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Sleep, cortisol, insulin--in relation to the gut (etc.!)

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
Note: This thread has been split from the Resistant Starch thread

I think I just figured out something really important that has been starring me in the face forever but I just haven't made the appropriate connections.

I was reading some stuff yesterday about eating to support your circadian rhythm where the author suggested eating a lot of carbs upon waking to help blunt naturally high morning cortisol levels.

20-3-F2.jpg


Now assuming the average person goes to sleep around 11:00 pm and wakes up 8 hours later at 7am and eats breakfast around 7:45am this is what their cortisol levels will look like.

Notice how cortisol levels are highest right before a person wakes up. As they wake up levels begin to drop. Eating carbs generates insulin which counteracts cortisol and helps bring that down throughout the day.

This is seen as "normal" but I am beginning to wonder if "normal" is actually really screwed up from a hormonal perspective. While many things in the body ebb and flow, that is more like a massive spike similar to a huge insulin spike for someone who has poor insulin control, rather than a nice fluctuation around a homeostatic line.

For as long as I can remember I have been waking up utterly exhausted usually from nightmares and it takes me all day to get my energy back. Usually I feel best between 8pm and 2am. If the above graph reflected my exhaustion levels it would be pretty darn close! Duh!

The nightmares in the early morning hours make sense in that cortisol is a a stress hormone, and leads to nervous system activation. Cortisol is also catabolic leading to the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. When you sleep your body is fasting. High cortisol also impairs your immune system and causes wounds to heal slower. Excessive cortisol also causes collagen loss from the skin and reduces bone formation. It also impairs learning and long term memory retrieval. Can't remember your dreams? I usually have woken up muscles tight and stiff, adrenals depleted, emotionally exhausted, energy depleted and no appetite to boot and then not eating which by prolonging the stress response.

A lot of western breakfasts are high fat/fiber/protein such as eggs, bacon, cereal & milk. Oh and then a cup of cortisol boosting coffee. Perhaps westerners have got it all wrong and some insulin promoting carbs may be better, a potato or some rice perhaps. When I traveled to Japan I always had rice for breakfast.

I don't want you to get the impression that cortisol is evil, it is naturally very good for you if your survival is threatened and your in danger and need to move quickly. However is this the case for most people between the hours of 4am and 8am??

If you remember a while back I was interested in polyphasic sleeping where instead of sleeping in the modern human contrived 8 hour time increment it is perhaps more natural/ancestral to sleep in two 3-4hr segments separated by 8-12 hours. Many animals do this already naturally, but many humans have eschewed this.

When i first started taking RS it seemed to me that it was coaxing my body more towards this polyphasic style of sleeping. The natural outcome would be that I would be eating every 4 hours instead of starving myself for 8 and inducing a massive cortisol spike. Thus it seems that a person following this kind of eat/sleep schedule can completely eliminate the huge early morning cortisol spike and all it's associated negative aspects.

The defining aspects of CFS/ME is fatigue! And the modern "normal" eat/sleep schedule appears to thus be very detrimental to many if not perhaps most people. I mean who purposely wants to impair their immune system, slow healing and rejuvenation in the body, enhance catabolism right when you want to be doing the opposite? Sleep is supposed to be rejuvenating! The thing is if you do it too much at once, it has the opposite effect.

I suspect many people may be inducing adrenal fatigue by following the "normal" sleep/eat schedule. I suspect most CFS/ME people suffer from this.

Cortisol also has consequences on your micro-biome and can increase leaky-gut.

Consider the following from: http://www.ucc.ie/en/cns/news/newsarchive2012/Mind-alteringmicroorganisms.pdf

gut-microbiota-HPA-axis-resistant-starch-prebiotic-bacteria.jpg


microbiota-stress-prebiotic-resistant-starch.jpg


Now I know many people are probably quite adverse to changing the way they have been sleeping their entire life. I now, force myself to wake up after about 4-5 hours of sleeping and eat some carbs to boost insulin a bit to dampen cortisol. If I'm still tired I will go back to bed and nap, but at least it will be more rejuvenating this way.

It has been a "belief" that you need 6-8 hrs of consecutive sleep for proper rejuvenation. Many people thus will get anxiety if they think they are not getting what they are "supposed" to. Hopefully this post can change some of the psychology around this. And remember you can still get all the sleep you need, just tweak it so your cortisol doesn't spike. Eat some carbs every 4 hours. Your body, mind and microbes will thank you. :thumbsup:

Siesta anyone?;)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
I think I just figured out something really important that has been starring me in the face forever but I just haven't made the appropriate connections.

I was reading some stuff yesterday about eating to support your circadian rhythm where the author suggested eating a lot of carbs upon waking to help blunt naturally high morning cortisol levels.

20-3-F2.jpg


Now assuming the average person goes to sleep around 11:00 pm and wakes up 8 hours later at 7am and eats breakfast around 7:45am this is what their cortisol levels will look like.

Notice how cortisol levels are highest right before a person wakes up. As they wake up levels begin to drop. Eating carbs generates insulin which counteracts cortisol and helps bring that down throughout the day.

This is seen as "normal" but I am beginning to wonder if "normal" is actually really screwed up from a hormonal perspective. While many things in the body ebb and flow, that is more like a massive spike similar to a huge insulin spike for someone who has poor insulin control, rather than a nice fluctuation around a homeostatic line.

For as long as I can remember I have been waking up utterly exhausted usually from nightmares and it takes me all day to get my energy back. Usually I feel best between 8pm and 2am. If the above graph reflected my exhaustion levels it would be pretty darn close! Duh!

The nightmares in the early morning hours make sense in that cortisol is a a stress hormone, and leads to nervous system activation. Cortisol is also catabolic leading to the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. When you sleep your body is fasting. High cortisol also impairs your immune system and causes wounds to heal slower. Excessive cortisol also causes collagen loss from the skin and reduces bone formation. It also impairs learning and long term memory retrieval. Can't remember your dreams? I usually have woken up muscles tight and stiff, adrenals depleted, emotionally exhausted, energy depleted and no appetite to boot and then not eating which by prolonging the stress response.

A lot of western breakfasts are high fat/fiber/protein such as eggs, bacon, cereal & milk. Oh and then a cup of cortisol boosting coffee. Perhaps westerners have got it all wrong and some insulin promoting carbs may be better, a potato or some rice perhaps. When I traveled to Japan I always had rice for breakfast.

I don't want you to get the impression that cortisol is evil, it is naturally very good for you if your survival is threatened and your in danger and need to move quickly. However is this the case for most people between the hours of 4am and 8am??

If you remember a while back I was interested in polyphasic sleeping where instead of sleeping in the modern human contrived 8 hour time increment it is perhaps more natural/ancestral to sleep in two 3-4hr segments separated by 8-12 hours. Many animals do this already naturally, but many humans have eschewed this.

When i first started taking RS it seemed to me that it was coaxing my body more towards this polyphasic style of sleeping. The natural outcome would be that I would be eating every 4 hours instead of starving myself for 8 and inducing a massive cortisol spike. Thus it seems that a person following this kind of eat/sleep schedule can completely eliminate the huge early morning cortisol spike and all it's associated negative aspects.

The defining aspects of CFS/ME is fatigue! And the modern "normal" eat/sleep schedule appears to thus be very detrimental to many if not perhaps most people. I mean who purposely wants to impair their immune system, slow healing and rejuvenation in the body, enhance catabolism right when you want to be doing the opposite? Sleep is supposed to be rejuvenating! The thing is if you do it too much at once, it has the opposite effect.

I suspect many people may be inducing adrenal fatigue by following the "normal" sleep/eat schedule. I suspect most CFS/ME people suffer from this.

Cortisol also has consequences on your micro-biome and can increase leaky-gut.

Consider the following from: http://www.ucc.ie/en/cns/news/newsarchive2012/Mind-alteringmicroorganisms.pdf

gut-microbiota-HPA-axis-resistant-starch-prebiotic-bacteria.jpg


microbiota-stress-prebiotic-resistant-starch.jpg

People with ME have been found to have cortisol levels generally on the low side, and with an abnormal diurnal variation, thus lower than controls in the morning and higher than controls in the evening, which I suspect is one reason why many of us feel better in the evening. See this paper for example. There may be more recent ones that throw more light on the issue.
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
People with ME have been found to have cortisol levels generally on the low side, and with an abnormal diurnal variation, thus lower than controls in the morning and higher than controls in the evening, which I suspect is one reason why many of us feel better in the evening. See this paper for example. There may be more recent ones that throw more light on the issue.

Sure a more recent one from 2005 found Cortisol was lower all-around than controls in CFS (which is an indicator of adrenal-fatigue, btw) and that diurnal variation was normal.

From: http://simonwessely.com/Downloads/Publications/CFS/171.pdf
Results: Urinary free cortisol and cortisone
concentrations showed a significant normal diurnal rhythm, but
levels were lower across the cycle in CFS. In contrast, while urinary
cortisol metabolites also showed a normal diurnal rhythm, levels
were not significantly different between the CFS and controls at any
time. Derived metabolite ratios were similar in both groups.
Also
These results–from the evening and morning, respectively–
could reflect a general hypocortisolaemia in CFS. However,
other studies have shown no differences in serum cortisol
levels [5,6]. Thus, there remains some inconsistency in
research to date using serum cortisol to measure basal
hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function in CFS.

To me this is largely irrelevant and the inconsistency in experiments shows that.

My main point is that the high spike in cortisol can be avoided, by timing sleep and carb intake differently. This would provide tremendous health benefits to people with CFS and normal healthy people alike. If sleeping in excess of 5-6 hours at a time puts a significant burden on the body I see no point in doing it.

Napolean was quoted saying: “Six hours for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.”

Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Buckminster Fuller, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill plus many other noted great minds adhered to some form of polyphasic sleeping. To me this is more than just eliminating CFS.....it's about becoming superhuman! :angel:

Again it's not really about sleep I believe, but rather about food and the cortisol response to lack of insulin/carbs. This I believe also has a significant effect on the gut-biome. I think there will also be a lot of individual variation, depending on different rates of metabolism and stress as well.
 
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Vegas

Senior Member
Messages
577
Location
Virginia
People with ME have been found to have cortisol levels generally on the low side, and with an abnormal diurnal variation, thus lower than controls in the morning and higher than controls in the evening, which I suspect is one reason why many of us feel better in the evening. See this paper for example. There may be more recent ones that throw more light on the issue.

Tell me what you think about this graph? Perhaps there is a correlation between the lows and the highs and how someone feels? In other words, feeling worse from roughly 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. and feeling best between 6:00 and 11:30 p.m. This is about the best graphical representation for ME/CFS symptom variation that I can come up with.


Does anyone know what this represents?
upload_2014-4-2_16-40-49.png
 

Vegas

Senior Member
Messages
577
Location
Virginia
My main point is that the high spike in cortisol can be avoided, by timing sleep and carb intake differently. This would provide tremendous health benefits to people with CFS and normal healthy people alike. If sleeping in excess of 5-6 hours at a time puts a significant burden on the body I see no point in doing it.

.

Sleep and timing, yes this can help things. I will agree that one can shift their cortisol curve, over time to some extent. In fact I think this is a good strategy to help even out some of the symptom variation. The problem though is that the corticosteroid response is tied to other fundamental measures, and much of this is outside our control.

Some crazy stuff happens with ME/CFS, I recall, for at least a couple of years, praying for the moment that I would get just a tiny hormonal response, to take me away from the pain. Everyday I would try to weather the moments when the hormonal, energy, and antioxidant response would plummet. I think a number of people can relate to this experience when you can literally feel every hormonal release as they happen throughout the day. It sucks using every ounce of energy you can muster to keep your eyes open or hold a thought.

As to your point about changing sleep, I found that eating in the a.m. and forcing an earlier bed time was immensely helpful, and it definitely alters the hormonal response after some period of time. I also, today, feel better with some carbs in the morning, but this didn't happen until my carbohydrate metabolism became more of an asset than a liability. For many of us, this part of the metabolism is downregulated to prevent further damage.
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
Tell me what you think about this graph? Perhaps there is a correlation between the lows and the highs and how someone feels? In other words, feeling worse from roughly 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. and feeling best between 6:00 and 11:30 p.m. This is about the best graphical representation for ME/CFS symptom variation that I can come up with.

Does anyone know what this represents?View attachment 6903

I am not sure what you are asking but the B,L,D,S represent meals. You eat, insulin levels go up and cortisol goes down. Each successive meal brings cortisol down further seemingly.
circadian.jpg


I am beginning to think about cortisol just like insulin. Imagine consuming a super high GI meal and spiking your insulin levels throught he roof, and you did this every day for decades on end.

Think about cortisol the same way. This is what you do when you sleep 6+ hours and fast. After a while the adrenals are going to get worn out, and the cortisol response may not function as well or predictably. The bodies systems will become over-taxed and cortisol supply may operate intermittently being much more vulnerable to a whole host of other factors. Similar to insuiln,...you become over sensitive and things become less predictable.

The medical community references cortisol to circadian rhythm......but to me the reference seems more like food/insulin!!!

Some cortisol gives you energy, too much and it exhausts you. Just like carbs, a little is good, too much and your insulin goes sky high. Moderation is key here. Seems to also then apply to sleep and meal frequency as well which few people have picked up on.
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
As to your point about changing sleep, I found that eating in the a.m. and forcing an earlier bed time was immensely helpful, and it definitely alters the hormonal response after some period of time. I also, today, feel better with some carbs in the morning, but this didn't happen until my carbohydrate metabolism became more of an asset than a liability. For many of us, this part of the metabolism is downregulated to prevent further damage.

This is what would happen to me. If I sleep 6+ hours, I'll wake up for a bit between 6-7hr mark, with a bit of hunger. Ill feel light headed and tough it out, and then about 5 minutes later my metabolism will down-regulate. It's like a switch I can actively feel it happen. Then i'll drift back to sleep.

Then once I finally wake up after sleeping an extra 1-2 hours (so total 7-8hrs), ill have no appetite & feel sluggish. My body has been just damaging itself for the last 2+ hours catabolizing my muscles to support my brain compromising my immunity and a whole host of other systems.

I can now resolve this by forcing myself out of bed after 4-5 hours of sleep and eating something. Then I don't have to deal with the downregualted metabolism that is trying to prevent damage. My point is can you dictate to some degree if your metabolism is going to be a liability or not.
 

Vegas

Senior Member
Messages
577
Location
Virginia
I am not sure what you are asking but the B,L,D,S represent meals. You eat, insulin levels go up and cortisol goes down. Each successive meal brings cortisol down further seemingly.

This is actually a graph, which reflects the ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione in healthy humans. I think this measure much more closely parallels what patients with ME/CFS experience than any cortisol curve. Notice that there is only a very small window in the a.m. where this one measure of redox status is optimal. It precipitously declines until lunch.

I think, if someone with ME/CFS is going to exert himself/herself in the a.m., it needs to be brief. The more forgiving time to exert oneself will be during the lasting redox window, which is most commonly from about 5 to midnight, although obviously earlier would be better. (realizing that many don't fit this pattern, I do think it is the most common though) While sleeping GSSG naturally falls, so regardless of GSH synthesis, this redox ratio improves, and our bodies can execute general detoxification. I believe this pattern relating to symptom severity doesn't just apply to ME/CFS, it applies to inflammatory diseases, in general.

This measure of redox status,while not perfect, strongly reflects ones ability to mitigate the effects of oxidative stress. I think it shouldn't be especially relevant, as we have surplus capacity to suppress oxidative stress when we are healthy, but in those with compromised resources, this unfortunately becomes germane.


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adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
The cortisol graph fits my symptoms. I am usually okay in the morning, but at my worst at around 16, then I get better again around 19.

I am not sure I see the value in blunting morning cortisol. You want high cortisol in the morning. On my tests, I am always flatlined throughout the day. If anything I want more cortisol, not less.

It's true that cortisol can have negative effects on the immune system, especially bacterial infections, but I suspect ME/CFS is more a inflammation mediated disease, and for this cortisol is helpful. In short, cortisol is the most effective anti-inflammatory agent there is.

I would probably be more interested in blunting epinephrine than cortisol. Cortisol has more of a calming feeling than a wired, stressful feeling. It is a hormone that allows you to deal with stressful events in a controlled manner. Now when you have high E/NE combined with low cortisol, that's when you really feel shitty and unable to respond to stress.

Veterans who develop PTSD has been associated with lower cortisol levels prior to engagement, so in many ways cortisol is protective against stress.

Saying that cortisol is catabolic and destroy muscle tissue is really an oversimplification. Cortisol is needed after exercise to repair muscle tissue, and to blunt inflammation.

Again, blunting cortisol when you need it the most is a bad idea, IMO. Instead of calling it blunting, or avoiding spikes, you might as well call it impairing your stress response. In a stressful situation you want a cortisol spike, and then you want it to drop down again quickly. You don't want a blunted or prolonged response. It's the long drawn out response that's the killer, not the spike.

That said, I agree that providing a steady flow of carbs to avoid overtaxing the adrenals is a good idea.
 
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Vegas

Senior Member
Messages
577
Location
Virginia
The cortisol graph fits my symptoms. I am usually okay in the morning, but at my worst at around 16, then I get better again around 19.

I am not sure I see the value in blunting morning cortisol (or anytime else). You want high cortisol in the morning. On my tests, I am always flatlined throughout the day. If anything I want more cortisol, not less.

It's true that cortisol can have negative effects on the immune system, especially bacterial infections, but I suspect ME/CFS is more a inflammation mediated disease, and for this cortisol is helpful. In short, cortisol is the most effective anti-inflammatory agent there is.

I would probably be more interested in blunting epinephrine than cortisol. Cortisol has more of a calming feeling than a wired, stressful feeling. It is a hormone that allows you to deal with stressful events in a controlled manner. Now when you have high E/NE combined with low cortisol, that's when you really feel shitty and unable to respond to stress.

Veterans who develop PTSD has been associated with lower cortisol levels prior to engagement, so in many ways cortisol is protective against stress.


I think if you look at the relative ratio of GSH/GSSG in the a.m., feeling o.k. in the a.m. is not unexpected. This is a healthy curve you are looking at, with the expectation that this ratio follows the same trend line, but is significantly depressed at all points.You will notice that the levels are still fairly high for most of the a.m. In fact, your feeling at your lowest at 1600 then rebounding at 1900 suggests to me that you stay up fairly late and probably consume more calories, including higher cysteine foods fairly late. You still have that same redox "valley" it just happens to be later than many. To me this is a bit of an acquired pattern that develops with inflammatory disease and caloric content and sleep get pushed back.

I didn't say anything about blunting cortisol, I don't think. Yes, you want a normal cortisol curve, yes it makes us feel good, but you only want it if you have to have it. The adrenocortical response is governed by the inflammatory response. We need to control inflammation at a more fundamental level. Cortisol secretion is just covering up the damage.

Speaking of PTSD. These patients develop the same pattern as is found in Depression, high-cortisol at night.
 

adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
@Vegas

You are right that I eat dinner fairly late, usually around 20, and go to bed around 23. Good guess.
 

Vegas

Senior Member
Messages
577
Location
Virginia
@Vegas

You are right that I eat dinner fairly late, usually around 20, and go to bed around 23. Good guess.

I've generally found that some of the best symptomatic improvement was brought about by those things that are known to suppress an adrenocortical response: phospholipids, dimethylglycine, Mg, pantethine, controlled exertion, low glycemic load, etc. These things are in large part protecting our mitochondria where the process of cortisol secretion is initiated.

Do you have something that you find particularly valuable in terms of symptom improvement, regardless of the symptom?
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
Saying that cortisol is catabolic and destroy muscle tissue is really an oversimplification. Cortisol is needed after exercise to repair muscle tissue, and to blunt inflammation.

Again, blunting cortisol when you need it the most is a bad idea, IMO. Instead of calling it blunting, or avoiding spikes, you might as well call it impairing your stress response. In a stressful situation you want a cortisol spike, and then you want it to drop down again quickly. You don't want a blunted or prolonged response. It's the long drawn out response that's the killer, not the spike.

That said, I agree that providing a steady flow of carbs to avoid overtaxing the adrenals is a good idea.

Well according to fitness nutrition expert Lyle McDonald, you want to be consuming your largest meal of the day right after your workout. In fact there is some debate among fitness nutritionists whether there is an opportune window of repair in that if you eat a large meal within 30mins or 60mins after a workout you get maximal repair benefit. So athletes ideally are spiking insulin which therefore will blunt cortisol as soon after exercise as possible. Also most bodybuilding nutrition is designed around having a near permanent stream of amino acids entering the blood 24/7. Consuming slow digesting proteins like casein therefore is done at night because it often takes a full 6 hours to digest completely. You want to reduce catabolism as much as possible.

I don't see why you need cortisol "the most" in the 3 hours before waking up? This is where most people get it. Sleep is not supposed to be a stressful situation.

During exercise ya of course you want it to be high or if you are running from a tiger. Again I am not advocating for permanent low cortisol, I just don't see any point in spiking it while you sleep.

Also to your other point I'm pretty sure E/NE track pretty close to cortisol. As per you other point about CFS being all about inflammation mediation, inflammation is a secondary effect from a primary catabolic like effect. In this case leaky gut is likely one of the primary factors. Your body won't be trying to fix leaky gut if your cortisol is being jacked which leads to more inflammation, which leads to more stress response. A vicious negative cycle can establish. If you can at least interrupt the negative cycle and promote intestinal membrane anabolism you can stop the inflammation before it starts, rather than trying to actively suppress it. Cortisol may be the most anti-inflammatory agent there is but it's also the most counter-productive to ACTUAL healing and repair.
 
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adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
Do you have something that you find particularly valuable in terms of symptom improvement, regardless of the symptom?
Well, I find things like pregnenolone, DHEA and the SSRI I'm taking particularly helpful. But also B vitamins, magnesium and antioxidants, and avoiding low carb dieting or fasting. Substances that reduce cortisol or aldosterone usually makes me worse.
 

adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
I don't see why you need cortisol "the most" in the 3 hours before waking up? This is where most people get it. Sleep is not supposed to be a stressful situation.
I agree that it's good to take some carbs when you wake up early, but I'm not gonna set my alarm clock in the middle of the night so I can get up and eat carbs. Anyway what is the evidence that polyphasic sleep is natural? The vast majority of humans to not follow this sleep schedule, and I assume there is a reason for that.
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
The vast majority of humans to not follow this sleep schedule, and I assume there is a reason for that.

There sure is. The advent of the mechanized age and labor efficiency! Squeezing maximal daylight working hours out of human laborers. :devil:

In 2001, historian Roger Ekirch of Virginia Tech published a seminal paper, drawn from 16 years of research, revealing a wealth of historical evidence that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks.

His book At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, published four years later, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern - in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria.

"It's not just the number of references - it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge," Ekirch says.

Ekirch found that references to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century. This started among the urban upper classes in northern Europe and over the course of the next 200 years filtered down to the rest of Western society.

By the 1920s the idea of a first and second sleep had receded entirely from our social consciousness.

"People were becoming increasingly time-conscious and sensitive to efficiency, certainly before the 19th Century," says Roger Ekirch. "But the industrial revolution intensified that attitude by leaps and bounds."

Strong evidence of this shifting attitude is contained in a medical journal from 1829 which urged parents to force their children out of a pattern of first and second sleep.

"If no disease or accident there intervene, they will need no further repose than that obtained in their first sleep, which custom will have caused to terminate by itself just at the usual hour.

"And then, if they turn upon their ear to take a second nap, they will be taught to look upon it as an intemperance not at all redounding to their credit."


"For most of evolution we slept a certain way," says sleep psychologist Gregg Jacobs. "Waking up during the night is part of normal human physiology."

The idea that we must sleep in a consolidated block could be damaging, he says, if it makes people who wake up at night anxious, as this anxiety can itself prohibit sleeps and is likely to seep into waking life too.

Russell Foster, a professor of circadian [body clock] neuroscience at Oxford, shares this point of view.

"Many people wake up at night and panic," he says. "I tell them that what they are experiencing is a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern."

But the majority of doctors still fail to acknowledge that a consolidated eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.

"Over 30% of the medical problems that doctors are faced with stem directly or indirectly from sleep. But sleep has been ignored in medical training and there are very few centres where sleep is studied," he says.

Jacobs suggests that the waking period between sleeps, when people were forced into periods of rest and relaxation, could have played an important part in the human capacity to regulate stress naturally.
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783

Perhaps cortisol and food timing has something do do with it? :thumbdown:
 

MeSci

ME/CFS since 1995; activity level 6?
Messages
8,231
Location
Cornwall, UK
If sleeping in excess of 5-6 hours at a time puts a significant burden on the body I see no point in doing it.

Napolean was quoted saying: “Six hours for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.”

Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Buckminster Fuller, Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill plus many other noted great minds adhered to some form of polyphasic sleeping. To me this is more than just eliminating CFS.....it's about becoming superhuman! :angel:

Again it's not really about sleep I believe, but rather about food and the cortisol response to lack of insulin/carbs. This I believe also has a significant effect on the gut-biome. I think there will also be a lot of individual variation, depending on different rates of metabolism and stress as well.

I agree about the variation, but can't see the significance of the sleep patterns of various famous people without also knowing their health status and lifespans. Many famous, talented people have/had substantial physical and psychological problems.

I slept badly for most of my life until I cut out gluten and reduced sugar and grains. I feel much better when I have slept for 7-8 hours at a time, which I often do now, with just a few brief awakenings for bladder emptying. I used to wake up ravenous, probably due to the blood-sugar swings that a high-carb diet tends to produce. If I didn't eat quickly I would get nauseous and at my worst I would retch and vomit. Not any more.
 

Gestalt

Senior Member
Messages
251
Location
Canada
I agree about the variation, but can't see the significance of the sleep patterns of various famous people without also knowing their health status and lifespans. Many famous, talented people have/had substantial physical and psychological problems.

I don't know about the other people but Tesla was healthy, mentally well and chipper to a ripe old age. This isn't just about famous/talented people, but rather how humans have slept throughout evolutionary history. Sleeping 7-8 hours at once is abnormal/atypical and unnatural in the greater evolutionary context as my previous post with abundant anthropological as well as medical evidence shows.
 

adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
A prime example of "body hacking", polyphasic sleep does not occur naturally in large populations. People don’t normally sleep this way. Anecdotal evidence suggests most practitioners are men in their 20s and 30s who imagine they are geniuses or want to identify with geniuses who have reportedly followed this practice. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that most people who try polyphasic sleep give up on it within a few months.

There is not much scientific evidence to support the polyphasic sleep theory. Sleep researchers do not investigate this practice, and medical professionals, including sleep specialists, do not recommend this technique. Everything we know about sleep suggests it is a sketchy idea, although it is unlikely to harm anyone so long as the practitioners do not drive or operate heavy machinery while sleepy.

http://www.sleepdex.org/polyphasic.htm
 

xjhuez

Senior Member
Messages
175
I don't know if it's my adrenals or blood sugar, but something wakes me up between the 4-5 hour mark every night.

Typical night: hit the bed at 11 and immediately fall asleep (wife confirms it takes me 30 secs), sleep soundly until around 3-3:30 then spend the next few hours in awful, fragmented sleep. Occasionally I wake up anxious, but that's rare these days.

RS hasn't helped at all, unfortunately.