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There is almost nothing in the body that does not depend significantly on the biorhythm. It regulates energy and hormone balance, metabolism, the immune system, stress resilience, physical performance and so much more. 

This is why it is so important to consider if we want to be healthy and happy.

In fact, in my osteopathic treatment, especially for chronic complaints and chronic pain, the regulation of the biorhythm and sleep is indispensable.

What actually influences our biorhythm the most?

Light has the greatest influence on the biorhythm. Temperature also has an influence. If it is very warm you can't sleep, warmth leads to lateness. 

The factor of food or time of the evening meal is less big. However, we don't sleep as well when we eat late. 

Heavy social activities with lots of stimuli in the evening can also contribute to lateness. (Hey, but honestly, a nice party once in a while certainly has other health-giving effects).

All in all, being late is much easier than being early. We all know that. We can let the night grow longer in the evening. However, it is much harder to try to get to sleep when we decide to go to bed earlier. 

This is also the reason why travelling from Germany to the USA is much easier for us to cope with than the other way round. In fact, this influence is so strong that in NFL, NHL and NBA games, teams from the western US have to travel east to play teams from the eastern US, twice more successful than the other way around (Roy, Forest, 2018)

The system of biological rhythms

Biological rhythms, like every vibration, presuppose a polarity in the organism between whose poles the back and forth of the vibration can take place. This basic polarity is found, for example, in the autonomic nervous system in the form of the antagonists sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which stand for readiness to perform and readiness to recover. The daily rhythm, already mentioned by the naturopath Hufeland as the basic unit of biological temporality, actually represents a great oscillation between the sympathetically accentuated day and the vagally accentuated night. Within the framework of this oscillation, practically all physiological and even some anatomical parameters are changed with varying degrees of amplitude. 

Examples of physiological parameters are heart rate, body temperature, all body hormones, the parameters of the immune system and digestion. Anatomically, for example, the body size and the joint circumference as well as the joint mobility change. Every morning at around 6:00 a.m. we are at our largest and the joint swelling is most pronounced, which brings with it a simultaneous reduction in joint mobility and increase in any joint complaints. In the evening at 20:00 we are then at our smallest. Contrary to intuition, this cyclical change in size is not or not only due to the load on our skeleton caused by our body weight during the course of the day. It can also be observed when test subjects are allowed to stand for 60 minutes and lie down for 60 minutes in a 2-hour rhythm and then the measurement is carried out over 24 hours.

lifestyles that run counter to the natural order in the relationship of the inner rhythmic biology with external zeitgebers - sunlight is particularly essential here - are a predisposition to disease, whereas a rhythmic lifestyle provides the basis for health.

Here is some really cool and very practical information on biorhythms for your health.

  • Artificial light, especially in the evening with high levels of blue light, is a major risk factor for illness as it upsets the biorhythms of many people.
  • Chronically ill people often seem to have shifts in their daily rhythms (Kanikowska et al. 2015; Moore-Ede et al. 1983; Luce 1970). For example, changes in sleep cycles affect the immune system (Bollinger et al. 2010). 
  • In the case of people such as athletes in relation to sleep-wake behaviour, jet lag in international competitions, times of meal intake, training procedures and types of exercise, etc., diurnal rhythm considerations play a major role Drust et al. 2005; Hammouda et al. 2013). Differences in time-dependent peak performance can be attributed to internal physiological mechanisms and diurnal rhythmic influences (Facer-Childs and Brandstaetter 2015). 
  • Daily repetitive disruptions can affect performance, health and well-being (Horne and Moseley 2011; Roenneberg et al. 2013; Samuels 2009).
  • According to new findings, chronotypes such as the so-called late owl phenotype or the so-called early lark phenotype do not exist. What does exist are people with different sensitivities to blue light. People who are more sensitive to blue light find it harder to sleep when they are exposed to blue light in the evening - and accordingly become so-called "owls" (Swaminathan et al 2017, Chellappa et al 2012, Cajochen et al 2006). This is really a super insight, because you can actually change it if you are one of those who really get going in the evening and can't get out of bed in the morning for it, but your job requires you to arrive at work smiling at 8 o'clock. Because if you belong to the so-called owls - like me - you only have to be more careful than the so-called "lark type" to avoid blue light in the evening. Thus, two days of sleeping in nature or in natural light are enough so that the so-called "owls" also show normal sleeping behaviour again, i.e. they fall asleep earlier (Wright et al 2013). So every now and then, get the sleeping bag out of the attic and enjoy a few days in nature - It makes you pretty healthy otherwise too, see article: Forest and health
  • And did you know that one hour of tablet use with blue light in the evening reduces melatonin by about 50% (Wood et al 2013). Do what I do and download a night filter (also works with the computer and mobile phone), then everything will appear a little reddish, but I can assure you that you will really fall asleep more easily. And maybe you can even do without it (well, rarely for me, unfortunately).
  • As early as 2002, it could be shown that in test participants who were vaccinated against influenza in a state of sleep deprivation, the antibody titre afterwards was only half as high as in the test group (Spiegel et al 2002). Therefore, sleep well before the Corona vaccination. It may also be interesting to note that osteopathy can improve the vaccination response (Jackson et al 1998).
  • Drinking too much alcohol in the evening disturbs sleep, because melatonin also acts as an alcohol detoxifier in the body. Why do you sleep after all? Because glial cells in the brain "steal" all available energy and the brain then has no more energy available. The result is that the brain virtually shuts down, a kind of comatose sleep that is not restful. If a lot of alcohol is consumed regularly, there is a possibility that the pineal gland will shrink, leading to a chronic melatonin deficiency. (I wish I hadn't written that, now I guess I'll have to follow it myself. But hey, it's about drinking too much alcohol - a glass of red wine now and then is OK).

17 tips to improve sleep in the long term

First of all, light is by far the most important factor influencing sleep. Consequently, intensive light stimuli in the morning and blue light filters in the evening, in addition to melatonin intake, are also the main approaches to sleep regulation. 

  1. Light therapy in the morning (sunlight or daylight lamps with at least 10,000 lux): 20 to 30 minutes; This can also be used in the winter months when you are tired in the morning.
  2. You should not expose yourself to blue light in the evening. For example, you can use blue light filters in your computer and mobile phone or blue light-blocking glasses (Sasseville et al 2006). In addition, lamps that emit blue light should not be used in the evening. Blue light is even capable of suppressing melatonin production through closed eyes (Figueiro et al 2013). The illuminance (lux) is not important, it is actually the blue light component. A candle has no blue light.
  3. Develop a sleep routine, i.e. always go to bed at the same time, or if it is later, it is usually better to get up at the same time.
  4. Sleep outdoors more often, e.g. in the garden or in the forest. This helps because light has the strongest influence on sleep. It is surprising, however, that sleeping in nature normalises the sleep rhythm after only two days.Stothard et al 2017, Wright et al 2013, Swaminathan et al 2017). Still What is more surprising, however, is that this has a lasting effect and can last for weeks.
  5. Take melatonin 3 -5 mg about 30 minutes before going to bed. Possible mechanism of action: Melatonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, but when it reaches the intestine, melatonin production decreases there, so that tryptophan can be used more in the brain as a building material for melatonin. Melatonin also acts as an antioxidant and protects the structure and function of organelles. Apart from this, it also stimulates several antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase, and inhibits proxidative nitric oxide synthase (Reiter et al 2002). Long-term use of melatonin is nevertheless controversial, at least in Germany, as the effects of long-term use have not yet been clarified.
  6. Before going to bed, a hot shower can be taken.
  7. Movement can also influence the biorhythm, but it does not have a great effect. With a normotensive biorhythm, movement does not interfere. If the rhythm is disturbed, movement can help to regulate the biorhythm. During movement, the body temperature rises, then it drops again. 
  8. The temperature in the bedroom should preferably be around 16 to 18" C. If it is too cold, this promotes muscle tension. If it is too warm, you sweat. Also ensure good ventilation, because Fresh air promotes sleep.  A room humidity of 50 to 60 % would be optimal. At the beginning, this should even be somewhat lower, as it increases during sleep. Also, choose a comfortable mattress to sleep on. 
  9. Two hours before sleep, do only calming activities, such as listening to soothing music or reading relaxing books, and avoid exposing yourself to activating social activities in the evening.
  10. If possible, only eat a small meal in the evening.
  11. Take foods containing tryptophan in the evening: Tuna, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, amaranth, egg, buckwheat
  12. Vitamin B12 (reduces light-induced disruption of melatonin), B3, B6 (support serotonin secretion), B9 (folic acid). 
  13. Sleep-promoting herbal tea: Humulus lupulus (hops), Valeriana officinalis (valerian), Melissa officinalis (lemon balm), Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender), Passiflora incarnata (Passion flower), Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort), e.g. Phyto)-beridine or Neurapas
  14. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
  15. Avoid coffee, black and green tea, chocolate, tobacco from the afternoon onwards. 
  16. Children after holidays to get them to bed before the first day of school: very hot shower and give melatonin once.
  17.  Jet lag prevention:
    if flying from west to east: if possible take an evening flight and take 2 to 3 mg of melatonin when boarding the plane, and try to sleep after a meal with a sleep mask, possibly with a sleeping pill such as zolpidem 10 mg.
    b) If flying from east to west: take a morning flight if possible, eat only a small meal to avoid getting tired, drink a lot but no alcohol, watch films or other activities, stay awake. After arrival, go out in the sun without sunglasses. Have a meal around 8pm and take 2 to 3 mg of melatonin for each of the next one to three nights before going to bed. 

Other helps to get to sleep:

  • Anuloma viloma (alternate breathing) for harmonisation and calming: inhale in the left nostril for about 5-10 counts while holding the right nostril closed with the thumb of the right hand. Then exhale into the right nostril for 5-10 counts, this time holding the left nostril closed with the ring finger and little finger of the right hand. Then inhale into the right nostril (ring finger and little finger continue to hold the left nostril closed) and exhale again through the left nostril, with the thumb of the right hand holding the right nostril closed. Repeat this cycle for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  1. Important: Inhalation and exhalation should be felt as very pleasant. There should never be a feeling of breathlessness. The inhalation and exhalation time should be the same and can be shortened or lengthened according to one's own capacity. 
  2. After some practice you can also try to lengthen the exhalation, i.e. e.g. inhale 5 counts and exhale 10 counts. 
  3. Pay particular attention to a relaxed mouth, jaw, eye and abdominal region.
  • Another breathing and visualisation exercise is to visualise a bright light at the pelvic floor or at the bottom of the spine in an upright relaxed posture. While breathing in, draw the light up the spine into the pineal gland. 

The area of the pineal gland can be located by imagining a line from the forehead to about the middle of the back of the head and a second line from the top of one auricle to the top of the other auricle. The intersection of both lines marks approximately the region of the pineal gland. During exhalation, the light is held at the top of the pineal gland. When you inhale again, this light is pulled up to the top again. In the course of the exercise you will have the impression that the light in the area of the pineal gland becomes brighter and brighter. Repeat this exercise for about 5 to 10 minutes. You can also gently tense the pelvic floor while pulling up the light. The tongue can be brought loosely to the roof of the mouth.

  • Trakata: Constantly looking at a candle flame at eye level at a distance of about 35 cm, for 5 to 10 minutes. An upright and relaxed posture and calm breathing are important. The tongue can be brought loosely to the roof of the mouth. After the candle has been blown out, sit with eyes closed until the light impression of the flame diminishes.  
  • Avoid electromagnetic interference fields during sleep (Lerchl et al 2007). Reduction of electrosmog

Most of the information is also contained in my book "Craniosacral Osteopathy" 7th edition from Thiemeverlag from 2019 as well as in the Guide to Visceral Osteopathy by Elsevier 2020. 

Good luck with a good night's sleep!



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