Archive for November, 2007

Leptin, Ghrelin and Sleep

Friday, November 16th, 2007

I recently read a very interesting article on the value of sleep. New sleep studies indicate that when we sleep the body is busy working to ensure that we benefit in ways that go beyond just a good rest.

During sleep, hormones that promote growth in children and adults, in addition to chemicals important to the immune system, are secreted. You can become more prone to disease if you don’t get enough sleep, and a child’s growth can be stunted by sleep deprivation.

If sleep is constantly interrupted or we end our sleep prematurely we lose some of the five stages of sleep and therefore also lose the health benefits associated with those stages. For details on the 5 stages of sleep, check out the article, How Sleep Works at “”.

The hours that we sleep also has an impact on the quality of the day we may have. Lack of sleep makes us moody, irritable, unable to focus and may result in great danger if we drive while sleepy. Besides not being able to make decisions that require being alert we may fall asleep at the wheel resulting in death and destruction to ourselves, the victims and family members. Driving while sleepy is as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol.

What really intrigued me was learning about the hormones that regulate appetite, GHRELIN & LEPTIN, that Dr. Humphreys stated sounds more like a “Hungarian comedy-act.” Dr. Keith Humphreys, a professor in Psychiatry at Stanford wrote an article on sleep, titled,  The More You Sleep The Longer You Live, in the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, September, 2nd, 2007.

GHRELIN is produced in the stomach and signals the brain that that we need to eat. LEPTIN, produced by adipose tissue or fat has the opposite effect and lets the brain know that we have had enough to eat. When there is chronic lack of sleep increased amounts of GHRELIN is released, while the release of LEPTIN is diminished. You continue to feel hungry, so you continue to eat, even though the body has had the required amount of calories.

So it seem that we have solutions within us to have a good day. Just try getting more sleep. For more on sleep check out

Diwali – Festival of Lights

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Hindu’s the world over will be celebrating Diwali also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights on the 8th & 9th November, 2007 . The word dÄ«pa or deeya means earthen lamp.

At Diwali, lamps are lit indoors and outdoors. There are several stories which describe the reason for the celebration. The one I am most familiar with is the return of Lord Rama and Sita from the forest to reclaim their throne in the city of Ayodha.

To ease Rama’s return, citizens lit lamps so that he could find his way back at night. As Rama walked through the country the citizens celebrated his return a day earlier in the South with the Northerner’s celebrating the next day.

When we were little we used to clean the house thoroughly, including washing the walls, windows and every nook and cranny. We wore new clothes and enjoyed wonderful, exotic food and sweetmeats. Families visited and exchanged platters of sweetmeats and cookies. In the evening a prayer was performed, lamps were lit and we celebrated with dinner and fireworks. Neighbors all around lit fireworks and it was was always a special time for families as everyone watched the displays together.

As with most Hindu festivals, there is always another deeper meaning associated with the myths that give rise to the celebrations. Light is  meant to signify that darkness in our hearts can be overcome with light or truth.

Although it is good to spring clean our homes, it is also an opportunity to look within and cleanse the pain and enmity we may hold. It is a time to  ease off  the need for retaliation  and find new ways to cope with difficult times.

Diwali is  a time to celebrate  together with family and friends. It encourages congeniality, sharing,  caring, peace and harmony.

Do you have any special memories of Diwali? Give me your comments on how Diwali impacts your life. For more articles of interest on quality living visit the links on the right.