Taking Control of the Rest of Our Lives
Anti Aging Advocate, Issue #004 — Sleeping Your Way to Anti Aging Success
Anti Aging Advocate is for you -- to help you and encourage your efforts to live the rest of your life to the fullest.
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Anti Aging God's Way
In this issue we are examining the importance of sleep in successful anti aging. Many of us live in cultures that place a high priority upon working hard and working long. Is burning the candle at both ends worth it? Do improper sleeping habits accelerate the aging process?
AAA Issue #005 — Is There a Biblically-balanced Diet?
AAA Issue #006 — How Can I Get Motivated and Keep Motivated?
Sleeping Your Way to Anti Aging Success
How Does Sleeping Retard Aging
When your body engages in the deepest level of sleep, known as "Stage 4", it enjoys the highest level of anabolic metabolism. In other words, that is when your body does its best repair and rebuilding work. Your nervous system gets repaired, your immune system does its best healing, and billions of your body's cells are either repaired or replaced. A short night's sleep, restless sleep, irregular sleep, and even sleep that begins too late, will not allow you to experience this deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Anti aging is all about increasing anabolic repair and reducing catabolic damage. When you're young, your body's anabolic activity is greater than its catabolic activity. When you reach 25-30, the scale begins to tip, and, if you don't take action, catabolic damage becomes greater than anabolic repair. Deep sleep increases the opportunity for your body to repair and rebuild itself, hence sleeping enhances anti aging.
When we Choose to Not Sleep
So, you say, I'd love to experience this kind of deep, restful, rejuvenating sleep, but it just doesn't happen for me. There are a number of possible reasons you have not been getting the sleep you need to slow down the aging process. Perhaps it's as simple as this: getting a good night's sleep has not been a high priority for you. You've placed a greater emphasis on reading or watching TV, or something else. Once you realize how important sleep is to your health and wellness, perhaps you'll make it a higher priority.
Or maybe you're working so many hours, there just aren't enough hours in the day for you to get adequate sleep. Oh, you feel that you're functioning fairly well, but you're stacking the deck against your good health and vitality as the years add up. In the past, I've bragged about the fact that I had only gotten four or five hours sleep the night before. But when I understood that:
1) I was increasing my likelihood of getting sick because of the weakness of my immune system, and that
2) I was accelerating the aging process of my body,
I made the decision to go to bed earlier.
When we Don't Choose to Not Sleep
For many of us, we are trying to get a good night's sleep, but it just doesn't happen. We go to bed, but just lie there awake. It could be as simple as removing some distractions, like radio or TV. There are bedside clocks that produce "white noise" that can help to drown out the sounds of traffic, music, or people's voices. Take some specific action to deal with distractions that are keeping you awake.
It is possible that you are not sleeping because you're not getting regular physical exercise. When you initially fall asleep, your muscles will send a signal to the brain that will adjust the level of your sleep according to the amount of exercise you have done that day. If you have exercised your muscles well (not necessarily to exhaustion) your brain will adjust your sleep cycle to a deeper level for greater restoration and repair.
Science Confirms Common Sense
Even though common sense and conventional wisdom tells us that you sleep better if you've exercised, it is interesting to see that research confirms this. A Stanford University Medical School study reveals that older and middle-age people reported sleeping better when they added regular exercise to their routine.
Here are some helpful tips:
1) Complete your exercise at least five to six hours before bedtime, so that you body has time to cool down. A cooler body temperature aids sound sleep.
2) Make sure your exercise is active enough to produce at least a little sweat. Just stretching, while valuable, will not be sufficient to improve your sleep.
3) Stick with it. Participants in the study found that their sleep didn't improve significantly until that had exercised regularly for at least four months.
Sore Muscles and Joints
Pain is another reason for involuntary sleeplessness. Rather than just taking over-the-counter sleeping pills, here is where the regular consumption high quality food supplements can help you, while staying away from pharmaceuticals' dangerous side effects. A glucosamine and chondroitin supplement, taken regularly, can reduce or eliminate much of the joint pain that accompanies aging. Lowering the percentage of excess body fat can also help to reduce the pain your body experiences and endures through the night. Pain is God's way of telling you that something is not right; don't just eliminate the symptoms, deal with the causes.
Are You a Worrier?
There are mental and emotional issues that can disturb our sleep and keep our bodies from getting the deep revitalizing rest they need. The future is unknown to us, and worrying about it will not make either the future of the present any better. Here is where trust in God can make a difference in the level of sleep you experience and enable to you to awaken refreshed and ready for the new day.
Just telling yourself to stop worrying will not make the difference. What you need to do is identify the lies you've been believing and replace those thoughts with the truth. Here are the lies:
1) Worrying will help.
2) Worrying shows I care.
3) I can't help worrying.
Here is the truth:
1) God knows what is best for me; I only think I know.
2) God can be trusted with my future and the future of those I love.
3) If I am faithful to love and obey God, he will take care of me.
Biblical Counsel About Worrying
Consider these words from the scriptures:
Don't worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and earnest asking, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Do not worry then, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear for clothing?" For the nations eagerly seek all these things; yet your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Sleep — A Gift From God
When we do all that we are taught by God to do: treating our bodies with the care that they deserve (putting into them only food that God designed them for), working hard so that our bodies get their necessary exercise, obeying the instructions God gives us in the scriptures, and trusting God to care for all of the things that we cannot — we can depend upon God to give us the sleep we need.
We are sadly mistaken if we think we can disregard the counsel of God and live however we want, and still experience the rest our bodies need. On the other hand, as the psalmist reminds us, even if we do everything we think we must do, our trust needs to be in God in order to experience success and rest.
Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for he gives to his beloved even in his sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2)
It may seem easier to simply take a sleeping pill when you can't sleep, but I think you know that there is a better way. Yes, it will require you to exercise regularly, to eat right, and to trust God, but the reward is deep, restful, rejuvenating sleep — a gift from God that keeps on giving. It keeps on giving because it slows down the aging process in your body; something that a pill cannot do.
There is help for you on our website: look at the sections on exercise, on food supplements, on eating healthy food, on losing weight, and on being stress-free. Don't try to implement everything at once, but, litle-by-little, make the changes that will allow you to experience anti aging God's way.
Next Month's Anti Aging Advocate
Is there such a thing as a biblically-balanced diet? Does the Bible give us any hints about what proportion of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats we should eat? If God were to set a meal before you, surely it would be perfectly balanced. But do we have any idea of what it would consist? I look forward to sharing with you next month, and feel privileged to be your anti aging advocate. Till then...
May God bless you,
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