Friday, September 27, 2013

Sleep

Every one knows that sleep does a body good. But do you know a few of the finer things of why this is? In short, sleep lets you recharge your body and mind. A common torture method is in fact keeping someone up for days, they mentally go crazy. But for 99.9% of us, were looking at the more common, squeezing in a few days of 6-7 hours of sleep a night.

Lets look at a few hormones and their implication on metabolism and health. When your sleep restricted your level of the hormone cortisol doesn't go down as much as it should as you approach evening, it should be close to nil, when you go to bed. When cortisol stays high your at more risk for insulin resistance.

Another hormone that is affected by sleep restriction is Leptin. Leptin is released by the fat cells that signals satiety to the brain and thus suppresses appetite and lets your body feel full. When your not getting the sleep you need, your levels of Leptin go down, so you will end up ingesting more calories then your body needs. This correlates with an increase in the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin increases your appetite. So you lose a few hours of sleep over a few days and cortisol levels don't decrease like they should, Leptin goes down, Ghrelin goes up.

An aside is I just read a study where exposure to artificial light disrupted the circadian cell division in rats. 12 hours of darkness, 12 hours of light. Compared to a group that had an hour of light during the normal darkness time and found that cell division was harmed and a large number of genes were affected.

So what to take from all this, maybe a factor in today's obesity epidemic is the result of sleep deprivation. It probably doesn't help that when your not sleeping your not going to the fridge for an organic apple, but a tub of Ben and Jerry's. Oh, and make your bedroom a cave. Dark and cool.
Get those Z's

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Sega Meadows park Connecticut

A local training spot is getting a little bigger. It’s really a matter of convenience when you can ride a mountain bike to a training area. Sega Meadows bike path or sometimes referred to as New Milford River trail is slowly being expanded by the New Milford youth agency. A gravel bike path leads to some really quick single track and drops off to a neat little loop with some cool techie stuff. The trails are not long but doing laps at tempo is great if my time is crunched. I'm targeting either the Darkness 909 Halloween race or Something Wicked - Six Hours of Cathedral Pines in Long Island in November so being able to squeeze in a little more training without always driving to a location is a great help. Below are some shots with descriptions. You can finish off by heading up the 18% climb on Rooster Hollow dirt road or head into Gaylordsville and take the dirt road climb up Front of the mountain road which is one of "those" climbs where your ears pop part way up.
Nice drop roughly 40 feet
Very cool up and over
Fast S bends with some banks
Some short climbs