In a society where productivity rules, relaxation, and sleep tend to take a back seat, when in fact they should be a priority. 

Being under constant pressure, and feeling stressed, can significantly affect the quality of your sleep, which causes your brain and body to malfunction.

This means that your productivity and overall wellness actually lowers when you don’t take time to de-stress, and have plentiful sleep.

Why is relaxation necessary?

When you are stressed, your body activates the “stress response” as a normal reaction to threatening situations, muscles tense, breathing speeds up, and your heart pounds. Certain relaxation techniques can help you reduce this response and improve your well-being. 

Relaxation techniques for reducing stress

  • Visualization

It is a relaxation technique in which you immerse yourself into visual images that evoke a calming and peaceful scene. The trick is to incorporate as many senses as you can, so when you picture your ideal peaceful setting, think about what you listen to, how it feels, and what it smells like.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation

This technique is focused on variating physical sensations. You start by slowly tensing and relaxing your muscles, going progressively from your toes to your head, you can tense for 5 seconds, relax for 30 seconds and repeat.

Relaxing habits like exercising, practicing a hobby, or simply laughing, have shown to reduce stress hormones, increase good HDL cholesterol, and reduce inflammation in the arteries.

Influence of sleep in wellness

Our bodies go through many internal processes during the day, such as cognitive and emotional processing, and digestion, it’s no surprise that when the day is over we feel exhausted. 

Sleep gives the organs, brain, and muscles a break in order to rest, replenish their strength, and recover from injury. When you don’t sleep well, or don’t sleep at all you are depriving your body of these much-needed processes, triggering serious health consequences.

How sleep benefits your wellbeing

  • Promotes a healthy immune system 

Getting quality sleep on a regular basis helps your body strengthen its immune system. 

A healthy immune system is critical for wellness. It reduces your risk for diseases, heals wounds, and warding off infections.

  • Sleep impacts metabolism and weight

Having a restful sleep aids weight management. Sleep deprivation has shown to cause weight gain since it affects the way your body processes and stores carbohydrates, bad sleep also alters hormones that affect your appetite. 

  • Increases performance and mood

Good sleep sharpens your brain and improves the quality of your performance at work, school, and sports. It also improves your memory and ability to gain knowledge. 

When you are rested, you are less easily irritable, your mood boosts and you are better at socializing.

Relaxation and sleep may be passive approaches to wellness, but in balance, with good nutrition and exercise, they become active forces to a happier and healthier journey.

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