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Sleep To Grow

Carl Lanore

We've all heard the old adage—“early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Well, now you can add one more item to that list: It also increases androgen receptor sensitivity.

In fact, the mysterious “biological clock” that some would have you believe doesn't really exist—its formal name is the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN)—lies deep in the brain right above the bridge of the nose, and is alive and ticking.

Evidence now exists that its contribution to our daily well-being is greater than once thought. It controls the rhythm of our brain and body; through hormone messengers as well as direct neuronal connection to organs, it prepares the body for the oncoming day. At night while we sleep, hormones play like the instruments in a well-orchestrated symphony.

Deprivation or disruption of normal sleep patterns turns the hormonal symphony into the nightmarish calliope sounds of a bad horror movie. Hormones fire in incorrect sequences— some too much and others not enough.

We already know that these sleep disruptions, if allowed to occur with regularity over long periods of time, lead to various diseases. What has recently been illustrated is that it may be the disruption of the SCN that heralds the onset of metabolic syndrome as well.

Through communication and feedback from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus, the SCN establishes which systems need priming and which need to shut down based upon the 24-hour circadian rhythm. It produces the surges of testosterone experienced by men as well as the pulses of estrogen in women.

What is possibly more pertinent is that the SCN not only orchestrates the production of hormones but also establishes receptor sensitivity. Those same sleep disruptions may impair the ability of hormones to make their appropriate and desired contributions to health, muscle gains, and recovery.

Let’s assume one is on an anabolic steroid cycle and is not getting adequate sleep. The potential benefits of that cycle may not be realized due to the lack of fine-tuning that the SCN bestows on the androgen receptor as it goes through its phases during sleep.

Many of us feel that high doses of anabolic steroids allow us to—or perhaps give us license to—push the recovery envelope and thus train hard and stay up very late at night, day after day. This attitude may be counterproductive in the long run. This lifestyle may lead to less-than-desirable side effects such as glucose management issues, thyroid issues, and poor muscle development and recovery.

For the natural athlete, this type of physical abuse is a formula for disaster. Periods of illness, injury, and regress instead of progress are assured.

The human being is hardwired to sleep when it gets dark and awake when it gets light. Our ancestors, before electric light, lived this way. Modern technology eats into this valuable sleep time by allowing us to stay up late, watching TV or working on the computer. Regardless of your reason for doing it, your body wants to go to sleep when darkness occurs.

Years of pushing these natural urges back so you can stay up later creates an unsynchronized SCN. Based upon my research and personal experience, you can resynchronize the SCN, but it takes between two and six months depending upon your level of disruption. The health and performance benefits are astounding.

About The Author:
Carl Lanore is the host of Super Human Radio, a live talk radio show broadcast Monday through Friday on the AOL SHOUTcast Digital Network. The show covers all topics related to human performance, fitness, nutrition, age management, longevity exercise, physical culture, and strength training. Super Human Radio can also be heard at SuperHumanRadio.com© 2013 All Rights Reserved. This document may not be reproduced, copied or transmitted in part or whole without the expressed written consent of the author.

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