When you finally lay your head down on your pillow at the end of the day does your mind come to rest? Or do you find yourself cataloguing the day you’ve had down to the tiniest detail – noting all your mistakes, all the unresourceful food choices you made and judging yourself for “being so bad”?
Perhaps getting into bed is the first time you’ve stopped “doing” things since you slid out of bed that morning. It’s quite natural then, for your brain to start throwing all the things up for your review as it tries to make sense of what information needs to be stored where.
The meaning that we attach to each of these experiences (whether we’ve disappointed ourselves or someone else, or conversely had a productive, enjoyable day) will affect how that information is stored and consequently our biochemistry.
For someone who is exhausted after a long day, it can be incredibly frustrating to finally get off your feet to discover that you can’t switch off. Maybe your busy mind interferes with your ability to get quality sleep and you regularly wake up feeling foggy and unrested, which only compounds your frustration further.
Under these circumstances, how do you think your following days will unfold? How much harder will it be to make nourishing food choices and speak to yourself kindly? This is a common cycle in which we signal to our body to store fat instead of burn it. It’s also one that contributes to many other health challenges including digestive upsets, anxiety, depression, fatigue and headaches. Such is the powerful impact of quality rest!
If you find yourself laying awake running through the lists of your day, try this breathing exercise. Put your hand on your belly just below your ribs and focus on expanding that area out as you breath in, paying particular attention to extending your exhalation. Keep your attention focused on your breath, bringing it back every time it wanders. Keep doing this as long as you need to, until your body relaxes and you find yourself ready to drift off to sleep. This is also a great exercise to do if you wake up through the night to help you get back to sleep.
Dr Libby xx