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Rise and Shine!

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Natural Resources

A person needs energy in order to successfully get up early. Cells, tissues, organs glands all need to be doing their jobs. They all need to be communicating with each other effectively. Hormones and nutrients need to arrive on time and in the right quantities. Metabolic processes need to be in tune. New supplies of energy need to be manufactured and delivered and waste products need to be removed. All these intricate processes are under the direct control of your nervous system.

Chiropractic care helps your nervous system function at peak efficiency. By restoring more normal mobility to your spinal column, chiropractic care directly optimizes activities within your nervous system. As a result, cells, tissues, organs and glands function more effectively and your body now has the energy it needs to wake up early - healthy, refreshed, and ready to go!

We all know people who get up with the first rays of the sun. Some people wake up even earlier, bouncing out of bed before there is even a glimmer of dawn in the eastern sky. In contrast, for many people leaving the confines of their comfortable bed is a daily exercise in frustration. They know they "should" get up, they know they should "be on time", but each day they find themselves pushing the Snooze Button "just once more". "Really, this is it," they declare to their spouses and children. "I'm getting up. Just ten more minutes."
What is the difference between those who are able and willing to throw off the covers at an early hour and those who struggle mightily to respond to the summons of the buzzing alarm clock? The nature and organization of your biorhythms - your body's set of internal timepieces - provide a large part of the answer.
The field of chronobiology - the study of biologic time - investigates various physiologic biorhythms. In animals these rhythms are associated with sleeping,1 eating, metabolic and hormonal regulation,2,3 cellular regeneration, and mating. In plants biorhythms are associated with photosynthesis and movements of leaves and stems. Circadian rhythms describe 24-hour cycles. Diurnal and nocturnal rhythms are active during the day and night, respectively.

There is good news for those who would appreciate the benefits of getting a head-start on the day's activities but nevertheless consistently get out of bed 30 minutes late, an hour late, or even later. Circadian rhythms can be changed. It takes commitment and effort, but it can be done. Good health is required in order to successfully cause a shift in one's basic functioning. Will power is not enough, as anyone who has tried to force themselves to get up earlier on a day-to-day basis can attest. A healthy diet and regular, vigorous exercise are key to making any long-lasting change in our biorhythms. Add a strong desire to the mix and long-term positive results can ensue.

What else can you do to reset your circadian rhythms?  Managing your light exposure can help tremendously.  Try taking a short walk outdoors early in the day - ideally every day.  And leave your sunglasses at home.  You want your eyes to receive and process the early sunlight which will help your pineal gland to get in sync with the natural rhythms of sun.

It is equally important to avoid bright light exposure in the evening, especially the blue light tones from computers and televisions.  This will help prepare your body to fall asleep more easily, early enough so that you will feel rested in the morning when your alarm goes off.  If you need to use your computer in the evening, you might want to try a free program called f.lux which reduces the blue light your monitor normally emits that can interfere with your sleep.   Also, minimize the light in your home in the evening, and make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible, wearing an eye mask if you can't otherwise block out the light.

Ideally, you will start waking up naturally with the dawning sunlight, even before your alarm goes off.  Some people use alarm clocks that mimic the sunrise, slowly increasing the light in your bedroom to awaken you gently before any alarm is sounded.

It is also important to resist the temptation to sleep in on the weekends.  Keeping a consistent sleep schedule throughout the week is key to resetting your circadian rhythms.

1Priano L, et al: Non-linear recurrence analysis of NREM human sleep microstructure discloses deterministic oscillation patterns related to sleep stage transitions and sleep maintenance. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Cos 1:4934-4937, 2010
2Kalsbeek A, et al: Hypothalamic control of energy metabolism via the autonomic nervous system. Ann NY Acad Sci 1212(1):114-129, 2010

3Eisenberg DP, et al: Seasonal effects on human striatal presynaptic dopamine synthesis. J Neurosci 30(44):14691-14694, 2010

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