Rest – a state of calmness, relaxation without emotional stress, and freedom from anxiety
Rest is something we rarely get a chance to do in today’s increasingly hectic working world. Wherever we go, we’re bombarded with information. Television monitors appear to be everywhere making it difficult to tune out and allow yourself some moments of rest, or just to distance yourself briefly from your surroundings and responsibilities.
All our labor-saving devices have actually reduced – not enhanced – our opportunities for leisure and rest. Even on vacation, many people can’t get away from email or escape the ringing of their cell phones. This lack of resting ad repairing can have a dramatic impact on our health.
Lifestyle Suggestions to Ensure Proper Rest:
- Reduce or avoid as many drugs as possible. Many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, may adversely effect sleep. In most cases, the condition causing the drugs to be taken in the first place can be addressed by following guidelines elsewhere on my web site.
- Limit caffeine intake. At least one study has shown that, in some people, caffeine is not metabolized efficiently, leaving you feeling its effects long after consumption. So, an afternoon cup of coffee or tea will keep some people from falling asleep at night. Be aware that some medications contain caffeine (for example, diet pills).
- Limit alcohol intake. Although alcohol will make you drowsy, the effect is short lived and you will often wake up several hours later, unable to fall back asleep. Alcohol will also keep you from entering the deeper stages of sleep, where your body does most of its healing.
- Make certain you are exercising regularly. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day can improve your sleep. However, don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may keep you awake. Studies show exercising in the morning is the best if you can manage it.
- Lose excess weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of sleep apnea, which can seriously impair your sleep. If you are having difficulty losing weight, ask us about our detoxification/dietary cleanse program.
- Avoid foods you may be sensitive to. This is particularly true for sugar, grains, and dairy products. Sensitivity reactions can cause excess congestion, gastrointestinal upset, bloating and gas, and other problems.
- Have your adrenals checked by a good natural medicine clinician. Scientists have found that insomnia may be caused by adrenal stress. In our office, we offer a whole food adrenal response supplement which uses clinically proven nutrients, herbs and whole foods to assist the adrenal glands’ natural response. This botanical formula is targeted at helping to support biochemical imbalances, cortisol levels in particular, related to alterations in adrenal function.
- If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, get checked out by a good natural medicine physician. The hormonal changes at this time may cause sleep problems if not properly addressed.
Sleep is when your body is able to repair and heal. Six to eight hours per night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, and too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.
Sleep deprivation is such a chronic condition these days that you might not even realize you suffer from it. Science has now established that a sleep deficit can have serious, far reaching effects on your health.
For example, interrupted or impaired sleep can:
- Dramatically weaken your immune system
- Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
- Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight
- Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day
- Impair your performance on physical or mental tasks, and decrease your problem solving ability
When your circadian rhythms are disrupted, your body produces less melatonin (a hormone AND an antioxidant) and has less ability to fight cancer, since melatonin helps suppress free radicals that can lead to cancer. This is why tumors grow faster when you sleep poorly.
If you haven’t had your spine and nerve system checked by a Chiropractor yet (or recently), start there. We frequently have patients comment to us that Chiropractic care has made a huge impact on their quality of sleep. This is primarily because Chiropractic adjustments reduce body stress, as well as nociception (irritating nerve messages due to incorrect spinal alignment and movement).
Finding the opportunity to rest is extremely important. Try to fit some rest into your day – carve out some time to be passive, without stimulation, doing nothing. It’ll do you a world of good.