Tyler Lesher, ATC, CSCS, PES, CES, PN-1 Answers
Sleep is the time that we recover from all the activities from the day. It is when we recharge, burn fat, grow muscle, and overall rebuild our body. The issue is, how many of you sleep well enough to actually recover?
When we sleep, our cells adapt, and the mitochondria spark up, produce ATP (energy) through the Krebs cycle. But to do this, we must have sufficient oxygen in our bloodstream. Remember when I discussed the Bohr's effect? We have to have carbon to attach to oxygen and transfer the oxygen to our cells. Once the cell is oxygenated, the cell becomes productive, and we recharge. BUT, what happens if we do not get enough oxygen throughout the day or night? We never recover. We see this with people who have COPD, smoke, obesity (from the weight compressing the lung's inability to expand), and many other metabolic issues. We can go months without eating, weeks without water, days without sleep, and only minutes without oxygen. This is how crucial oxygen and sleep are, especially when paired with each other.
Our cells can produce something called Hypoxic Induced Factor 1 or HIF-1. HIF-1 is produced during states of hypoxia. This product senses cellular oxygen levels. HIF-1 controls aging but also promotes cancer. As we age, pseudo hypoxia can take place. We literally starve ourselves of oxygen at night, which is why people who never sleep, shift workers, or people with metabolic diseases look older than others. A powerful way to keep our body young and cancer-free is to clear HIF-1.
Some HIF-1 is good, too much will kill us. For instance, we want HIF-1 following a workout to help stimulate recovery and make those significant gains. It also helps with our skin regeneration and keeps a younger profile in general. Too much in the brain will disrupt sleep, promote obesity and cancer, and throw off the heart's pacemaking mechanism within the carotid.
So how can we mitigate the amount of HIF-1 in our system is the question. We have to sleep, and we have to sleep well. Here is a laundry list of simple things we can do to increase our deep sleep:
2-3min cold shower before sleep
Yoga flow of downward dog, cobra, childs pose, and forward fold with 2-3 breaths in each pose
4-7-8 breathing (inhale 4 sec, hold 7 sec, exhale 8 sec)
Blue light blockers 2-3 hours before bed
Blackout the bedroom
Put the phone on Do Not Disturb from 10:30-6:00am
Unplug wifi router
Set house temperature to 68 or lower
Minimize phone usage after 8PM
Don't sleep with the TV on
Eat a banana before bed
Lions Mane Tea.
Another way we can clear HIF-1 while we sleep is to take Niacin and Zinc before bed. Also, while working out, we can stimulate recovery by holding our breath on the last 2 exercises. One set with high lung volume (Breath in and hold) and one with low lung volume (breath out halfway then hold).
All of these will help drive down inflammatory cells to promote recovery and health and boost immunity.
In Summary, Immune cells keep everything clean and do the body's housekeeping. When tissues need repair, Macrophages show up. If you can control Macrophages, you can control immunity, health, and aging. Macrophages have duality, both good and bad. They can be killers, show up at the onset of injury, physical, pathogenic, and is also where we find HIF-1. They are 1st responders, recruit inflammation, and start the healing process but need them to go away.
Macrophages are also healers or the cleanup crew. It will clear infections. With aging, bad macrophages are always present.
Too much bad and too few good macrophages:
-Can't lose weight
-Weak immune system
We have to understand how to control, shift, and re-balance macrophage populations. In doing that, we have to sleep well to reduce the amount of HIF-1 and promote total recovery to burn fat effectively.