Without adequate sleep we don’t feel like ourselves, our blood sugar and cravings are out of whack and we do our best to get through the day and stick to our fitness, nutrition plans and goals. We are not at our strongest and we have a harder time repairing and recovering from our workouts.
The scientific explanation of why sleep is so important is all about our glands. Yes, glands. There’s a handful of glands in the body and these little guys are the rulers of the land. The Kings of our bodies. They are in charge. They regulate everything from hunger & thirst, to sleep & hormone balance, to energy and metabolism. The glands tell the rest of the body what to do. At least 5 glands are in our head! The more stress our heads and brain experience, the more frazzled the glands are. We absolutely need to shut down and rest the brain, in order for these rulers of our body to do their own rest and repair.
With so many of my clients waking up in the middle of the night, good, sound sleep is often hard to accomplish. Or so they think.
Here’s a little secret: It takes 5 straight hours of head-pillow contact for the glands to rest, repair and rejuvenate the body. Fact: if you lay awake in bed for 5 straight hours, you’ll feel more rested than if you sleep for 8 hours but get up 4 hours into your sleep to use the bathroom! So, keep your head ON the pillow and fight off the urge to pee, until you have been laying there for 5 straight hours you will look and feel so much better tomorrow!
We read so much about muscles and diet, we might forget from time to time that the organs and glands are actually responsible for how we look and feel.
Where do you sleep? If your pillow (& head) is within 3 feet of an electrical outlet, you may be getting electrical frequencies around your head, which can easily keep you awake at night! If so, tie a knot in all of your wires as close to the outlet as you can. This helps to diffuse the EMFs (electromagnetic frequencies) and can help to keep your mind at rest. Same is true for an electric blanket!
What about your bed? If you are sleeping on an old mattress or one that is too hard or too soft, this may prevent you from having deep restful sleep, as your organs may be squished and not have proper alignment. Pressure on the adrenals or kidneys can easily stir you awake in the middle of the night. Tempur-pedic mattresses allow for a nice alignment of your body and adjust to your own body weight. Of course, if your pillow is too high or too flat, the alignment of your neck can easily be strained. Especially when laying on your side. If the spinal fluid can’t get to the brain adequately, your brain may feel stress and this activity can also stir you awake in the middle of the night.
We never wake to use the bathroom!
Read this sentence again. It is true! We can hold up to 10 times more fluid when we are horizontal than vertical. So, why do you wake in the middle of the night? Stress. We wake because organs and/or glands in our bodies are feeling stress instead of repairing. So, we need to keep the body nourished and during sleep, this means to keep the circulation flowing. If there’s a kink in a hose, the water can’t flow. Similarly, if there’s a kink in your neck, your brain may not get adequate blood, nutrients or oxygen. If you ache in the morning it's because of how you slept so consider the bed and pillows you use.
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