Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Quite a few of us on SP "suffer" from insomnia. And that's why I was so interested in an article about University of Toronto researcher Jessa Gamble describing some of her work in the area of circadian rhythms. It was published in the fall issue of the University of Toronto magazine. Here's the link if you want to read the whole thing.
Essentially, it's Gamble's finding that each person needs to become aware of his and her own natural patterns of wakefulness and sleep on an hourly, daily and even on a broader seasonal basis, as they vary in response to naturally occurring cycles of light and darkness.
When it comes to insomnia, Gamble suggests that waking up after a couple of hours may be normal for lots of people. It's comforting to know this was the typical pattern for a few "famous and accomplished" people such as Winston Churchill and Buckminster Fuller! Previous generations were apparently less clock-driven and more accepting of this interrupted sleep pattern. Individuals experiencing it just used the wakeful "small hours" time for meditating or praying or (ahem) "communing with one's spouse" before then returning to sleep. (Here's hoping the spouse was in the mood for communing!) They caught up with naps as needed during the day. So it may help to recharacterize sleep/wakefulness/return to sleep as "polyphasic sleep" which is normal and natural for a particular individual. (And of course it may also help for polyphasic sleepers to find those nap opportunities later in the day: easier said than done depending upon work situations and other responsibilities).
Gamble looks to the problems created for children who are diagnosed with ADHD because their circadian rhythms don't fit the norm. As a result, they may not be ready to learn at the same time as other children.
She suggests that increased incidence of obesity and even mental health issues among Inuit peoples may be related to disruption of seasonal historic sleep patterns. Traditionally such peoples experienced much more frenetic activities of hunting and gathering during long summer days under the midnight sun, followed by much more sleeping during the lengthy dark winter nights. And now Inuit children are expected to be up and ready to learn at 9 a.m., just the same as children who live much further south . . . under very different light conditions for much of the year. "Circadian imperialism" is the term she uses.
As biological entities, humans experience many aspects of health to be circadian-linked. Digestive cycles, nutrition, optimal lung efficiency in the early evening indicating that running is easier then . . . even the effectiveness of cancer treatments may be related to their timing, with early morning radiation less toxic than such treatments later in the day.
The research is fairly new, and there is still lots more to explore. However, for now I do know that one of my own worst side-effects of insomnia is fretting about not sleeping. So next time I'm lying awake at night, I'll be telling myself: this is just "polyphasic sleep". No worries!
And as a back-up? As the days get shorter, by December if not earlier I'll be back to using my 10,000 lux light box every morning. Not for "seasonal affective disorder" but just to get myself thoroughly woken up. Optimizing "cognition" in the morning, when I need it most . . . yeah!!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Looking at my last few blogs . . . . all about food . . . makes me realize: yup, I'm thinking too much about "delicion" rather than just "nutrition"
And: scales this morning point to 140.
So more attention is required, a return to the eternal vigilance. Because I want to maintain with a middle number 3 at about 137/138.
Will be rereading my Beck cards. Eating sitting down. Pretracking. And telling myself: hunger is not an emergency!!
Monday, September 19, 2011
Somehow this tastes even better in the fall!
1/3 cup of large flake oatmeal
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Mix thoroughly and microwave 2 minutes
Stir in 2 envelopes of Splenda and half an ounce (about 7 halves) walnuts.
Serve with low fat milk.
This is SOOOOO chocolately and indulgent -- and by my calculations, it's also just 300 calories with lots of good nutrients going on!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Not a domestic diva . . . never have been. Weekends are for getting to the gym, reading, relaxing, and quite often overflow work from the office.
But yesterday, I did manage to get the routine laundry and grocery shopping done. And took care of a little wardrobe re-organizing too: the summer sandals have now been moved out and replaced with fall shoes/short boots. (Last weekend I had substituted some more fall-appropriate items for the summery pastels/florals: not too woolly yet, but shifting into the brown/rust/olive green range. I'd also successfully laundered some silk shirts in cold water on the handwash cycle . . . . big cost savings and when hung out to dry, they do smell so much better than when they've been dry-cleanedl!)
This week in soup: an Italian-inflected chicken vegetable brown rice, with celery, carrot, wax beans, diced tomatoes, yellow zucchini, garden peas, Roma beans, oregano, basil and rosemary. Had a test bowlful after the gym . . . mmmmm, gonna enjoy this all week.
And I finally got around to making a small pan of apple crisp for dinner, using tart MacIntosh apples (so fiddly to peel: but Charlie loves the peel) with brown sugar, large flake oats, butter and plenty of cinnamon! Served hot, with a little vanilla icecream!
The house smells good when apple crisp is baking in the oven. (First course: a huge salad with low fat feta and lean chicken, to compensate for the higher calorie dessert . . . ). And yes, it was worth the calories in that delicious crunchy crisp, every one of them!
Off to the gym again this morning, and then I hope to the golf course later in the day when it's a little warmer out there. The leaves are just beginning to turn colour on the course, and there are wild asters and goldenrod in full bloom. DH got a hole-in-one Friday night: his second, the previous one having occurred well over 30 years ago now: so that was definitely a red-letter round for him!
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