Rest and Relaxation
Well welcome to Autumn. Firstly, Merissa and I would like to say a massive thank you to all of you for your support over the past 6 months! We both cannot believe that our dream of opening our own Chiropractic office right here in Newcastle became a reality 6 months ago!!! As summer is starting to leave us we have a good few months of nice daylight and mild temperatures ahead. Maybe, just maybe it is time to start thinking like bears and stocking up for the winter and hibernating. Now do I mean literally? No. What I am trying to instigate though is the 5th spoke in the Wheel of Health- rest.
Lets face it, we all know rest is awesome and without it I don’t know how well any of us would function. Rest is an absolute key requirement to your own health if you want to get the most out of your clear brain body connection, fuelling your body with optimal ingredients and moving & thinking the right way.
Personally I don’t believe there is any clear cut answer on exactly how much sleep we need (probably somewhere between 7-8 hours as a minimum). Around the time of the industrial revolution our approach to sleep/rest and recovery got rapidly shifted on its head. Somehow the concept of minimum 8 hour up to 16 hour work days became normal, gone where the days of foraging or hunting for food when we were hungry and relaxing & resting in between feeds. In the wild, how much exercise or work do you really see animals perform where they are not actively in pursuit of their dinner? They only really expel huge amounts of energy when there is a reason i.e. food.
Sleep and rest does some wonderful things! It actually increases your metabolism– yes you actually burn more calories sleeping than watching TV. Most of your hormone synthesis especially human growth hormone (the main hormone responsible for cellular growth and repair) is released at night. Note there is a trick on this- pre midnight hours of sleep actually count two to one- that’s right they have double the benefit compared to post midnight hours of sleep when it comes to body repair and growth. Brain function is actually increased and likewise our ability to concentrate and learn improves with sleep. Another cool aspect of sleep is that the more rested the nicer your skin will appear.
There might not be a magic pill to cure all your ills, but combining sleep with the other spokes of the wheel of health is going to go a long way to making sure you can get the most out of your body.
Just a few other fun facts on sleeping- the best position for you to sleep in is the one that allows you to wake up regularly feeling rested. It doesn’t matter too much if it is back, side or stomach as long as you feel good in the mornings, ideally your body should be able to adapt to a position during the night that is comfortable for you. If you are having trouble sleeping here is a couple of easy things to try- first, get adequate sunlight or vitamin D throughout the day, this helps to regulate the normal body circadian rhythms. Second, minimise the late night computer, phone and TV time as these artificial light sources disrupt those same circadian rhythms within the brain sending mixed messages to our body. Third- relax, it isn’t supposed to be a stressful event but it should be an absolute highlight of the day.
Enjoy your rest & sleep so that you can wake up fresh and get the most out of your day tomorrow!
M. Chiropract, B. Chiro Sci