Diet and exercise is always the focus when it comes to health, the other often overlooked element is sleep.
Sleep is so so important for rest and repair and to balance all our body systems. It’s well known that all our cells in the body work to a circadian rhythm including our digestive function, detox systems and even our immune cells. They have times of heightened activity during the day because that is when we’re more likely to get injured.
The immune system can go into hyperdrive (inflammation increases) if you don’t sleep well as the system thinks that because you’re awake it needs to be on high alert! This is why the immune system is also seen as a sixth sense with strong connections to our nervous and endocrine systems too.
Inadequate sleep has been associated with a variety of health problems. Not getting enough sleep in the short-term leads to fatigue, impaired learning and memory, and irritability. Don’t we know it too ….. So if we’re consistently depriving ourselves of sleep it can lower our immune systems and make us susceptible to illnesses such as the cold or the flu.
So it’s ever more important that we put things in place to allow a restful sleep and this links to helping take away some of the stresses and strains of every day life. Easier said than done yes but there are always ways we can try to create good sleep. For example:
Brain dumping – one tip I use with all my groups is to list the night before everything you need to do that week or following day along with dumping down your thoughts and concerns. Freeing up your mental energy to allow you to hopefully switch off when your head hits the pillow
Meditation or breathing techniques – allowing your body to fall into a restful state through guided meditation or even through calming music. Try the box breathing method. Breathe in 4 counts, hold the breath 4 counts, release 4 counts, wait 4 counts. It works believe me…
Turn off devices at least an hour before bed – our senses need to fall into a relaxed state and with all the blue light we absorb through our phones and other devices it takes our brain time to go into rest mode. Watch a good Netflix series or film instead.
Read a good book is always a good one for many in that it will take your mind to another place and send you off into a deeper restful sleep
So… Please don’t underestimate how important rest is for recovery too, especially if you’ve had covid19.
Stay safe everyone xx