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Our Inner Clock Needs Regular Sleep

Three scientists earned a Nobel Prize in 2017 for their research that helped discover the clocks running in every cell in our bodies. ‘With exquisite precision, our inner clock adapts our physiology to the dramatically different phases of the day,’ the Nobel Prize committee wrote of the work of Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young. ‘The clock regulates critical functions such as behaviour, hormone levels, sleep, body temperature, and metabolism.’

Humans are time-keeping machines and we need regular sleep to keep all of our clocks in sync. Studies show that if we mess with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, we pay a price. By working the night shift, staying up all night, or taking a trans-continental flight, our blood pressure goes up, hunger hormones get thrown off, and blood sugar control is disrupted. We can recover from an occasional short-term disruption, but if these disruptions become a way of life, this may set the stage for metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. ‘What happens is that we get a total de-synchronization of the clocks within us,’ explains Fred Turek, a circadian scientist at Northwestern University, ‘which may be underlying the chronic diseases we face in our society today….’ (from How Messing With Our Body Clocks Can Raise Alarms With Health by Allison Aubrey, NPR Radio, October 2, 2017)

Getting regular massages positively influences sleep patterns. At Willow and Water we know that massage and bodywork encourage deep rest by promoting relaxation and well-being; reducing tension and anxiety; improving blood circulation that delivers oxygen and nutrients to the cells; and relieving muscle cramps, as well as spasms, which sometimes disrupt sleep.

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