Sleep is one of the most important things the body needs not only for recovery, but metabolic regulation. If there is a loss of quality sleep whether it’s acute or chronic it triggers multiple HPA axis dysfunctions, one of which is an increase in inflammatory response which leads to increase in cortisol. Just 2 back to back nights of less sleep than your body needs/requires can cause big changes in your circadian production of cortisol. These among many other reasons is why a client needs to be asked if they are getting good quality sleep and the proper amounts. When they say they have more stress in their lives this becomes even more vital information.
Another thing is what is called Circadian disruptors which are basically things that cause shifts in the body’s circadian rhythm. The most common cause of this is Jet lag from traveling to different time zones and for individuals who have Shift work. The best thing to do to help with jet lag is exposure to Sunlight so as soon as you get up expose yourself to sunlight and then properly timed, HIGH doses of melatonin before bed to help reset your system. I’m not talking 10mg either.
For shift workers this is actually the worse scenario and it is linked to a number of chronic disorders and why they have such a hard time losing fat or gaining muscle. Unless they can switch their shifts or find another job it comes down to helping them get into some type of structure to where they are getting around 7 hours of sleep in the 24 hour cycle that’s as close to non-Daylight times as possible as well as good nutrition.