Learn why getting a good nights sleep is just as important as working-out.
Stress comes in many different forms. While some people can recognize the signs of stress on the body, many have trouble admitting that they need to take a step back, slow down, and allow the body time to rest. We live in a world of go-go-go, with limited down time. Due to this environment we are surrounded by, many of us are not taking the necessary steps to aid the body and its many internal functions to work optimally. This results in many factors such as adrenal burnout, mood swings, depression, lack of motivation, an overall unhealthy body, and even more stress.
One of the major culprits of adrenal burnout and low serotonin (our “happy hormone”) levels is improper sleep patterns. It has a major influence on hormones, weight loss, emotions, energy levels, and so much more. It helps maintain balance in your life. Ensure that you are receiving a minimum of 8 hours of un-interrupted sleep each time you go down. This will also support lean muscle gain as your body builds and repairs muscle only when you are in REM sleep. Sleep deprivation decreases thyroid hormone and your metabolic rate. Below is a list of tips to promote more restful and health promoting sleep:
- First, ensure your room is in complete darkness when you sleep. This will support the natural circadian rhythm of the body and help in the production of melatonin, which affects sleep, weight loss, and reduces cancer risks.
- Try consuming a calming and comforting herbal tea such as chamomile or peppermint before bed to allow the body to relax and get some quality rest.
- Eliminate all electronics in your bedroom. This includes TV’s, cell phones, and tablets. Technology has an affect on our ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. “One of the most simple but important reasons technology affects our sleep is cognitive stimulation,” says Mark Rosekind, PhD, former director of the Fatigue Countermeasures Program at the NASA. As your brain revs up, its electrical activity increases and neurons start to race -- the exact opposite of what should be happening before sleep. This results in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal gland, creating a situation hardly conducive to sleep. Eliminate all electronic activity a minimum of 30 minutes prior to sleep and make sure your bedroom is free of it all.
Another simple technique that you can try is skin brushing and deep breathing. This will aid in kidney support and relieve stress and calm emotions, a benefit to the adrenals and liver. You can purchase a skin brush at any drug store. Brush skin of entire body prior to taking a shower from top to bottom. This will aid in opening up the pores of the skin to help improve detoxification.
Deep breathing techniques can be done any time of the day, but is most beneficial upon wakening and before bed . Take 10 minutes to be by yourself in a quiet area. Close your eyes and take deep breaths while trying to clear your mind, and focus on your breath. There exists an important connection between your mind and your stomach and with a settled and relaxed mind, comes a better digestive system, with the ability to digest foods more efficiently and absorb all the nutrients that your body needs.
Another lifestyle activity you can partake in is participating in yoga or meditation. Both are great ways to calm the nerves, help the body relax, put the mind at ease, build lean muscle and allow your adrenal glands to repair and work optimally.
Utilize some or all of these tips to achieve a more restful sleep. It will aid in reducing stress levels on the body, improve emotional wellbeing, help you achieve your wellness goals, and increase the detoxification process of the body to promote a healthier you.
Here’s to good sleep!
Contributed by Carmen Deacetis is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, co-owner of FitFX www.fitfx.ca.