What do you think is the most important thing for your overall health? Exercise, diet or rest? There’s a good chance you believe it’s either diet or exercise. Followed by the other one of those and lastly rest.
Let me reveal the answer: the most important thing for your mind and body is a good night’s rest.
In order to eat well and to be able to exercise, you need a proper night’s rest, since when you don’t have a good night’s rest, you will choose unhealthy foods over healthy foods more easily and you will most likely move your body less.
Think about it: we spend a third of our lives resting… Don’t think this is a waste of time! It’s a very important maintanance for our bodies.
These things happen whilst resting:
- Blood pressure and body temperature decrease
- Cells and tissue are repaired
- Our brains rest (well, not all of them and definitely not when we’re dreaming)
- Your consiousness is turned off
- Your energy is being restored
- Your breathing, heartbeat and metabolism are slowed down
- Your immune system becomes stronger
- Your body is being refreshed
When you’re resting, your body is repairing itself from the past day and preparing for the upcoming day in the deep sleep. And your brain is having possibilities to process gained impressions in your REM sleep, when you’re dreaming. However…. There IS a way to spend your nights ONLY onto repairing (eliminate waste, your digestive system is working its ass off and growth hormones are being formed) and preparing and NONE on processing. This way, all your hours are being used to the fullest, resulting into waking up with a lot of energy, ready for the day.
Most experts focus on quantity over quality. They would suggest resting for 7-9 hours where you go through all the sleep cycles, rather than focussing onto getting the most and best out of only a few hours of rest!
When you’re dreaming, you’re processing the impressions you gained the day before. This goes automatically when you’re resting. It takes energy from our bodies, so this means less time can be spent on repairing and preparing your body for the next day.
You can prepare your body on a very good night’s rest, starting at around 8PM in the evening. A good morning and night routine is essential for your mind and body to either prepare you for the day or for the night.
You will need a book and a pen or pencil. Firstly, write down the things you’re grateful for. Next, write down 4 things you’ve done that day. Then write down with each one of them how they made you feel, what you thought went well about them and what you would do differently the next time.
Now write down 4 things you’re planning on doing the following day.
You’ve just prepared your mind for the night.
When you’re in bed, it’s a good idea to do breathing exercises for about 10 minutes to prepare your body for the night as well.
If you have a good night’s rest, you can move your body better throughout the day, which then affects your resting quality: you get more hours of deep sleep.
There a multiple factors that have an impact on a good night’s rest. Deep sleep is being influenced by serotonin. Stress exhausts the serotonin supply, so your resting problems could be partly caused by this.
Stress can lead to three resting problems: it’s difficult for you to go to sleep, you wake up often during the night or you wake up too early in the morning.
-Having difficulties falling asleep because you keep thinking about what happened that day or you keep thinking about what’s to come the next day. That’s where I advise you to write down about what you’ve done and experienced the previous day and what you’re planning on doing the next day, so that you can let go off these thoughts, otherwise you gain even more stress!
-Stress can lead to not getting enough deep sleep which then makes you wake up more often. Your mind keeps on doing its business whilst you’re resting, so you will be disturbed much more easily when you hear something, since you aren’t sleeping deep enough. As soon as you’ve woken, you start thinking about your problems again which makes falling back to sleep much harder and in the morning it prevents you from going back to sleep again at all.
That’s, again, why I’m advising you to process your day in the evening. Make it very comfortable by perhaps listening to relaxing music or by burning a candle. Avoid a lot of light and things like the blue screen of your phone and television, since they still prevent your body from making enough sleep hormones called melatonin. You could perhaps take a warm bath as well or a shower, but make sure to not do this too close to going to bed, since your heart and temperature start rising which makes falling asleep harder.
Sleeping too short as well as too long is unhealthy. You should get about 7-9 hours of sleep if you experience REM sleep (if you have stopped dreaming ONLY after you’ve SUCCESSFULLY added the method I’ve described above, you could do with less hours). Sleeping too much or less gives you a bigger chance on getting
- A stroke
- Diabetes 2
- Coronary heart diseases
However, sleeping longer could be even more unhealthy, as your chances on getting different kinds of cancer is rising and with people sleeping even longer than 10 hours, the risk of dying of cancer and heart diseases even doubles.
By sleeping too little, you not only have a risk to get lifestyle diseases, but you could even change your hormone levels. The hormone leptin is made in fat tissue. This hormone lets you know when you’re full so that you stop eating. By sleeping too little, your body has less leptin in its blood, which then makes you feel less saturated and you will keep on eating. Ghrelin is a hormone that does exactly the opposite of what leptin does: the higher the level your blood, the more hungry you are. By sleeping less, this hormone level rises in your blood. Also, if you feel tired, your body wants food that gives energy as fast as possible, which means fatty things or added sugary things. By combining these two, it causes your bloodsugar to spike, since fatty foods prevents sugary foods from entering our cells. That’s how diabetes 2 arise and of course obisity, since eating too much of the wrong kinds of food makes you gain weight.
We all have a biological clock. It makes sure you rest during the night and are awake during the day. They differ from person to person, so that’s why some go to bed early and others prefer going to bed late. The biological clock is being controller by our brains. The hypothalamus regulates the distribution of necessary hormones, our body temperature and our blood pressure. All these bodily processes happen within a fixed rhythm which takes about 24 hours and 11 minutes and is called the circadian rhythm. It’s okay this isn’t taking exactly 24 hours, since our biological clock is being adjusted by our surroundings (light and darkness).
It’s possible that our biological clock is disturbed. This is usually only temporarily, usually caused by a jetlag. You will experience having difficulty walking up, staying awake, getting to sleep and staying asleep during the night. You will also experience:
- consecration problems
- a disturbed wake and sleep rhythm
- lack of energy
- headache, irritability, mood swings or depressions
- disturbed bowel movement: diarrhoea or obstipation
- a disturbed eating pattern
One person can deal with this better than others. It isn’t healthy, though, to disturb your sleeping pattern for longer periods of time. Links have been found between working shifts and a bigger chance on getting heart disease, stomach-, colon- and liver diseases, diabetes 2 and a few types of cancer. People who work in shifts should be getting more days off to compensate with their disruptions.
In order to try and prevent disturbing your sleep-wake rhythm, you should go to bed on the same times every night. I personally believe 10PM to 2AM are the hours in which you can get the best quality sleep, so we’re in bed at 9:30PM and get up early, since resting too long isn’t healthy either.
Make sure to get to at the same times as well.
Try not to sleep during the day, but if you must, take a 20 minute nap between 12 and 2PM. That way, your rhythm doesn’t get too disturbed, since you won’t hit deep sleep.
Eat healthy and regularly and go outside whenever you can.
You should make sure your bedroom is dark, well ventilated and quiet. If this can’t be achieved, try wearing a mask and earplugs. Experts would say your room should be between 16-21 degrees, but I strongly disagree. We always have our window open, because we believe a room that’s too warm makes our bodies believe it’s early in the morning rather than midnight and therefore we don’t get much deep sleep. We also love fresh air flow constantly. Try to not use your bedroom for other activities, for it may effect your night’s rest. Sadly we ourselves live in a 15m2 room that includes our bed.
Don’t look at a clock during the night whenever you’re awake, since this could make you nervous.
And now one of the most important things you can do in order to have the best night’s rest: taping your mouth shut. Yup. This way, you can only breathe though you’re nose, which is the one and only natural way of breathing. Your mouth is for talking and eating only!
Mart and I have never done this ourselves, since we’ve noticed we don’t need tape in order to breathe through our noses. Somehow both of us have been obsessed all our lives by doing this correctly. That’s a reason of our nasal spray addictions and, well, because my nose had a nosejob because it was deformed and afterwards it was still deformed somehow, so…
Most people use their mouths to breathe, both during the day but especially during the night. They think their noses don’t allow enough oxygen, they often feel like their noses are blocked. Ironically, by breathing through your mouth as a habit you’ve started doing when you were about 6 years old ( very young children would only breathe naturally, but adding stress into their lives made them breathe differently), your nose noticed you don’t use it much and is therefore blocked cos it’s not being used.
The benefits of breathing through your nose only is that you breathe more calmly and through your belly rather than through your chest. This activates the ‘rest and digest’ of your nervoussystem and lowers the production of adrenaline and cortisol, which are stress hormones. You will also have a much smaller chance on sleep apnea and snoring. It improves your recovery, you will get more deep sleep, you will pee less often during the night, you will be less tired, have a better emotional balance and an improved productivity.
By breahting through your nose only, you will lose much less moisture (42 percent) than you would if you’d breathe through your mouth. Studies have shown that losing this much moisture is bad for your teeth and causes bad breath. It also affects sport performances, because yesss, you should even breathe through your nose only whilst doing sport! It keeps your lungs and body well hydrated this way.
You get at least 10 percent more oxygen by using your nose only. Most oxygen is being transported to your blood through the bottom of your lungs. By using your nose only, you use the most effecient bottom of your lungs. Plus the air is being warmed, moistered, filtered and nictric oxide is being added. This keeps your lungs healthy and could even prevent asthma (together with not consuming dairy products!).
So. How about you start using your nose again? Don’t be afraid you’re gonna choke, that’s not gonna happen but if you’re too scared, you can try and let your nose adapt and use the tape sometimes during the day only in the beginning.
We’ve now arrived at the subject diet. By eating often, enough and the right kinds of food, your body gets enough energy to perform at its best throughout the day. That same energy is decreasing in the evening if you eat well enough, so that your body becomes properly tired and you can rest well. So a good eating pattern makes sure you rest well and a bad eating pattern can disrupt your nights considerably.
Make sure you aren’t going to bed with a full stomach, since you simply won’t get enough deep sleep, as your body is still very busy focusing on digesting food. Your body temperature rises so you feel less tired. Also try avoiding spicy and salty foods in the evening, since they will cause heartburn. However, going to bed with an empty stomach can be bothering you as well. I would advise you to eat some fruit. I like to eat kiwi’s or bananas, since they contain a lot of magnesium, which works well together with melatonin to help regulate your biorhythm and gives you more deep sleep.
If you don’t eat healthy, you don’t get enough energy. This way, you feel more tired throughout the day instead of in the evening. Stop consuming animal products. They contain a lot of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Make sure to add a lot of complex carbs to your diet and prevent too much fat and protein, since carbs are the only thing our bodies get their energy from. Also make sure to get enough vitamins, especially B3, B6 and B12. B3 can be found in for example specific kinds of nuts and seeds (flax, hemp, chia), legumes (peanuts, soy beans, chickpeas) and whole-wheat grains (rice, buckwheat, millet, wheat, rye). B6 can also be found in specific kinds of nuts and seeds (sesame seeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, walnuts, cashewnuts), wholegrains (rice, buckwheat, corn, wheat, rye, miller) and fruit (bananas, jackfruit). B12 can only be found in the ground. It’s made by a specific kind of bacteria. They also live in our bowels, but since they’re only in the very end of our colons close to your bumhole, your body can’t absorb it anymore. That’s why we ALL have to take supplements, since our soil is too clean and our food is washed too well, so we never eat mudd anymore, as we used to in the olden days.
I will keep pondering about this one: eat ENOUGH. 1200 calories is enough for a child, not for an adult! You will otherwise feel tired. Don’t do naps to compensate this, since it may disturb your night rest.
Eating and drinking things with added sugar can make you feel energetic for a short period of time, but as soon as you’ve eaten it, your blood sugar will drop drastically and make you feel tired again. You will then eat or drink a sugary thing again and the same happens. Thus, you won’t feel truly fit throughout the day. Try eating a lot of fruit for real, long lasting energy! You will on its turn not crave things with added sugar.
Drink enough water or tea! Not drinking enough makes you tired. The recommended 2 liter is way too little. My daily fluid intake is about 4.5 to 5.5 liters.
Try not eating foods that cause hyperactivity. Choose foods that contain tryptophan. This amino acid helps producing melatonine. Foods that contain this are for example spinach, kale, oats, chickpeas, broccoli, brown rice, navy beans, beets, dried goji berries, flax seeds, sweet potatoes, black beans and banana’s.
Try not drinking drinks that contain caffeine after 4PM.
Both exercising and resting enough throughout the day, are influencing your night’s rest. A good balance between both makes that you become tired in a relaxed way when going to bed. Try not to exercise within two hours before going to bed, since your body needs longer than that to become relaxed again and it may effect falling asleep. You could take a walk before going to bed, though. It’s not intense and getting some fresh air and emptying your head is always a good idea.
I would advise you to walk at least 90 minutes or exercise intensively for at least 40 minutes every day. I prefer to do this in the morning, because then you won’t have an excuse to NOT do it. Plus you will start your day with the hormone endorphin, which makes you feel happy and relaxed! However! Like I suggested before, breathe through your nose only because if you don’t, you will not only lose too much fluid, but your body and mind will believe you’re being chazed rather than that you’re execising and you will feel more stressed. If you feel like you have to start using your mouth, it means you’re going to fast or you’re giving too much of you. Take it slower. This way, your recovery time won’t be so high and you prevent injuries, since when you would be using your mouth only, you would continue on giving everything you have and not know when you’ve gone too far or tried too hard.
Don’t forget to not only exercise and eat well, but to rest well! Sleeping is like a free medication as is food if you eat well and enough.