• Healthy Living: The Benefits of Rest

    Last week Sean Lewis introduced 4 simple ways for a healthier life, one of them being “rest”. Read further to find out how a lack of rest can be one of the major causes of cravings and learn about the benefits of rest!

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    Last week I introduced the concept that modern life is pushing us away from being active participants in our health. Did you know that lack of rest can be one of the major causes of cravings? Read on and find out why and what you can do about it.

    Research and practice is for a better part in agreement that there are 4 pillars that determine the Heath of an individual.

    1. Rest
    2. Recreation
    3. Regimented nutrition
    4. Relationships

    Acknowledging and participating in these 4 pillars will significantly reduce your probability of acquiring lifestyle related disease and premature aging.

    Rest may be one of the most undervalued practices in our modern world. Our time is constantly being strained to the limit and “me time” seemingly nonexistent. Sleep to many of us is seen as an option. There is no apparent easy answer to how to deal with lack of time and rest. I think this subject requires us to look deeper into how we use our time and how we view rest. My intention is to at least provide you with information that my nudge you toward prioritizing rest and seeing it as an invaluable contributor to your optimal health.

    The Benefits Of Rest

    Let’s look at how sleep is beneficial to your brain function. While you sleep your brain organizes your previous days experiences. We hear expressions, “sleep on it and you’ll see things more clearly in the morning.” In fact we know this to be true. Many writers and creative professionals keep a journal close to their bed to note down ideas that come to them shortly after awakening. Without a good night sleep, you can spend your day confused, irritable, lack problem solving skills, and experience forgetfulness! Considering that we live in a knowledge based economy, I’d say teaching our workforce how to use down time just may improve innovation.

    If the effects on your brain function aren’t enough to raise the alarm for concern, sleep also plays an important role in your physical health. A good night of restful sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and elevated blood pressure.

    Studies have shown that when people are sleep deprived, they experience more frequent bouts of feeling hungry. There are actually increases in the hormones that cause cravings for sugars.

    If I still haven’t raised your attention, let’s talk about sleep and muscle building. As I mentioned above, sleep is a time for repairing your body. There’s an expression in the strength training industry that says, “the best training session is the one you recover from.” If you’re not repairing you’re not building, it’s as simple as that. So sleep and get those positive hormones flowing that help build muscle!

    Now the question remains, what to do about sleep deprivation. First off, I think if people would see sleep as something they look forward to, rather than an interference with the “me time”, they would get to bed earlier. Your waking hours would also be more productive and likely buy you more time in your day. Improving bed time rituals has demonstrated to be highly effective with helping people relax and fall asleep quicker. Bed time rituals send clear messages to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. Some proven rituals are, keeping the house quiet after a designated time, not watching tv or surfing the web right before bed; all help with fallIng asleep faster. Warm bathes or showers before bed and wearing comfortable pajamas (my personal favorite) set the tone for the calm at the end of the day. Keep the bed room cool and dark as possible also helps the body to rest better.

    We are experiencing persistent incidences of lifestyle related disease in our western culture. It wouldn’t be hard to defend the hypotheses that chronic levels of fatigue in our population may be playing a significant role in decreasing life expectancy and contributing to the ongoing problem of obesity. We can see that rest is a major pillar in supporting our health. With plenty of rest and a goodnight sleep, we begin the day having already checked off one of our essential elements to building a healthy happy body.

    Sean Lewis.

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