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Get That Bedtime Rhythm

April 15, 2009

Get That Bedtime Rhythm: Circadian Rhythm Synchronization

Most human clock genes are regulated by the hormone
melatonin, produced by the pineal gland in the brain during the night.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin
once  synthesized is released into the bloodstream and acts on cells through
glycoproteins (G-proteins) and later is degraded in the liver along genetically
determined cytochrome P450 enzymatic pathways. Certain plants, such as
valerian and tomatoes, contain the largest amount of the phytohormone
melatonin. Valerian synergizes with anesthesia and should be avoided prior
to surgery since it works through the 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT) receptor
to promote sleep. Currently, the only melatonin drug on the market approved
by the FDA for insomnia is ramelteon (Rozerem).

People respond to drugs and chemicals differently at varying times of
the day, due to the chemical circadian rhythm of hormonally mediated
neuroendocrine responses. Essential oils can be consumed to enhance and
synchronize the biorhythm of the body. Brain hormones such as melatonin
and serotonin have definite receptor-driven interactions with certain chemical
components found in essential oils. Essential oils that are known stimulants
of the central nervous system, such as pepper and grapefruit, cause a twofold
increase in sympathetic activity and probably should not be used prior to
naptime or bedtime. The essential oils that have stimulating properties can be
readily used as a pick-me-up in the late afternoon or as a natural exercise or
sports performance enhancer.

Certain other oils calm and relax the nervous system. Rose and patchouli
oils cause a 30% decrease in sympathetic activity. Rose oil also has anticonflict
and antianxiety properties. Sleep chemistry is cyclic and is readily disrupted
by events or medical conditions like sleep apnea, which is often associated
with obesity. Certain essential oils act as astringents and decongestants that
may shrink the mucosal membranes to clear air passages while relaxing the
nervous system for a restful sleep.

Good Night

Sleep well

The oilMD

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