This fascinating, thought-provoking study discusses the central role of sleep in our lives. After probing the scientific literature, Wiley and Formby, researchers at the Sansum Medical Research Institute, conclude that "the disastrous slide in the health of the American people corresponds to the increase in light-generating night activities and the carbohydrate consumption that follows." Our internal clocks are governed by seasonal variations in light and dark; extending daylight artificially leads to a craving for sugar, especially concentrated, refined carbohydrates that, in turn, cause obesity. More seriously, lack of sleep inhibits the production of prolactin and melatonin--deranging our immune systems and causing depression, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The authors prescribe sleeping at least nine and a half hours in total darkness in the fall and winter and switching to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. They support their arguments with 100 pages of notes and by tracing the progression of disease from hunter-gatherers to our high-tech society...
---Review by Ilse Heidmann, San Marcos, TX
And this is what I've been hearing about for the past few weeks as Ben gets through the book. So naturally, the pursuit of sleeping in TOTAL darkness has become a big part of our life in our new place. This wasn't possible in our old apartment for a number of reasons (primarily one HUGE window with the inability to find curtains big enough to cover it and no doors separating the bedroom from the other rooms), but it is possible in our new place. We spent the first day or two of our move arguing about which room would be the bedroom for just this reason. Ben wanted the bedroom to be in our "den," the tiny, extra room with no windows that would basically hold only the bed (if that!). I wanted our bedroom to be in the bedroom, of course, but Ben was worried about the large window letting in too much light while we slept. The only way that I was able to convince him to move our bed into the actual bedroom was to promise that I would find a way to blackout the window so that we could sleep in total darkness. And that's where we are now.
Interested in learning more? Read this great, short article on the way that light affects our sleep. This is from one of Ben's favorite blogs about "primal living in the modern world," Marks Daily Apple.
I'll keep you posted on how this new sleep set-up does or does not change my daily life--or at least my level of sleepiness and carb cravings throughout the day--and encourage you to read up on it and think about how making changes to your sleep situation could help you get a better night's sleep. It's definitely worth pondering a bit!
Have a restful Monday :)