Sleep is extremely important while you fast. The body and all organs are being cleansed and this is why they need enough rest, which means at least 8 hours of sleep a day. And sleep is not only important during detoxification, but also in everyday life. Dr. Mathew Walker describes in detail in his book Why we Sleep how sleep cycles are repeated in our body. He calls them circadian rhythm which is the central recurring cycle in every living being. Circa means approximate in Latin and diem means day. This powerful force is created by an internal clock in our brains that helps determine when we want to be awake and when we want to sleep.
This approximately 24-hour biological clock is located in the middle of the brains and it is called a suprachiasmatic nucleus. Supra means ''above'' in Latin and chiasm means ''crossroads''. It is a point of crossing of both optic nerves coming from the eyeballs. They meet in the middle of the brain and then they switch sides. The suprachiasmatic nucleus consists of 20.000 brain cells or neurons (for comparison, the brain consists of approximately 100 billion neurons). This means that the suprachiasmatic nucleus is very small. This tiny clock is the central conductor of the symphony of the rhythm of life - our life and the lives of all living beings. This nucleus conveys to the brain and body its repetitive day and night signal with the help of a circulating hormone called melatonin. As instructed by the suprachiasmatic nucleus, it starts to rise shortly after dark and is sent into the bloodstream by the pineal gland or epiphysis. It reaches its peak at around 4 in the morning.
The pineal gland is the first gland to be formed in the fetus and can be distinguished three weeks after conception. In 1958, dr. Arron Lerner and his associates from Yale discovered that he was producing a substance which was called melatonin. Its technical name is N-acetil-5-metoksi-triptamin.
MELATONIN AND IMMUNE SYSTEM
A Swiss research team of the Experimental Pathology Center led by pathologist dr. Georges J. M. Maestroni, published in 1988 that T-helper cells, which play an essential role in coordinating a part of the whole immune system, have receptors called melatonin. This means that melatonin is essential to their work. It was subsequently demonstrated that melatonin is used to extract substances that significantly increase the effectiveness of the immune system.
Therefore, the amount of melatonin does not only provide us with good sleep but also stimulates the effective healing process and revitalization of the whole organism. T-helper cells begin to secrete a substance called cytokine, next to melatonin. These include the most important substance called IL-4, which stimulates several defense activities. The amount of lgA antibodies (immunoglobulin A) produced by B cells increase in saliva. These antibodies are very important for preventing colds and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. This is important information for people who have an elevated Dosha Kapha and are prone to respiratory diseases. Melatonin also stimulates the activity and reproduction of killing cells called natural killers, NK naturalkillers, which specialize in the destruction of viruses and cancer cells.
Geophysicist Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan discovered in 1729 that plants have their own internal time. He studied it on heliotropic plants. He was particularly interested in a plant called shy mimosa – Mimosapudica. Its leaves follow the sun's movements in the sky during the day, and at night they droop as if they were withered. He put the plant in a closed box where it was in total darkness day and night. Even though it was deprived of the influence of light, it still acted like it was bathing in the sun. De Mairan discovered that every living organism has its own time and is not a slave to the rhythm of the sun. In 1938 Professor Kleitman from Chicago and his assistant Richardson did a similar experiment when they entered a Mammoth cave in Kentucky. In the 32 days of their lives in the dark, the Explorers made an astounding scientific discovery that defined our biological rhythm as “about one day” (circadian) not “exactly one day”.
CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS AND AYURVEDA
Although each of us has a twenty-four-hour pattern, the highest and lowest points are different from one person to another. We don't all have the same circadian rhythm. It is unique to your own body and is genetically engineered. Western doctrine divides people into the morning and evening types and the in-betweens. According to the Ayurvedic protocol, the rhythms are determined using three Doshas that are not only reflected in physiological processes, but also in nature – changing seasons, day and night. In short, it all takes place in the rhythms defined by the traits of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It is well known that the people dominated by Vata are the morning types, the Pittas like to go to bed late and sleep late if possible, and the Kaphas are somewhere in between.
Over a hundred biological processes are known to take place in circadian rhythm. The most famous circadian rhythms in a human being are sleep and waking rhythms. However, these rhythms also influence the rhythm of feeding by means of periodic notifications of hunger and satiety and are connected to the digestive rhythm, therefore, a bowel movement, but also the rhythm of the locomotive activity that is associated with the position and the posture of the body. Here we also count the body temperature fluctuations, hormone levels, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. Our own circadian rhythm and melatonin associated with sleep are very important to us. It is recommended that the body be relaxed two hours before going to bed by meditation or other calming technique. So, get to bed as soon as possible - or at least before midnight.
Walker. Why We Sleep (2017)