Who doesn't love the feeling of a good night’s kip?
Yet, many of us complain either of not getting ENOUGH sleep or good enough QUALITY of sleep to have us springing out of bed like a child on Christmas morning, ready to take on the day.
While sleep is far too complex a topic to sum up in numbers only, being aware of some of the basic statistics about sleep can help you to grasp just how prevalent a problem sleep deprivation is, and how a lack of Z’s can have a much wider impact on your health than you may expect.
- Approximately 10-30% of adults struggle with ‘chronic insomnia’, rising to 30-48% in older adults
- Women are 40% more likely to experience chronic sleep deprivation relative to their male counterparts
- 5 million Brits routinely have less than 5 hours of sleep per night
- Over £40 billion is lost to the economy annually due to sleep deprivation
- In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, those with insomnia were five times as likely to develop depression as those without.
- According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
WHY IS SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
Other than feeling energised and well rested, sleep is CRUCIAL for a number of our bodily processes, including ‘cognitive processing’ (the organising and retaining information), hormonal rebalancing and growth and repair, to name a few.
As physios, we are primarily interested in a hormone called ‘growth hormone’, which gets released into the blood stream during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep to help repair soft tissue structures all around the body. Routine disruption to your sleep cycle therefore, doesn’t just leave you feeling dog-tired; it can also have a significant impact how well you heal from injury, and can adversely affect subsequent pain levels.
WHAT IS GOOD ‘QUALITY’ SLEEP?
The recommended number of sleep hours for the average adult is 7-9 hours, but why is this so universal?
Sleep as a process can be broken down into 4 key stages, with a whole cycle taking approximately 4 hours to complete. For optimal sleep, it is recognised that most people need to complete 2 full sleep cycles per night, ideally undisturbed!
When we consider 3am trips to the bathroom, snoring partners, pets in the bed, late night working, and too much caffeine, that earlier statistic doesn’t appear to be so shocking now does it?
So what can you do to set yourself up for sleep success?...
TOP 5 TIPS FOR A GREAT SLEEP
To set yourself up for a great night sleep, it’s best to think of easy and manageable changes you can make immediately to help your tune into your body and brain clock.
- Set a firm time for sleep and for waking
Setting a firm routine for when you go to bed and when you wake isn’t just for children. Following a set time, across a 7 day week, helps to tune your body and brain clock into a regular rhythm, signalling when it’s time to sleep and when to rise. After some time, this rhythm becomes engrained, making it automatic.
- Check your room temperature
When asleep, our body temperature naturally reduces by 1-2 degrees, therefore ‘overheating’ can be a common cause of sleep disruption. Turning your bedroom temperature down to an optimal 18 degrees avoids disturbance to your sleep by keeping your body temperature more stable.
- Utilise your sense of smell
Certain smells can help to induce sleepiness. Placing calming smells like lavender (pillow spray, essential oils) in the sleep environment / bedroom can help to trick your brain into winding down for sleep.
- Don’t eat at least 2 hours before bed
Ingesting food close to bedtime signals “wakefulness” to the body/brain, as there is now a need for food to be digested. Where possible, have your last mouthful 2-3 hours prior to sleep, which includes milk in coffee/tea.
- The two S’s rule
Your brain makes connections between spaces and activity. Try and utilise the bedroom for the two S’s - sleep and sex only. Where possible, keep laptops, iPads and mobiles out of the bedroom to limit the temptation for late night working/ scrolling.
If you found this article useful, check out our other health blogs,
also available on the website.
First, decide what your fitness goals are!
Patients often ask me, once their general fitness is much better, “How do I take the next step to train towards a specific sport?” Firstly, any current injuries should be assessed by an experienced physiotherapist or sports therapist. Then you need to decide on your goals. What are your goals? Stronger heart and lungs? A fit-looking body? To win at sport? To live longer?
Furthermore, you need to decide:
- which sports you want to concentrate on
- how vigorously you want to compete
- how long you want to be able to compete.
Everyone should exercise, but you need to set your personal goals of fitness and your own unique set of aims, as this will determine the most appropriate exercise and productive time you can spare for training. A fitness assessment with a personal trainer can establish your personal fitness goals and an injury prevention program can be formulated to attain your goals:
• Enhanced cardiovascular ability.
• Improved stamina and endurance.
• Better agility, flexibility, and balance.
• Stronger muscles and core strength.
• Slimmer body.
• Stronger bones.
• Clearer thinking and happier moods.
Ten Tips to Achieve Your Fitness Goals
1) Measure your heart rate just after vigorous exercise for 5 seconds, then after another minute for another 5 seconds. Multiply both by 12, then subtract one from the other. This gives you your speed of recovery, which is an indicator of your cardio fitness. As you get fitter, both your oxygen capacity and the ability of your enzymes to remove lactic acid will increase.
2) Mix up slow and fast pace in all activities. Athletes carry out long slow and short fast interval training for a good reason; the slow pace builds stamina and teaches the body how to cope with and eliminate lactic acid, as well as enabling muscles to store more glycogen for prolonged exercise.
3) Fast pace, on the other hand, comprises of short bursts of intense activity which boosts sugar metabolism and teaches the brain to co-ordinate the muscles at a faster pace, helping agility.
4) To avoid muscle injury due to tiredness, rest adequately as muscles need
48 hours to recover, plus good hydration and nutrition.
5) To achieve stronger muscles, lift a weight you can just manage between
8 and 12 lifts in about 50 seconds. Then, rest briefly between sets, as
lactic acid build-up will cause injury. Repeat. Rest a day in between. Add
2.5 kg to 5 kg maximum at each increase.
6) Exercised bones get stronger, so use resistance or weight-bearing exercises.
7) For a thinner body, sustained exertion will burn up calories and speed up the metabolic rate.
8) For a flexible body, complete slow, sustained stretches of 30 seconds when you are warm and pain-free. Stretch before your workout to reduce the chances of injury. Stretching after exercise reduces muscle soreness and promotes relaxation.
9) Clearer thinking is essential. Work out your pattern of mental alertness, the daily peaks and troughs. Plan a regular exercise program and see how it eliminates the ‘valleys’. Exercise-induced endorphins plus serotonin will reduce depression and pain.
10) For running, cycling and walking, get checked out biomechanically.
A correct alignment will reduce wear and tear.
Do you need help in setting realistic goals, creating a plan and
ongoing help to get you there?
We Can Help
Call 01889 881488 Now.
Jean, Erica & Charlotte will be happy to help
The Shamanic Art of Healing the Soul
The Siberian definition of the word shaman is “someone who sees in the dark with his or her heart.” This is a loving expression of service. The shaman is dedicated to the cause of helping alleviate suffering in the world.
We have doctors, nurses and physiotherapists who specialize in everything imaginable except for the soul in our Western culture. To me, this care of the soul is the missing link in healing and must be cared for first. Fortunately, this ageless medicine is just beginning to be understood in our Western culture. More and more people are seeking healers not mechanics. Shamanism is an ancient healing art, dating back at least 40,000 years and was used by most indigenous cultures in the world.
The Shamanic belief is that a human being is first and foremost a soul having a human experience, not the other way around. The belief is, if the soul is cared for properly, or after trauma is healed through the process of soul retrieval, other healings can then manifest in the mental, emotional, and physical bodies of that patient.
I find time and again when a physical problem such as back pain will not resolve there is a deeper soul issue.
Shamanic Reiki is a gentle healing method which emphasizes that all experiences affect your soul and that all healing comes through the soul. It combines the best of gentle westernised Reiki with shamanic teachings. In shamanic cultures, the care of the soul is the most important aspect of healing. People need to be genuinely loved, worthy and connected to a higher power. Once trauma and abuse occurs the soul needs to be cradled.
This healing concept considers that all things are energy. In a typical healing, the shaman moves out destructive energy and replaces with healing divine energy. The theory behind soul retrieval is that there is soul loss when an individual experiences powerful or traumatic situations. Through some sort of trauma, a person loses part of himself as a survival mechanism to withstand the emotion and pain. In shamanic terms, this process is called “soul loss.” In modern psychology, it is called “disassociation.” Psychology does not ask where the lost part goes and how you get it back. Soul retrieval is an ancient energy treatment that finds the lost pieces and puts them back into place, through the heart and head, thereby restoring the soul.
After treatment, you regain more energy and rekindle vital qualities such as, feeling loved and valued, important and needed. You become more vibrant and feel whole again. Converting illness to wellness is like finding the missing part of a jigsaw and putting it back in the right place.
Both modern and soul medicine is a wonderful combination.
If you are interested in experiencing this approach call the clinic. 01889881488
Lets meditate on life
I have always found meditation useful to reduce stress and anxiety. Beyond this it has a higher purpose, which is to rediscover our true nature. When our minds are uncluttered we make better choices and we get happier and healthier. When we learn to look deeper into the way we think about the world, especially our purpose for being here, and the way we communicate this, our whole way of living can radically change, and relationships blossom.
There is evidence to suggest the human brain has is still evolving. Within the brain architecture is housed the evidence of its historical development. Modern day MRI imaging has allowed us to start to understand the way we use our minds. It is fascinating that ancient knowledge supports these scientific findings, and the only difference being the language and symbols used to describe it.
In ancient cultures we were very much part of nature, we treated the earth with reverence and worship and considered our healthy existence depended on this.
Shamans pre-dated our modern day doctors, they were masters of meditation and medicine. These ancient healers, guardians of the earth, were forced into secrecacy by so called religious invaders, who kidnapped their lands and tortured those who spoke of the old ways.
Let me briefly share with you how you can look at problems in a fresh way using ancient knowledge.
I have come across shamanic teachings that describe four levels of perception, called serpent, jaguar, hummingbird and eagle.
As you read on you may recognise your predominant way of thinking. Serpent represents the part of the brain we share with lizards and reptiles. We need this to be working well in crisis situations, it is about survival, instinctive needs and holds a very material perception .Dominant lizard brained people take care of business in a very practical way. However, they are not always too pleasant to be around.
Jaguar perception is all to do with the mammalian brain , called the amygydala or limbic center. This way of looking at the world is built on the reptilian perception , with added curiousity , care, compassion, sharing, socially interacting and loving. We look with our belief system seeing what we believe to be true and we share this way with all mammals. In this state of mind with a single new insight we can break free of old habits.
Hummingbird is the ‘soul of the brain’, it encases the other two and embraces such experiences as imagery, music, poetry and dreaming.This is housed in the neocortex which evolved 100,000 years ago. Here we look with reason and we visualise and create solutions within a world seen full of meaning, and we embrace wellbeing.
Finally the eagle perception housed in the prefrontal cortex, the ‘GOD’ brain.It has been described as:”God experiencing itself through man .”Here we look with concerns about the planet, quantum mechanics, the future, pollution, big picture solutions to problems.
Meditation is the door way to explore how you think about problems. Where do you predominantly operate from?
This is just a brief example how an early culture used the power of the mind, many cultures meditate buddism to name a few, some of the most successful people on the planet have learnt the ancient secrets to mastering the power of the mind.Learning to move through different levels of perception brings awareness and opportunity to live an enriched and happy life.
SHAPING BABIES MIND
Shaping babies mind is an exert from my next book in progress, The HUMAN GARAGE.VOLUME 1,c THE MIND
At the time of writing this my niece is 11 days old.Looking at her reminds me how we start as a ball of cells and grow and grow.In the first month of her life she will form trillions of brain connections.Every second about one thousand new connections form.By the time she is 3, her little head will be three times heavier.
She has a basic genetic blueprint from my brother Jez and Sara.However a combination of this and her experiences will be shaping babies mind.Strongly stimulated connections grow in complexity and unused ones get pruned away. Neuroplasticity is all about, use it or lose it.
What Skyla eats and hears and touches and feels, will form the neural networks for health,intelligence,social skills and language.
Baby Skyla will hear all sorts of languages, then select the most often heard, then communicate in this way, pruning away all unused languages.
This is when my younger brother will curl up his toes,so Jez, make a brew. I used to play magic lifts with him, when he was tiny and we would go to different lands and see imaginary places and people. Imagination is so strong when you are young and healthy. Wonder if he will do this with his daughter.
With my older very patient and adorable brother Rich,I tested the patience of a saint.Wchen I was a little kid, I always wanted to swim all the time, and he took me roller skating and trolley racing. So I wore my swim wear and goggles and float to all the boys activities. I also sat in puddles and filled up sinks full of water.Yes he loved taking me out to play with the boys gang, NOT!!!My imagination at under 5 years old enabled me to enjoy activities in my own strange way and feel happy.I guess I haven’t changed ………….
John Medina in his book brain rules for babies wrote; ’’Greatest paediatric brain boosting technology in the world is probably a cardboard box, a fresh box of crayons and a couple of hours.’’
Pay attention to baby. Speak a lot directly to it with colourful fresh inspiring vocabulary. Communicate with touch, facial expressions and body language, as language is not there to start with and baby associates with body language. Your body language heartfelt responses to babies needs and calls, sculpture intellectual and emotional stability in the child.
Get in the right state of mind as best you can around baby as they are acutely sensitive to your mood/energy. Practice my mind techniques, especially breath and heart before handling the little one, as it can be exhausting and frustrating at times, and you will transmit this strongly.
If you practice energy healing or massage baby will love that. Reiki is great. My cats love their daily Reiki, quieter than the kids’ response, just a lot more fur everywhere.