Happy Sunday, August 6, 2023.  It is day 24 of the 30-day Walking for Those on a Cancer Journey raising awareness and fundraising campaign and what a journey it has been.  Saturday, I walked 14 miles in celebration of Cindy May, nine-year breast cancer survivor, member of the northern Arizona committee for the CSCAZ Board of Directors, and marketing director for Cindy May Marketing, the organization that designs marketing campaigns, social media, and e-mail correspondence for CSCAZ.  Thanks for sharing your beautiful smile and your marketing expertise with me Cindy May, I appreciate you so much.

Friday we were looking into sleep, rest, and relaxation.  We all know what happens when we don’t get adequate nighttime rest: we feel lousy the next day. And no wonder, because when we’re tired from too little sleep, we become vulnerable to a cascading effect of negative biological consequences. We may become both mentally and physically sluggish in ways that profoundly affect our quality of life and make us much more prone to accidents or illness, including chronic disease.

Since our body clock regulates everything from sleeping and eating cues, core body temperature, hormone production, the regulation of insulin and glucose excretion, cell regeneration, brain wave activity— the list goes on and on— ignoring its cues costs us economically (in lost wages); socially (in poor communication and inter personal stress); mentally (by prompting everything from depression to psychosis, depending on how “broken” our clock has become); and physically (in the suppression of the immune system and the weakening of the body’s overall ability to fend off illness and re-generate health).

Learning to identify and respect our unique circadian rhythm is essential to wellness and disease prevention. All it takes is a willingness to listen in to the subtle— and not so subtle— cues our biological clocks give us throughout the day and to adjust our lifestyle choices so that they acknowledge and support these natural signals.

Sleep regulates our appetite.  When we sleep well, we eat well and are more able to sustain a healthy weight.

Sleep regulates key biological processes linked to obesity.

Sleep is essential to being physically at our best.  Our muscles and cells need sleep to regenerate, detox, and heal.

Sleep is essential to a positive mood. Being well-rested allows us to effectively respond to stressors throughout our day and have healthy relationships.

Sleep is essential for mental performance. We need to be well-rested to be responsive and avoid accidents and injury.

Sleep is the timekeeper of our health: if we sleep well, we are more likely to prevent disease and have better outcomes, including cancer outcomes.

Research has demonstrated that sleep is the link between stress and poor health. Poor sleep allows stress to get into our cells, making us more vulnerable to illnesses and, possibly, poor outcomes. At MD Anderson in the CompLife Study, improving sleep in breast cancer patients helps women experience less stress and regain their vitality. When we relax and let go as best we can, our minds and bodies are better able to do what they do best – to heal and strengthen us.

Today I am walking for the participants in the 15-minutes of movement classes offered at CSCAZ through the Zoom platform each Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30 am and 4:30 pm.  The participants in this movement class are doing what they can do to improve their health through movement every day.