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The Importance of Rest & Repair Pt. 2 written by Kat Millar
In this second article on rest and repair, I consider the processes and ways in which we can undertake repair, where the body under stress now needs to repair itself in order to maintain optimal health. As discussed previously the best way to improve your sleep and quality of rest is to reduce your stress levels. At high stress levels cortisol levels rise. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. It is a necessary hormone as it releases energy from our natural body store in response to physical, mental or emotional stress. However, if we have too much of it due to continued high stress, it can produce a number of negative side effects, such as raising our blood sugar and lowering our immunity.
Stress and increased cortisol can lead to an increased appetite and cravings causing the body to store fat around the waist.
HOW TO IMPROVE REST AND REPAIR
Here are some tips that can help you to truly rest and repair your body if your body is producing an excessive amount of cortisol. A few simple changes in your routine and lifestyle can make a major difference in reducing your cortisol levels and making you feel better. There are a number of changes that could be made. The first five are covered below and the remaining changes will follow in next month’s article.
1. Create peace and calm
Write something positive before you go to bed so it’s the last thing you are thinking of and your unconscious mind can go to work making it true for you. For example, ‘Everything is taken care of, I can sleep peacefully and tomorrow is another day’.
Ensure you get to bed at a time that allows you to wake up naturally when your body is ready. Avoid jolting alarm clocks that take you from delta waves (deep sleep) to beta waves (agitated and anxious). When I worked in a corporate 9-5 job, I thought that the agitated, tired state I felt every morning when my alarm blared at me, was normal. Now, I wake up when my body is ready and rarely use an alarm clock. I can’t tell you how much of a difference it’s made to my life. I contribute this, along with regular exercise, to feeling energised and refreshed.
2. Schedule rejuvenation time
You have full control of your calendar and know yourself better than anyone when you’re resting enough. You need to decide not to be too busy and determine and practice rest time. Take the holidays that are due to you!
3. Create more spaciousness in your life
Put margins in your schedule and set your intentions. Stress is often caused by having too many external demands. Social media can destroy our energy if we’re not careful. We need to put the ‘big rocks’ in first and only attend to the ‘little rocks’ (such as checking emails and social media) when the most important things (big rocks) are done. This creates a sense of peace and calm, knowing that the important things are being taken care of.
4. Sleep as much as your body needs
If you have trouble falling asleep, try a hot bath, relaxing music and a break from all electronics at least an hour before going to bed. If you’re waking in the night, most likely your mind is on the things you need to do or problems needing to be solved. Writing them down before you go to bed, can help get it all out of your head and leave your mind peaceful and clear.
5. Reduce caffeine
Reducing caffeine intake is the quickest way to reduce cortisol production and elevate the production of DHEA, the leading anabolic youth hormone. Drinking 200 mg of caffeine (one 250 ml mug of coffee) increases blood cortisol levels by 30% in one hour! Cortisol levels in the blood can remain elevated for up to 18 hours. If stress is an issue in your life, I recommend that you drink no more than one small coffee per day.
Author of this article:
Kat Millar works with people globally to improve their health, confidence and energy. Since 2003, through her coaching, training, online programs and seminars, Kat has helped almost a thousand people to achieve their goals. Kat is an award-winning figure competitor, fitness lecturer and NLP practitioner and has a passion for nutrition and behavioral psychology. Kat offers a range of programs for total body transformation and can be contacted through her website or her Facebook page.