While there are many rites of passage growing up, one of the biggest ones was bedtime. There is not a kid alive who, at some time or another, did not enter into negotiations about a later bedtime. I can remember growing up and having to stick to the eight-thirty bedtime even in the summer. There was nothing worse than hearing friends still outside playing while I was crying my eyes out because of all the fun I was missing. It turns out my parents were doing me a favor. While I am sure they were putting us to bed early so that they could have a break, science has finally vindicated this practice, however cruel it may have seemed at the time.
The body is governed by many transactions, and these are reliant upon our sources of food, fuel, and rest available to us. This, in turn, stimulates the body’s ability to release hormones that are the bedrock of a normal, healthy, and smooth-running body.
There is a hormone that is released into the bloodstream only when we are asleep or when we are exercising. It is called the human growth hormone. It is responsible for normal growth patterns in children and is important in helping the body repair and restore itself from the damage the body has incurred from the day.
There is a saying that the two hours before midnight are much more productive than the two hours after midnight. When we get the appropriate amount of rest during the appropriate hours, our bodies will be able to avail themselves of the human growth hormone more readily. When we consistently deprive our bodies of the rest they need, this hormone release is diminished and in short supply; this sets the body up to go into the next day carrying the damages from the previous day, which is one of the main culprits behind chronic diseases. It turns out that the early bedtime wasn’t to keep us from having fun but instead to protect us from a host of ailments. I guess our parents did know best.