Mindful

The Science of Deep Sleep

There’s a master clock inside your head. Tucked deep inside your brain, this expert timekeeper keeps all of the cells in your body running smoothly, protects you from chronic disease, and helps you have deep, rejuvenating sleep. To keep these systems ticking along, this internal clock relies on a steady diet of healthy habits and mindful routines.

Unfortunately, steadiness and routine can be hard to come by, especially since overload and uncertainty seem to be the hallmarks of 2020. Many of us are navigating strained relationships due to lack of physical proximity (or political proximity), souped-up tech algorithms leading us down information rabbit holes, and a generalized din of dread caused by the pandemic.

In the best of times, stress can interrupt our sleep patterns and cause us to lose hold of the daily habits and rhythms that keep us healthy. In today’s culture of disruption, it’s even more important that we create daily habits that support our well-being so we can get rejuvenating sleep and allow our minds to remain receptive and open in order to meet the unique challenges of the COVID era.

What most of us may not realize is how nearly all of our cells, tissues, and organs rely on internal daily rhythms, or circadian clocks, to keep our bodies running smoothly and in peak health under the watchful eye of the master clock. And those internal daily clocks rely on routines and timing in order to keep ticking for our optimal health.

The master clock is headquartered in the supra-chiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the brain’s hypothalamus. There are peripheral clocks located all over the body—in the heart,

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