|Your Hormone Clock (by NESHMIA)
Whether you're sleeping, eating or having a cuddle, hormone are at work behind the scenes
They're the body's chemical messengers and they relay information and instructions to cells and organs all over the body. They prod you awake, get you revved up at work, remind you to eat, keep you happy and hopefully send you off for a restful night's sleep.
These tiny communicators are hormones and your body produces at least 40 of them. Levels of your key daily hormones melatonin, cortisol, insulin, human growth hormone, serotonin, ghrelin and adrenaline rise and fall as needed over 24 hours. Here's what they get up to in the course of a day.
Get Up And Go!
Cortisol is your body's alarm clock and levels of this stress hormone rise steadily from about 4am. As cortisol increases, melatonin, a sleeping hormone, starts to drop. Cortisol provides the kick-start for your organs, signalling it's time for your blood pressure to rise and your heart rate to increase in readiness for the day ahead.
Take a walk first thing to tweak your body clock. The most powerful light for resetting the brain sleep clock is light around dawn. Aim for at least a 35-minute walk in the early morning light without a hat or sunglasses at that time.
But when your boss drops a pile of files on your desk to be dealt with urgently, cortisol levels shoot back up, along with other stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenalin. It starts to make your brain feel edgy and under stress. Although these stress hormones help you become mentally alert, you don't want to have high levels in your bloodstream constantly or you'll feel in an agitated state all the time.
If you're feeling stressed, incorporate a yoga session or two into your week.
Those pangs are the work of one of the body's most important hormones – insulin. It regulates blood sugar levels and when it gets too low, it's responsible for giving you that hungry sensation. It also signals the brain to eat when the stomach is empty. Once you've eaten and your pancreas detects glucose in the bloodstream, it responds by releasing insulin, which transports the glucose to cells in the muscles. Insulin helps convert the food that you eat into the energy you need for every bodily function.
Think about visiting the gym at lunchtime. A UK study shows that a vigorous 60-minute session on the treadmill may suppress levels of ghrelin, helping you to be less hungry and eat less.
There's a reason for that sleepy feeling you often experience mid-afternoon. After lunch, your pineal gland produces a small amount of melatonin, making you to desire to lay your head down on the desk for a moment to have a little snooze.
Head out into the sunlight to reset your body clock and reduce the amount of melatonin being produced.
Sweat On It
Exercising after work will produce spikes in human growth hormone (HGH), released during exercise and sleep. HGH helps the body repair itself at night and stimulates fat cells to release their contents after exercise. It also increases the metabolic rate, which helps decrease body fat levels.
Include a period of intense cardio, as well as resistance. Studies show more HGH is released with high-intensity exercise, with resistance or weights added.
Between The Sheets
Once you're home, have had dinner and settled on the couch, your body starts producing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. As your body temperature starts to drop more rapidly, melatonin rises and, if you're lucky, you initiate sleep around 10pm to 11pm.
Heading Off Migraines
Stop blinding head pain in its tracks with these effective strategies
Amigraine is very different to a garden-variety headache. The common symptoms are episodic headache (one side of the head or both) often associated with nausea and sometimes with vomiting. There is often sensitivity to light, sounds and smells. The pain is often throbbing and may be disabling, causing the sufferers to go to bed. Symptoms usually last between four and 24 hours. Women are more susceptible than men. They seem more likely to be affected during the reproductive age range, from the teenage years to about 50. However, some children can be affected and some people continue to suffer migraine into older age. If migraine is making your life miserable, help is at hand. Here we debunk some common myths and offers ways to treat an attack.
The Botox Option
Anti-wrinkle injection is a treatment option for chronic migraine (occurring more than 15 days of the month). Botox is absorbed into the nerve fibres and prevents them from releasing certain chemical transmitters. By preventing the release of these chemicals the Botox reduces input into the pain pathways of the scalp and neck.
In patients who don't overuse caffeine, it can actually be a useful treatment. Some migraine medications actually include caffeine as part of a combination. Reducing caffeine intake suddenly can also trigger migraine in heavy caffeine users.
Don't Be A Weekend Warrior
One common pattern is for migraines to occur at the weekend after a busy week.
If weekend migraine is a problem for you, do your best to stick to your usual schedule as much as possible. That means keeping to your regular sleep schedule and not deviating too much from your weekday caffeine intake and dietary habits. Note: Too much stress can trigger migraine in some people. Yoga, mediation and counseling are very useful tools for relaxing and managing stress levels.
Take A Screen Break
Does staring at a computer screen, iPhone or television bring on a migraine? Break deep concentration at your computer screen with regular breaks to have a cuppa, chat with co-workers or just walk around the block. Try not to constantly scroll through your phone and limit TV use. If it helps, use an anti-glare screen on your PC.
Rest And Cool Off
Sometimes when migraine strikes, the best advice is simple to find a quiet, dark space and lie down. Many patients find cool packs to the face and resting in a darkened room helpful. Most people with migraine also find that if they can sleep, this will also give them some relief.
Avoid Your Personal Food Triggers
It's silly' to give out blanket advice to all migraine sufferers to avoid possible trigger foods like cheese, citrus fruits or chocolate. Foods that have been reported to cause migraines in some people are eaten with impunity by other migraine sufferers.
Catch It Early
It's important for sufferers to recognise the earliest signs. If treated early enough, simple, over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol or aspirin, may be sufficient to prevent the migraine progressing.