You’ve heard of intermittent fasting; cycles of eating between a certain amount of hours or days to promote weight loss. Now say hello to intermittent resting – the theory that suggests you should give your brain and body a break every 90 mins for ultimate wellbeing.
Just like we go through cycles of deep and light sleep through the night, studies suggest that we go through similar cycles during the day, too. Fitness expert Nahid de Belgeonne says, “The body also has ultradian rhythms (the daytime version) which is a 90-120 minute cycle of productivity, followed by a natural dip in energy of around 20 minutes, when it is a good time to rest.” Even if you’re retired, a 20-minute break from any task to go for a walk or take a power nap will help boost energy levels when you come back to what you were doing.
There’s such a thing as being too tired, and if we’re not getting enough rest throughout the day, our bodies don’t always make up for it at night, leaving us feeling lethargic. Knowing when you need to reset and refuel during the day is a good practice to get into.
Get more sleep
Spikes of cortisol – the fight or flight stress management hormone – can wreak havoc on getting a restful night’s sleep. Following a stressful moment, we need time to reset. “That process needs to happen throughout the day, not just when we are sleeping,” says De Belgeonne.
Less stress and exhaustion
With the pandemic causing so much disruption to our daily lives, everyone has dealt with a larger amount of stress than usual. Ensuring we’re properly resting – without TV or screens to distract us – has never been more important.
Regulate our nervous system
Our nervous system – the network behind the flight or fight response and hormones – is negatively impacted by stress, and can cause us to get ill. Resting can help bring your heart rate down, reduce blood sugar and relax the overall body, helping boost overall wellness.
Reduce risk of stroke and heart attack
Excess levels of cortisol can, over time, cause blood sugar to block arteries and lead to heart serious health issues. Taking time to be calm and enjoy the outdoors sounds small, but can really help to bring our stress levels down.
Becoming better aware of our own internal body clocks means we can leave the more stressful jobs for times when we’re feeling full of beans, and take it easy when we’re less-so. Regular breaks have been shown to improve productivity, creativity and reduce the risk of stress-related illnesses.
Want to read more? We spoke to Dr Michael Moseley to find out how stress can affect the way we eat.