Being Selfishly Healthy. Part Three.
Are you part of the sandwich generation – ailing parents and children of your own to support?
Turn the clock back 100 years and it would be difficult, today it is extremely tough.
The average UK woman spends around 27 minutes per day on herself and that includes showering, bathing etc – it’s not enough folks!
If you owned a racehorse you wouldn’t expect it to run, let alone win, on the regime most of us live with. Diet, Exercise and Sleep – the three basics and essential requirements of healthy and high performance. This part deals with Sleep.
Sleep – this is more tricky. When we are living with chronic stress (and who isn’t), we produce masses of hormones, in particular cortisol, to help with the fight/flight response. Cortisol lingers a long time in the body so very often it isn’t the falling asleep that is the problem but the staying asleep.
Interestingly it isn’t necessarily the time asleep either that is so important as the type of sleep. We need “deep sleep” which is at just after the start of the cycle but more evidence is showing that the big thing here is to have REM – rapid eye movement – which is when we dream and usually towards the end of the night. Dreaming sorts out and files away information, messages, responses and all the other events that happened during that day. Our conscious mind only takes in a fraction while we are awake and alert. While you are reading this, there will be background noises, movement and ongoing events that you are filtering out and yet are registering nevertheless.
Good sleep produces the opposite of fight/flight – it produces rest/digest. It restores, re-energises, renews and revitilises you. It promotes healthy growth and clear mind. Look at babies for a lesson – feed, sleep, grow and blossom.
We sleep in cycles and it is broken cycles that tend to cause problems. Take a look at a new mum’s, it is the broken sleep rather than the lack of sleep that causes exhaustion.
The main culprit in poor sleep is a troubled mind. If you are worrying over deadlines, work load, aging parents, financial concerns et al, you are triggering the fight/flight response and to oversimplify it, your heart is beating too quickly to allow you to settle into a relaxed state to sleep.
You can email me for the “sleep hygene” list to help ensure that you do everything you can to prepare yourself to break the cycle of poor sleep and start to balance the natural circadian rhythms which are essential for mental, emotional and physical health.