Fall Focus Reset: Day 8
Our hips aren’t the only body part that takes a beating from hours of computer time, so today is upper body day. To kickstart the work week, Lindsay works on opening our chests and improving posture with three stretches you can do from any doorway.
Holistic Health Deep DiveWe’ve been exploring stress in these Deep Dives: the various stressors that can cause it, how it affects our body’s ability to function in balance, and how adaptogens can help our body fight the effects of stress.
But as we said, adaptogens are not a panacea. So today, we’re going to dive into one of the most powerful and most accessible ways to help keep ourselves resilient to stress AND support energy, focus and productivity.
It’s free, and we all already do it everyday. But we often do it poorly or for an insufficient amount of time. Sleep.
Healing the body
All day, we’re exposed to internal and external stressors that can compromise our body’s functioning. When we sleep, our body recovers and regenerates. So the longer we sleep, the longer our body has to heal tired muscles, regulate the immune system and hormones, and reduce inflammation. Sleep is key to keeping our body healthy and strong.
Better brain function
Sleep is not only important for our body’s recovery. When we sleep, our brain reorganizes and recharges itself. It also clears unwanted information and toxins that accumulate while awake. Sleep has been shown to improve memory recall, remove toxic molecules from the brain, and improve decision making and reflexes. That’s why getting enough sleep helps to promote optimal brain function.
Tips for better sleep
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed at different times each night prevents the brain and body from establishing and maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Whether it’s watching three too many episodes of your favorite show or staying up late on the weekend, late nights and inconsistent bedtimes will throw off the body's biological clock—the circadian rhythm—having the same impact as jet lag.
Skip that mid-afternoon coffee: Caffeine is a stimulant that directly and quickly impacts your central nervous system. But, while you experience the peak effects of caffeine 30-60 minutes after consumption, it can stay in your system for many more hours, which might affect your sleep.
Caffeine’s half-life (the amount of time it takes for the quantity consumed to be reduced to half the original amount) is about 5 hours. An average 8 oz (1 cup) brewed coffee contains between 95-180 mg of caffeine. So if you reach for that 3 pm cup, you’ll still have 47-90 mg of caffeine in your body at 8 pm. Not a recipe for deep, sound sleep.
Limit alcohol consumption: Whether it’s a glass of wine with dinner or an afternoon beer, consuming alcohol can make you feel tired and even foggy headed. This is because while alcohol has a sedative effect that can help some people fall asleep, it disrupts your sleep cycle, resulting in poor quality sleep.
Limit night time exposure to blue light: Exposure to blue light at night can suppress the secretion of melatonin, throwing the body's biological clock out of whack. As a result, sleep suffers. In fact, studies have found that late night blue light exposure can impact the time it takes to fall asleep, as well as sleep quality and duration. (The most common sources of blue light are fluorescent and LED lights and back-lit electronic screens on televisions, computers, tablets, and cell phones.)
Wishing you sweet zzz’s, deep sleep and productive days that follow!