Throughout the year, I’ve focused on the importance of Dr. Quiet, especially the rest/repair cycle.

Remember that when you miss out on sleep, your body is unable to repair itself and that puts the nervous system under stress. Moreover, your brain gets tired too because thinking during the waking state uses a lot of energy.

Staying awake too much is like continually spending money. You’re going to run up debt very quickly.

Photo courtesy of Evi Christodoulou under Creative Commons. License.

Photo courtesy of Evi Christodoulou under Creative Commons. License.

When you’re awake, all of your body’s systems are left on and this will create an energy deficit. Once this happens, even when you do sleep, you’ll wake up tired with all of your day’s goals still in front of you. What most people do to combat this sort of fatigue is to eat more sugar and drink more caffeine for quick energy. This starts a dangerous downward spiral.

You wake up tired but you’ve got a lot to do. You need a little something to get you going, so you put sugar in your coffee or tea and eat refined carbohydrates such as boxed breakfast cereals, breads and jams.

Next, you head off for work, but soon you start feeling hungry. You’re busy so you don’t have time to eat – another coffee will have to do. If you can grab something quick, it’s often a vending machine snack, or a piece of fruit that you eat on the go.

So your blood sugar is now surging up with each addition of coffee and refined carbs. As your blood sugar rises and the caffeine kicks in, stress hormones are released in response to over stimulation of the fight or flight response. This triggers a series of chemical steps that result in glycogen (a form of sugar stored in your liver) being converted to glucose (another form of sugar) to aid in the rapid get-away from the lion or tiger that your organs think are chasing you.

Now you are literally swimming in sugar. Therefore, insulin is released to break the sugar down before it damages your nerve cells and other tissues. Soon, the insulin does its job, which you experience at some point as feeling tired, wired and hungry.

The drop in energy and increase in hunger usually begins the process all over again.

Often times, the cycle is capped off by a cup of coffee after dinner. You go to bed exhausted, but as a result of the caffeine and stress hormones it produces, you can’t get a restful night’s sleep.

As the body stores excess sugars and your adrenal glands get overworked from producing so many stress hormones, your pancreas fatigues from producing insulin and the normal ratio between cortisol, and the immune regulating and sex hormones becomes progressively disrupted. The outward signs of this begin to manifest as:

  • An accumulation of fat around the belly button
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low energy
  • Pains in the neck, shoulders, lower back
  • Weakened immune system often evidenced by frequent
colds and minor illnesses
  • Trouble recovering from injuries or an increase in injuries

If you’re having problems with sleep it is crucial to eat right for your Primal Pattern® Diet Type.

When you go to bed without enough fat and protein to maintain your blood sugar through the night, the body must release the stress hormone cortisol to elevate your blood sugar.

Because cortisol is also an awakening hormone, you’ll find yourself waking up, typically between 1:00 A.M. − 3:00 A.M. If you are hungry and you grab a snack, how easily you are able to return to sleep will depend on what you’ve eaten. If you eat something with adequate fat and protein, you’ve got a much better chance. Unfortunately, most people resort to dessert-like foods. This usually triggers a spike in energy caused by the refined carbs, making it even more difficult to sleep. Then, when it is time to get up, you’ll feel tired, which will compound your stress response as you face a new day.

If this cycle goes on long enough, your hormonal system will become over taxed and that opens the door to fungal and parasitic infections!

You can tell when your body is beyond exhausted and needs to take rest and recovery because you’ll start waking up in the middle of the night sweating. This occurs because of the elevated stress hormone levels, which excite your metabolism and make your body think that it’s sunrise and time to get out and do some hunting and gathering. The problem is, once you wake up it’s very difficult to return to sleep, and if you do the quality of sleep is poor.

This scenario, is one of the fastest ways for men to experience impotence, which is why so many young men now use Viagra. In females, this process diminishes their interest in sex and makes it harder and harder for them to reach orgasm.

If that’s not enough, this same process makes your skin look as though it’s aging rapidly.

Your thyroid gland must slow your metabolism in an attempt to save your life, literally, so now your body temperature starts dropping, your mood becomes unreliable and often you feel apathetic and lethargic, and, fat now accumulates around the hips and back of the arms, and in time, the face and the chest too. This problem is much more common in females because their hormonal system is much more delicate than men.

So it comes down to this – the foods you eat drastically affect your ability to rest and recover from your day.

The lesson behind the caffeine/sugar cycle is to become well acquainted with Dr. Diet if you want quality time with Dr. Quiet.

Leigh Brandon

Leigh Brandon has been working in the field of health and fitness since 1996. His mission is to help as many people as possible to reach their health and performance potential, ‘so they can live more productive, fulfilling and happier lives’.

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