Ways to reach better health outcomes, written by Mark Baker, Remedial Massage Therapist
My philosophy as a healthcare practitioner is to address the whole being when treating an individual. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of one’s health. My experience has given me the perspective that physical health and a sense of ease within your body is intimately connected to all other areas of life and a healthy lifestyle requires someone to balance and nurture all aspects of oneself.
During such busy and challenging times, it is extremely important to balance the daily necessities of life with time to rejuvenate. Here are a few ways we can ensure we are getting deep, restful sleep, and strive towards reaching optimum health.
- Sleep position can affect your quality of sleep.
Shoulder and neck pain when sleeping is often due to sleep position. The ideal sleep position is on your back or side with an ergonomic sleep pillow. It is not recommended to sleep on your stomach, in different sleep positions muscles are either contracted or on stretch which over time may yield symptoms of pain, trigger points or mask as a chronic ‘overuse’ injury.
- Stay Hydrated!
Sleep is about recovery time! The 2 things your body needs to do anything on a biochemical level is water and oxygen, this includes sleep and rejuvenation. It is therefore important for the body to be fully hydrated in order for the body to recover during rest and function properly.
- Eat Right
Having a balanced and healthy diet is so important for your sleep, and also eating the ‘right’ food. Try to avoid foods that require lots of digestion before bed, mainly foods that are high in fat and starch. Eating foods that are over-stimulating, such those with sugar or extreme spices (ie.chilli) can impact your quality of sleep.
Light stretching upon waking in the morning can help get things moving. Stretching helps keep your muscles flexible. This is also the ideal time to incorporate rolling techniques, such as using foam roller or a massage ball. Which help to minimise chronically tight muscles and manage pain from any muscle strains, adhesions, or knots.
- Get Regular Massage
Excessive muscle tension, especially through the neck and back places additional stresses through the spine and head. This can lead to headaches and nocturnal pain, which is counter productive to the body entering a parasympathetic state that is required to induce a deep restful sleep.
- Quality Time With Yourself
Through our biorhythms, the body is intimately connected with nature and its environment. We are in sync with different rhythms of nature including the sun, lunar, hormonal, and sleep cycles. Spending time in nature, or time alone journaling, can help you to synchronize your body with nature for optimal health and well-being including your relationship to the cycle of sleep and rejuvenation.
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