We are all familiar with the red battery warning light flashing on our mobile phones. When that light comes on and we get the warning notification, we rush to the charger and plug it in. But, if we are impatient and unplug it too soon it won’t allow the phone to reach full charge so it can function at its best. Your phone stays on Low Battery Mode.
More and more of us are treating our bodies like a cell phone. We are too impatient to let our bodies rest and recover. We are operating within our sympathetic nervous system, in fight-or-flight mode. We rush to get back to work, school or the gym and we are constantly functioning on Low Battery Mode.
Rest and recovery is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether it’s after a big race, a session at the gym or recovering from a cold/flu, it is important to give your body the opportunity to fully recharge.
The healing and regulation of your brain-body that happens, without you even knowing it, every second of every day of your life are under tight monitoring and coordination by your nervous system. If your spine is out of alignment (vertebral subluxation) and obstructing the signals from flowing freely between your brain and your body, this prevents you from functioning at your best. A Chiropractic adjustment is designed to remove interference in your nervous system to allow for optimum function.
Allowing your brain-body the time and space to fully rest and recover can mean that you are less likely to get run down, injured or succumb to the latest lurgy going around.
So what can we do to activate our parasympathetic nervous system and allow our bodies to rest and recover?
We are all guilty of burning the candle at both ends; Going to bed late and being rudely awoken by an alarm early in the morning. Are you getting enough sleep?
The National Sleep Foundation’s recommendation for sleep duration is as follows:
- Newborns (0-3 months):Sleep range 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range 10-13 hours
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17):Sleep range 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64):Sleep range 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range 7-8 hours
While this research is great for giving us a guideline it is important to pay attention to your own individual needs. While some of us are happy, healthy and productive on just a few hours of sleep, others need more sleep to get into gear.
It’s not just quantity that counts when it comes to sleep, quality matters too. Some simple things to do to ensure that you are getting a restful night’s sleep are:
- Make sleep a priority. Set a sleep schedule, and stick to it
- Practice a relaxing bedtime routine
- Get daily movement
- Set up a relaxing space to sleep – temperature, light, sound
- Remove all electronics from your bedroom
- Turn off your WiFi before going to bed
- No screen time an hour before bed
- No stimulants before bed – coffee
- No depressants before bedtime – alcohol
- Find a firm mattress and set up towels for pillows
What we put into (and onto) our bodies can influence how we rest and recover. Poor nutrition choices can put more stress on an already tired body. Eating processed foods and sugar with low nutritional value can lead to inflammation which leaves you vulnerable to disease. Making biologically appropriate, high quality (as you can afford), nutrient dense foods part of your lifestyle and breaking the habits of processed foods and sugar can lead to better levels of health and well-being.
While you can provide your body with these high quality, nutrient dense foods, if your body is unable to process those foods effectively then you will not gain the full benefit. This is where Chiropractic care can help you to get the most out of your nutritional choices. By improving the brain-body connection and allowing for optimal organ function and nutrient absorption.
Another way that Chiropractic care can help to rest and restore is by decreasing your body’s stress response. Regardless of the cause, stress initiates the fight-or-flight response that affects nearly every part of the body. The brain rouses the sympathetic nervous system, causing the heart rate, blood volume and blood pressure to increase. This diverts blood away from the digestive system and limbs. The adrenal glands issue a cocktail of chemicals, including adrenaline and cortisol, which over time can wreak havoc on a person’s health.
Persistent tension and poor posture emphasized by stress can cause muscles to contract and the spine to become locked in an abnormal position, interfering with the nervous system’s proper functioning. This can impair the body’s immune response and slow healing.
There is only so much we can do to avoid mental and emotional stressors in our lives, we can’t avoid the bank, our boss or our mother-in-law forever (as much as we might want to!) This can be one of the reasons that we struggle to wind down and get a restful night’s sleep. Regular Chiropractic care can help to ensure that your body is more adaptive to these daily stressors and allow for a better night’s sleep.
90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine.
Movement is a nutrient so it must be good for you, right? Maybe not. There is a time when movement can be toxic. Have you ever gone to the gym or for a run or a cycle when you were feeling ill? Did it push your body to the max? This is an example of toxic movement. Resting is just as important as working out because it plays an equal part in allowing your body to strengthen, build and grow. We recommend that you take things slowly and listen to your body when returning to movement after a break.
If you need to medicate to function, you might want to rethink your options. While medications can be great at giving us immediate symptomatic relief, they do not address the cause of the problem. In fact, they often suppress our body’s ability to heal. They dumb down our senses and often cause us to push through causing further stress and damage to our bodies. Utilising things like Chiropractic care and homeopathy which support your body’s natural healing process can be more gentle on the body than allopathic medications.
While external factors matter, your body’s ability to adapt and respond to its environment matters more. Chiropractic care identifies and removes those interferences to enable your body to heal from above down, inside out.
Hirshkowitz, M., Whiton, K., Albert, S.M. et al, National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary. Sleep Health. 2015;1:40–43