“Strong From Head to Toe” is a popular expression meaning “over the entire body”. It dates back centuries and was found in Shakespeare's ‘Hamlet’ as “From Head to Heals” or “From Top to Toe”. It is still hyper-relevant today as we prioritize our wellness. We tend to focus solely on establishing healthy routines during our waking hours, such as hitting those 10,000 steps, passing on the chocolate cake and eating more vegetables. But diet and exercise are not the only factors that can improve our wellness, in particular our energy levels, our immune and mental health. Sleep plays an essential role, if not the most important one, in keeping us “Strong, From Head to Toe”.
Here is why:
- 1. Sleep is an active time for our minds and bodies:
How can the time we spend doing “nothing” be more important than when we are doing “everything”? This is because while we are sleeping, we are doing the opposite of nothing. Our sleep is an incredibly active time for our wellness and helps us be our best in our waking hours by allowing for muscle recovery, metabolism reset, and mental health reset. Sleep is regulated by many specific hormones at work while we rest.
2. Time to repair and replenish with melatonin:
Melatonin plays a key role in muscle recovery. While it is widely known as a sleeping hormone, it also creates an enzyme that neutralizes hormones that cause inflammation. When we workout during the day and get sufficient sleep, our bodies have the time to heal and recover from our efforts in order to deliver a greater performance during the day. Melatonin levels can also be boosted with dietary supplements if our natural levels are too low to ensure a restful night, and when we experience major sleep disruptions such as jetlag.
- 3. Metabolism reset:
As we sleep, 2 hormones, Leptin and Ghrelin, are regulated- these are also known as the hunger hormones. If we are getting insufficient sleep, these hormones will be secreted at the wrong times and in the wrong amount, which can lead to having an uncontrollable appetite during the day, making healthy diet choices next to impossible. Having a sleep ritual, in particular drinking herbal tea in the evening, is an excellent way to support our metabolism reset.
- 4. Mental health and relaxation:
Poor sleep has been linked to increased mental health issues, while, vice versa, mental health concerns lead to worse sleep disruptions. Increased stress, anxiety, and worry have led to higher incidences of mental health diagnoses, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Getting sufficient sleep does help regulate sleep hormones and wake up energized and in a positive mood. This is vital to having happier, healthier, and more productive waking hours as we continue focusing on our “Head to Toe” wellness. For advice on establishing a sleep ritual and coping with disruptions, please watch my Expert Talk Series on https://alurx.com/pages/wellness-studio and try to pay more attention to those active nighttime hours. The higher the quality of our nightly rest, the higher quality of our day- From Head To Toe.