Functional Medicine / Sleep:

6 basic principles for a healthy lifestyle - Sleep (3/6)

This is part 3 of 6 in my blog series on the 6 basic principles for a healthy lifestyle - the following articles are also included in the series: Introduction (1/6), Diet and Hydration (2/6), Positive thinking (4/6), Movement and Breathing Techniques (5/6) and Discussion (6/6).

Through evolution, our bodies have been designed to follow natural rhythms. For example, the movement of the sun, moon and earth affects our hormonal rhythms. When the sun rises, it triggers hormones in our bodies that make us wake up in the morning and when the sun sets, it triggers hormones that affect our recovery function during the night.

So go to bed at 10 pm and get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Try to have as regular a sleep pattern as possible. You won't need as much coffee and sugar after a good night's sleep, which is a good thing because neither of them are good for your body, as they can aggravate ailments you already have in your body. When you sleep, there is a repair process going on in your body without you having to do anything except sleeping...

10.00 pm - 2.00 am: the physical recovery

2.00 am- 6.00 am: the psychological recovery

Although sleep is the most important form of recovery, there are also other forms of recovery that are good for you. I am thinking of total rest, active rest and passive rest. Each contributes to your overall recovery and recharge.

Total rest is sleep as I just mentioned, but it can also mean taking a day off from work or other stressors in your life.

Passive rest basically means that you reduce your normal workload. It could be as simple as setting fewer goals for the day, or setting goals that don't have to be so difficult to achieve.

Active rest means taking a short break from what you normally do to do something completely different for a while. It has to be something that allows you to 'switch off' what you are normally doing. For example, you could listen to music, take a short walk, read a book or meditate for a while.

If your usual sleep pattern is disturbed for any reason, make sure you rest both actively and passively during the day.

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