Why Relaxation Is Important
When I work with clients I carry out quite an extensive set of tests before we get started on any coaching. I look in great detail at the diet and lifestyle habits diary.
In particular I look at the section that clients fill in to tell me about relaxation time.
This very often looks something like “10 minutes of telly before turning the lights out”.
Optimal health and wellbeing, and therefore optimal body shape and bodily function (free of pain), requires the systems of the body balanced. One of the important systems, I’m sure you’ll agree, is the brain.
The brain oscillates between differing states throughout the day, and when it comes time to sleep, restoration of the body and mind will only happen optimally when the brain is in the correct state.
To allow the brain to be in a good state for this restful sleep, and optimise your eight hours in bed, you need to relax your mind and body before putting your head on the pillow.
If you’re out late, working until 10pm or checking email before you go to bed, I can almost guarantee you are either waking up feeling unrested and groggy (reach for the caffeine) or you have long-term aches and pains (very often lower back pain).
The Brain Waves States
You have four key brain wave states:
- Beta – alert and awake. If you’re not relaxing, you’ll be in this state (busy being productive, checking email, worrying, busy brain)
- Alpha – calm and relaxed state. You might associate this with daydreaming.
- Theta – deeply relaxed or in a meditative state.
- Delta – deep sleep.
If you spend the majority of your day in the Beta brain wave state, especially in the two hours before going to bed, you are much more likely to disrupt the brainwave states of sleep, disrupting optimal rest, repair and rejuvenation.
This always results in you being less productive and alert the following day. Therefore it’s counterproductive to overwork, for example, in the medium to long-term.
As part of a healthy pre-bed routine try switching off ALL electrical products (televisions, iPhones, tablets etc) at least one hour before getting into bed.
What I have found is this give you more time to sit and be quiet, talk with loved ones, play a family game or do other leisure activities, like playing a musical instrument for example.