In the last decade, scientists have uncovered one of the single most important discoveries in human health: America has turned into a land of sleep-deprived zombies. What’s worse, you might be one of them. Sleeplessness, hunger, exhaustion, irritability, poor concentration, and a flat-line in your muscle gains at the gym are due to this manmade problem. It’s five million years in the making, and this epidemic seems to be spreading. Luckily, there are four simple things that you can do for the cure.
So, why can’t we sleep? What is it affecting your gains? Blue Light.
Yeah, that same Blue Light that NASA used to keep astronauts awake for long periods is also coming from your smartphones, tablets, e-readers, televisions, and computers. For the last five million years, humans have had a healthy stress response to Blue Light. When the sun came up emitting invisible blue light in the morning, that was the body’s cue to eat away melatonin and go into fight or flight mode. The blue in the sky meant that danger was around every corner, and we needed to be alert to survive.
In response to Blue Light or the lack of it, a tiny part of the hypothalamus (called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN for short) sends hormonal and metabolic signals to other parts of the brain that control the sleep/wake cycle. Our internal sleeping clock regulates how we build or degrade our muscles. When Blue Light hits your retina, your body’s survival mode is activated and uses nutritional stores to combat the perceived threat.
Each time you get a hit of Blue Light’s optical amphetamines, all those hours of hard-won muscle are broken down as fuel, resetting your muscle clock all over again. Quick glances at screens to check email, texts, or social media fools the body into an endless wake-up cycle. Even worse, you can receive the same stimulation from Blue Light even if your eyes are closed!
That’s why digital insomnia grows at the same rate as smartphone use and why all your gains are rapidly becoming losses. Resetting your muscle clock to anabolic is possible now that we understand how it all pieces together. The following are real-world and proven ways to reset your muscle clock.
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4 Steps To Reset Your Muscle Clock
1. Be Cool: Sleeping in a cooler room (about 68 degrees F) helps activate brown adipose tissue (BAT). Reaction to cooler temperatures is called non-shivering thermogenesis: the trick of hibernating animals to burn fat for warmth. Cool rooms for lean sleep.
2. Go Dark: Think a cave at night. If you can see your hand in front of your face, it’s too light. Do you want to tune out the light? Try the Sleep Master Sleep Mask. To keep from breaking your neck during bathroom breaks, try a little plugin Luna LED Night Light, which gives off warm, non-blue light.
3. Listen, Don’t Look: Digital insomnia comes from manmade light pollution. Nature is the cure. There are many apps of recorded nature sounds. My personal favorite is humpback whale calls. Sounds weird, but it’s a kind of sonic valium. The Conair Sound Therapy Sound Machine is another choice, plus it also offers the benefit of white noise.
4. Consider Certain Supplements: There are nextgen plant-based supplements that actually help “block the blue” of smartphones. It has the potential to improve sleep 15-85 minutes while lowering stress hormones. This is the world’s first chrono-biotic: a natural clock
changer in your favor.
Look, smartphones are here to stay, and they’re more powerful and prevalent every day. Now that we understand how screens harm sleep and break down muscle, we can take the steps needed to sleep again.
From here on, you set your internal clock’s time.
– By Bob Fritz, FitPro USA LLC