Posts tagged #sleep


Spring has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere and there is no better time to begin the very good habit of rising early to greet the morning sun. In fact, there are many health benefits associated with morning sunshine. Even the birds and other animals provide a veritable symphony of song and dance in praise of the sun.

Greeting the morning sunshine (without wearing sunglasses) can easily be added into a daily routine by taking a walk in nature or practicing something like tai chi or yoga whilst looking into the morning sun. And some of the health benefits include:

·       It Sets Up a Good Circadian Rhythm

·       Helps the Brain Work Better

·       Stimulates Serotonin

·       Begins the Cascade Effect of Daily Hormones

·       Regulates Nervous System & Hormones

·       Prevents Depression

·       Helps Cognition, Mood & Vitality

Setting up a good circadian rhythm or body clock is crucial to good health. When sunlight hits our eyes, a message is sent to the pineal gland in the brain and production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleep) is shut down and your body gets a clear signal that it’s no longer night. This sets us up for a productive day, as well as a good night’s sleep later in the day.

Being exposed to sunlight early in the morning (instead of later in the day) is associated with a lower BMI. And messing with your body clock and missing out on early rays may affect your hunger and satiety signals and alter the way your body processes the foods you eat, leading to possible weight gain.

Hormones are secreted throughout the day and greeting the morning sun sets this process in motion, which is why maintaining a healthy body clock serves your hormonal wellbeing.

Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin - a neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce mood swings. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant by preventing depression by producing endorphins. Starting the day with a dose of sunshine helps the brain work better so that your cognitive performance and energy is improved.

The bottom line is that the sun can help brain function, which can improve the nervous system, hormonal regulation, muscle function, immune health, and carries many other health benefits. The brain’s circadian clock regulates sleeping and feeding patterns, alertness, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, regulation of glucose and insulin levels, urine production, cell regeneration, and many other biological activities. 



As we power through the 21st century, it can sometimes feel as though we exist in a perpetual state of busyness. Often, with busyness, comes the inevitable... stress. Whether it’s the stress to perform well at work or in our studies, or to keep abreast of what’s happening in our lives. Generally at some point we may all experience the effects of stress.

When talk turns to stress, we immediately associate it with negative implications and something we should strive to avoid. In fact, we actually need a good dose of stress to get us moving, enticing us to move forward in our daily lives. However, there is a fine line between having enough stress to motivate without causing too much pressure. The key to good health and wellbeing is finding that very balance that enhances rather than incapacitates us.

Research suggests that at least one in four Australians experience moderate to severe levels of stress1. Think about how often you have heard friends and family say that they are stressed? You’ve probably said it a million times yourself. But what is stress?

Stress is a natural response to a challenging situation, which may be caused by what’s happening around us as well as the demands we place on ourselves. It causes the ‘fight or flight’ response in our bodies that enables us to react to the stressors in our lives. When most people talk about stress they primarily refer to emotional distress, which includes feelings of anger or irritability, anxiety and depression, which is attached to a whole range of physical and physiological responses such as muscular and digestive problems.

If not managed, a build up of stress can lead to health issues such headaches, muscular tension, sleeplessness and a heightened susceptibility to colds and flus. Left untreated, the strain on the body from the symptoms of stress can manifest into serious health conditions leading to heart disease, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and anxiety disorder.

It’s not all doom and gloom, because when managed, stress can work for you. Every body reacts to stress differently, and while some may cope, others may struggle when confronted with the same issues. The key is in recognising your own limits and implementing strategies to keep you from crossing over that fine line to destress.

As spa and wellness professionals, its particularly important that we walk our talk and make a consistent habit of supporting our wellbeing so as to maintain a healthy level of calm. Here are some tips and reminders toward living a calm balanced lifestyle. 

Exercise - whether that’s a heart thumping run or a stroll along the beach or through the bush, whatever it is, get the body moving.

Sleep – it is recommended that adults need between seven and nine hours sleep a night to allow the body to repair and rejuvenate.

Eat well – fuelling up on nutritious wholefoods not only boosts the immune system, but also creates calm in a body that’s already functioning in a high state of arousal. 

Share your stress – talk about how you feel, if not to friends and family, to a qualified health professional.

Explore relaxation – regularly practice meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, tai chi or treat yourself to a spa treatment and time out from your daily routine.

Life is for living and the more present we can be, the more we can enjoy the magic of each moment and share the calm with friends, family and clients.