10 Tips for Rest, Recovery and Rejuvenation

10 Tips for Rest, Recovery and Rejuvenation

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The Season for Stillness

We tumble to the end of another warp-speed year. We spin through our tasks and grasp at floods of information.

We press too hard, too fast and for too long. Reservoirs are sucked dry. Self-awareness fades. Self-regulation is impaired. Your health and your relationships are at risk.

It is time to slow down, repair, rejuvenate and reconnect with what matters.

In a world of optimisation, ambition, pride and duty, we push hard on multiple fronts. The rest, recovery and rejuvenation cycle is squeezed out between ever shorter bursts of dopamine. We are child-like in our impulsive tapping, swiping, checking, buying, rushing, feeding… compelled to chase the next hit.

As I come to the end of 2019, I feel battered. My mind is a little flat. Attention is fragile. Relationships are edgy. I know I need a good break. I am struggling to disconnect, calm my hypervigilance, and allow the natural cycle of recovery. I sense it in our family, friends and colleagues.

Rest, recovery and rejuvenation (R3) is the next competitive edge. Ironic!

My end of year message it to give rest, recovery and rejuvenation your full attention.

At a cellular level, the R3 cycle is vital to repair and rejuvenation. It is the key to longevity and sits at the biochemical core of fasting, sleep quality, intense activity, meditation, and cold water baths. It is a promising solution that supports this process of slowing, cleaning and repairing hard working cells.

The R3 cycle is key to musculoskeletal strength and physical wellbeing. Intimacy, touch and dreaming (REM) sleep stimulate the R3 cycle for emotional wellbeing. The default network is the R3 cycle for cognition allowing us to focus, engage and refresh our minds.

Our end-of-year pause is an opportunity to capture the R3 cycle for life and family. Please make an effort to allow for adequate rest, recovery and rejuvenation as your year comes to an end. Engage your family in this process so that you may reconnect in more intimate ways.

Share what works well for you.

Social Jetlag and Metabolic Risk

Social Jetlag and Metabolic Risk

A November study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows in a study of 447 adults that when we free run our biological clock over weekends (non work days), we suffer from lower HDL, higher triglyceride, greater BMI (body mass index) and larger waists. In short we develop metabolic syndrome, which is known to lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation.

What this study shows is that 84% of adults will sleep in on the weekend when free of work obligations. This is called social jetlag (SLJ) – the weekend sleep-in. Unfortunately, those who sleep in over the weekend are triggering a cascade of metabolic problems that will have both short and long term effects on our health.

I have been reviewing literature on the biological clock all year and have come to a very clear conclusion. The genetically controlled circadian clock has to be aligned with the light-dark cycle of your location for optimal health and performance.

The way to align your inner clock with your environment is through smart use of light signals (zeitgebers). Yes, we do need about 7.5 hours of sleep AND it is essential to time, enter and exit sleep in the right way.

Avoid all screens for at least an hour before bed. Strong blue light that comes from TV, computers, tablets and phones will reset your clock by 12 hours. Essentially you are simulating sunrise as you prepare for bed. It causes sleep disruption, resets your circadian clock and compromises your hormone levels. Darker rooms, cooler temperatures and yellow light facilitates the “flop” into sleep at the right time for your body. At least 69% fail on this count.

Ideally, we want to wake up at about the same time each day and in time to experience directly the blue light of down (before sunrise). This is a great time to do your stretches, relaxation and take a walk outside and “flip” to alertness. Some bright light during the middle of the day might also be good.

Again, don’t sleep in this weekend. It increases your risk of being fat, diabetic, ineffective and dead.