you to get your very own yin and yang tattoo and click away, I’d like to offer insight into a very important life cycle that many of us take for granted. What I’m referring to is the sleep cycle. With the advent of artificial light, urban life, and one heck of a busy schedule, we’ve quite drastically drifted away from one of our most vital, and natural rhythms.

Not only do we assume we’ve “beaten the game” with our ability to stay up later, the sleep we do get is often nothing like the quality sleep we need. You see, seritonin and dopamine are the “zin” and “zang” of sleep. Dopamine is at work when we are exposed to light. And, though it is a major function in happiness and mood, this is one of those instances where we can have too much of a good thing. Simply put, if you can’t turn off you’re body’s perception that’s it is day time, you get major fatigue and wacko hormones.

Dopamine puts us in a “summer” mindset. We are out on the prowl for food. Imagine what it would be like to have your summertime mood turned on all the time. It would get worn out, would it? Well, artificial light and lack of sleep have done just that in pandemic proportions. Most of us have depleted dopamine levels, which then affects seritonin levels, which keeps us anxious and stressed, not to mention feigning for sugar and starch.

Here’s the thing, though. All light can recruit a dopamine release (if you have any left). So, even when your sleeping under a tv with SportsCenter on mute, you’re body’s cells still receive the daytime message. YIKES! Even the glowing lights of a VCR or alarm clock trigger the response.

NOTE: You should sleep in a pitch dark room. You’re seratonin depends on it!

Now, all that Zen talk is packing a punch isn’t it? We, too, must honor the cycles of nature. And, though we are capable of long nights and little sleep, we can’t thrive in that space, and there are consequences beyond just fatigue. Playing with this requisite rest/work rhythm can come with  some major consequences. The price can be as high as things like: chronic disease, obesity, depression, and cancer.

Help close the natural loop of the sleep cycle in your life. Beginning to work and rest with rise and fall of the sun could be a fitting practice for us all, Zen Goddess or not.

Logan Gelbrich

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Friday’s Workout:

Complete the following for time:

Lunge 200m

Then 3 rounds for time of:

10 Power Snatches (95/65)

15 Burpees

-Rest 1 min-

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