Healing includes rest!
“If you are retaining excess weight, the body is doing that to bind acids away from the organs to sustain life
in order to protect organs, particularly the blood.
. . . the body will leach minerals from the bones and the muscles to neutralize acids which can lead to stones or the breakdown of the skeletal system or muscular system as a result of the body trying to maintain the alkaline designs of the fluids of the body.
. . . the body will form tumors to encapsulate spoiling cells or acidic cells in order to protect healthy tissue to stop a domino effect of one cell spoiling another cell. The way that the body works, is that if we have several cells en masse that are spoiled and are breaking down and oozing out acids, the body will encapsulate that through the cross-linking of fiber monomers forming a tumor in order to protect the tissue outside of that spoiled mass. The tumor is not the cancer, the tumor is the solution to a cancerous condition. To remove the tumor would be like picking at a scab. All you do is irritate that area, open it up for acids to ooze out causing a domino effect and causing what is referred to as “metastatic cancer.” Biopsies cause metastatic cancer.”
~ Dr. Robert O. Young, M.D. M.S. N.D., D.Sc.
After struggling through an entire year of sickness, I have become soooo frustrated that healing is taking so long. As much as I love my doctor, as he’s as much a friend to me as doctor, he still leans on the side of prescription for symptoms first and natural healing second. It started last year with an exhorbitant amount of stress leading to a 3 week bout with what felt like the flu. Then 2 months later, my first round with shingles. I went through 5 episodes of that this year, with intermittent infections, allergic responses to medications, reactivation of my Crohn’s condition, systemic poison ivy, 2 run-ins with tick bites that caused a flu-like illness and a myriad of other experiences that kept me in adrenal failure due to excessive stress. At one point, it was so bad, I just couldn’t walk and spent nearly 4 months in bed. During this time, I took countless medications and lost quite a bit of weight. And then as soon as I got out of bed, the weight slowly started to crawl back on, surpassed my pre-sickness weight and I am now 30 lbs in surplus of where I started. The depression that causes is amazing. I’ll have a day where I feel totally in control of myself, and I recognize so clearly that this is not in response to any neglect on my part but purely my body trying to protect itself from illness. I recognize the need to rest but at the same time, it is frustrating to be here when I have worked incredibly hard to be heathy and fit and I find myself in tears out of frustration. That side of my brain says, get up!, get to work!, work hard for what you want! SO, I start lifting heavy weights again and walking several times a day (I WANT to run, but running is not healthy for a body that is healing!) And then, here we go again, it causes me to step back because I am over-working a stressed-low immune body which is causing overwhelming fatigue, inability to sleep, and here we are back in the cycle.
This post is to remind you, if you are resting because your body needs it, give yourself permission. If you have a plan for wellness, and you are working hard at not just losing weight or gaining muscle just for “looks” but for health, give yourself the time it takes to heal without beating yourself up over inconsistencies in how your body responds. Remind yourself that it takes time for the body to heal and everything you do affects the healing process. Nutrition, stress control, activity, medication – everything plays a part in the healing process. And our bodies change and adapt over time, so what worked 20 years ago for you, may not work the same or at all now. And remember, that without enough sleep, the body increases hormones that catabolizes muscle for energy. Not only are you exhausted, but any hard work you put into building muscle gets wasted.
To be sure you are getting enough rest, follow these tips for the best possible opportunity for recovery and muscle growth:
Set up an evening routine to prepare for sleep. As soon as the sun goes down, avoid being in places where there is light overhead, only use dimly lit side lamps or ambient lighting. This lowers cortisol levels in your system and gives the body cues to rest.
Avoid adrenaline-inducing activities right before bed such as watching television and playing video games – anything tha engages deep concentration or increased cardiovascular activities such as exercise or arguing. Your body should be slowing down as you near bedtime but it will follow the brain. Teach the brain to engage, the body will too. Teach the brain to rest in the evening . . . and the body will too. Same goes for your morning routine.
Try to get up and go to bed at the same time each night. Expose yourself to light as soon as possible upon rising, and lower light exposure as the sun goes down. I aim to get into bed at least an hour before I plan to lay down and close my eyes. I use this time for personal development or spend extra time in meditation for spiritual growth. In the long run, you’ll reduce stress two-fold by not spending time brooding over the day’s anxieties as you aim to fall into la-la land and the spiritual growth will set you up for long-term success.
Chew your food well but avoid eating at least 3 hours before bedtime. Your body typically needs 6 to 8 hours for food to pass from the stomach and the small intestine into the large intestine. When you eat, you need to chew really well to release enzymes that signal to your body to start the digestive process. The sooner the better, because when you are actually in bed, you want your body to use it’s energy for repair – to recharge, and for muscle and nerve regeneration, not digestion. [For a really cool animation of how digestion works, visit this website and scroll down to ‘Digestion.’]
Aim for no less than 6 hours of sleep, but listen to your body if you feel you need more. Every 90 minutes your body goes through REM sleep, the 5th stage of sleep. You need a minimum of 4 cycles in a night for the body to release needed growth hormone for muscle rebuilding and to balance other hormones such as ghrelin and leptin, which help to manage hunger and satiety. Cutting off sleep by going to bed too late or getting up too early lowers the body’s ability to repair and rebuild and rest which weakens the immune system as well, setting you up for sickness because the body doesn’t have the resources to fight it off.
Keep a pad and pencil or pen on the night stand. From my own experience and working with others struggling with sleep deprivation, I can tell you, if you go to bed with too much on your mind, you will spend hours laying there remembering all the things you didn’t accomplish on your to-do list and what you don’t want to forget tomorrow. You’ll spend precious time making a long mental “don’t forget to do this’ list. Instead, spend 4 or 5 minutes before you turn out the light to review the day’s list and write down what you didn’t finish. I typically do this before I start reading to avoid pitfalls like having my mind wander into “did I finish this? did I turn the stove off? are the cats inside?” and I can concentrate on something I enjoy with no pressure. This way, you can close your eyes knowing you won’t forget and if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night, suddenly remembering something you forgot during the day, you can write it down and get back to the mediterranean, or the mountains of Chile, or back into the arms of your very own sparkly vampire. 🙂
I don’t really understand why we don’t want to spend more time sleeping. Not only is there countless studies that evidence how productive sleep is, there aren’t as many things that feel as comforting as crawling underneath the clean, cool sheets of your bed and drifting off. In the meantime, while you work on creating new, healthy habits to help you sleep, let yourself off the hook and focus on the future. Someone always seems to have it worse and things always, eventually, get better!