Good sleep habits: 5 important factors for a longer life

Good sleep habits have been shown to increase life expectancy by up to five years. A study that will be presented next month has thrown up some startling new data. Over 172,000 adults of an average age of 50 years were tracked for five years. Their sleep habits were recorded and correlated with death rates and causes of death.

Participants were followed for a median of 4.3 years during which time 8,681 individuals died. Of these deaths, 2,610 deaths (30%) were from cardiovascular disease, 2,052 (24%) were from cancer, and 4,019 (46%) were due to other causes.

The 5 good sleep habits

Good sleep habits can increase life expectancy by 2-5 years.  Rose Tint Your Life logo with a half moon and two zz's representing sleep.

The five factors of good quality sleep are:

  1. ideal sleep duration of seven to eight hours a night
  2. difficulty falling asleep no more than two times a week
  3. trouble staying asleep no more than two times a week
  4. not using any sleep medication
  5. feeling well-rested after waking up at least five days a week.

Those study participants who reported that they slept 7-8 hours per night, had difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep less than twice per week, used no sleep medication, and awoke feeling rested most days lived, on average 2-5 years longer than the study participants who did not fulfill all these criteria.

Bear in mind, these good sleep habits are self-reported. So, they are subjective.

What happens when we sleep

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, but science, as yet, is not fully able to explain the whys and wherefores of sleep. Still, we know that there are certain good sleep habits that we must get right, most of the time.

What we do know is that humans seem to need about 7-8 hours of sleep, in nighttime hours, preferably at the same time, every night.

Deep breathing

When we think of someone sleeping, we usually imagine a person lying down and breathing deeply. In fact, for a breathwork instructor like me, sleeping breath is endlessly fascinating. Countless people are assailed by snoring and sleep apnea at night, But, the healthy sleeping breath is slow, deep and rhythmic, with a sound not unlike that of waves upon a seashore. Good sleep habits, for me, include breathing through the nose and not snoring.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CFS)

This slow, deep rhythmic breath seems to help “wash” the brain by stimulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, or CFS. (There is even one study that confirms that yogic breathing techniques also stimulate CFS flow in the brain).

Lymph

Deep breathing also stimulates lymphatic flow. This is due to the pumping of the diaphragm and the resulting push-pull in the ventral (abdominal) space. Lymphatic flow is vital for immunity, so it stands to reason that the deep breathing of good sleep helps immunity. Also, just lying down takes the pressure off our lovely lymphatic system. What more reason do you need??

How to sleep better at night naturally

Habits for better sleep include keeping regular hours, not eating heavy meals late at night, using alcohol moderately, and practicing yoga, breathwork, and meditation. Yoga has been shown to help people sleep better. Massage also promotes better sleep quality. It would almost seem that my whole professional offer is about better sleep! Well, not quite. But, I am a former insomniac and I can tell you that I now sleep better and longer than ever before.

Good sleep habits for insomnia include not lying in bed for too long if you do awaken at night, not drinking too much water before bed, taking Magnesium and/or GABA (not if you’re on anti-depressants), and making sure that your bed linen is not too heavy or too light. If you are prone to waking with racing thoughts, keep a book and a pen next to your bed so that you can jot down whatever it is that you’re thinking and, hopefully, get back to sleep.

Your sleep hygiene checklist

If you need a little help to get some rest, do try to limit screen time before bed, avoid energetic exercise, avoid spicy food and caffeine after midday, practice deep breathing and conscious relaxation, take time to hug and caress your loved ones, and spend some time looking at the moon, the stars, or even a pretty plant. In short, tune into yourself and tune the world out!

Conclusion

Rose Tint Your Life is a conceptual project on how to make life a little more fun, just by tweaking normal everyday habits. I hope to offer insight into research and theory on longevity and anti-aging. I always work from the basis of Spirituality with my feet on the ground.

Sleep is cheap, natural, and normal. We all do it, but some people truly struggle to sleep well and enough. If you are interested in using natural methods like yoga, breathing, and massage to help you to sleep better, get in touch with me via my Whatsapp button or my contact form.

If your head is what is spinning, meditation and mindfulness might help, too. I teach both in private and online sessions. I think you’re worth investing in. Do you?

Good sleep habits, if not learned in childhood, can be developed in adulthood. Learning good sleep habits is fundamental for good health and for longevity. Not only does sleep allow the body to rest and the spirit to dream, but it also lets the CFS and the lymph flow. So what are you waiting for? Get to bed!

Sending good vibes from here,

Rachel

Social relationships matter: an unsettling 20-year study

Social Life matters

The social life of nearly 5000 Australian women was tracked over a period of twenty years. At the same time, their diagnosed illnesses were also tracked. The results may shock you: poor social relationships are strongly associated with illness. The importance of social relationships is a major factor in health and well-being.

About the study

An image showing the RR logo and a circle of stick figures holding hands, representing social life and relationship.

The study, “Social relationship satisfaction and accumulation of chronic conditions and multimorbidity: a national cohort of Australian women” was published on 21 February 2023. It presents the results of twenty years of research.

Background Social relationships are associated with mortality and chronic conditions. However, little is known about the effects of social relationship satisfaction on multiple chronic conditions (multimorbidity).

Multimorbidity

First of all, let’s define multimorbidity. Multimorbidity is when a person has multiple chronic conditions. This would mean having both depression and heart disease at the same time. Or, being obese and having cancer. Chronic diseases are diseases that cannot be cured. They can be managed, but once they are diagnosed, they’re with you for life. In aging populations, like those of Europe, there are large numbers of people living with multimorbidity. Social relationships and health will be at the forefront of anti-aging medicine in the next two decades, I predict

Multimorbidity is an unfortunate reality one sees first-hand when working with Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Oncology Massage. Rarely will a patient present with only a tumor, for example. Of course, it’s the medical team who looks after the pathologies. But the holistic massage therapist can support some elements of the social life of the patient. Not by befriending them, although of course, a relationship does grow. The support comes more in the sense of holding space, active listening, and coaching with emotional intelligence.

Social relationships

The researchers define social relationships as either structural, functional, or qualitative. Structural refers to the number of friends, and being married or not. Functional refers to people’s sense of being supported and loneliness. Qualitative refers to how a relationship is perceived. As the quote says, it is better to be alone than in bad company.

5 examples of social relationships could be a spouse, a child, a cousin, a friend, or a trusted colleague. Each of these relationships would then be classed within the structural/functional/qualitative scale.

This study demonstrates that the quality of these people’s social relationships plays a role in the development of these illnesses. As they write:

We have demonstrated a dose-response relationship between social relationship satisfaction and the accumulation of multimorbidity from midlife to early old age, which was only partly explained by socioeconomic, behavioral, and reproductive factors. Social connections (eg, social relationship satisfaction) should be considered a public health priority in chronic disease prevention and intervention.

Emotional Intelligence for healing

What this study is really telling us is that we are more likely to get sick if we don’t have healthy social relationships. So, the question is: What do we do with this information?

The path of healing is long and multi-faceted. Yoga philosophy begins with certain ethical pillars about how we treat ourselves and others. I suggest that we use the Yamas and Niyamas to guide us. These are simple things like telling the truth, seeking enjoyment in life, and not harming others. I say simple, but many of the social problems that we encounter, especially as we age, have to do with basic principles of decency, kindness, contentment, and honesty.

Self-knowledge

The art of Self-examination, with the goal of Self-knowledge, is a very worthwhile pursuit, and will often help to put order to your social life.

When you start to look at your social relationships, it often stings a little. It always takes two to tango, and if a relationship has failed, it usually has to do with both people. (Unless, of course, your best friend sleeps with your husband or something like that…)

You may decide to make repairs with someone who has drifted away. You may decide to cut ties with that certain frenemy. You may decide to use clearer language around boundaries with a friend who doesn’t show up for you when you need it. There are myriad ways that knowing yourself will help you get to know other people who are kindred and true friends.

Energetic-emotional body

Using emotional intelligence and active listening, I can offer you a safe space in which to voice thoughts and feelings that might otherwise remain unsaid.

Referring to the qualitative element of social relationships, it is curious how we can sometimes have loads of people around us, but no one to talk to. If there is unhealed trauma, even marriages can feel incredibly lonely. That is why having a discreet and professional therapist can be so helpful. And no, I am not a psychologist, and I don’t pretend to be.

With my long studies in yoga and vibrational healing, however, I can usually offer some pretty helpful insight about the energetic-emotional body and where different emotions sit and/or manifest. Bodywork, in fact, gives a unique insight into emotions precisely because it deals with somatized stress and unexpressed feelings.

Massage is a stress-buster

Let’s not forget that massage directly helps to bust stress by flooding the body with the feel-good chemical oxytocin. Oxytocin is the natural antidote to high cortisol levels, and just bringing the stress levels down a bit will probably help your relationships. , Of course, a massage isn’t going to heal all this. But, it can certainly take the edge off embodied stress and help you feel safer and softer. The added combination of sound therapy brings new resonance to your lived experience!

Why this matters to Rose Tint Your Life

Rose Tint Your Life is a concept of how to live well. I am not a fan of the “cult of positivity”. In fact, I think that it is unrealistic and impossible to be always positive. There are quite a few thinkers who share this opinion. We call it “Grounded Spirituality”. If you’re interested, check out Jeff Brown‘s work.

Massage is my “vehicle”, but my message is about the unity of body, mind, and spirit. I happen to start with the body because a sore, tense, traumatized body will never support a peaceful mind or serene spirit. This is in keeping with the yoga sutras, which use yoga âsana to bring about stillness in the body, with the specific aim of allowing us to practice meditation.

This study is helpful for those of us who are working in grounded spirituality. It helps us to understand how important connection, companionship, and support truly are. Furthermore, it demonstrates that our feelings do have an impact on our health.

Rose Tint Your Life by nurturing your social relationships. And if you’re feeling stuck, get a massage. It is a simple, low-tech, reliable way to feel better. And, if you’re with a grounded therapist, so much the better! 💚

Conclusion

If you think that your social relationships could do with some sprucing up or paring back, and you’re not sure how to start, maybe just start with looking after yourself. You can always get in touch with me via the Whatsapp button on my contact page. I look forward to seeing how we can work together. Sending good vibes from here,

-Rachel

Strong massage: 1-10 how much ouch is enough?

Strong massage: no pain, no gain? How much ouch is too much?

Strong massage: how much ouch is too much? One of the greatest misconceptions about massage therapy is: it has to hurt to be effective.

Rose Tint Your Life massage therapy
Oil massage

No pain, no gain? 😥 A great misconception…

Now, a lot of people think “no pain, no gain”. That’s something that is really deeply implanted in our culture. But, actually, I don’t really think that’s effective in the context of massage, even strong massage. That is why it is one of the greatest misconceptions about my art!

The true art of massage

So many times people will say “I like a really strong massage”, but actually what they are saying is “I find it really hard to relax”. This is where the Art of Massage comes in. A truly skilled and experienced therapist will find the line between pleasure and pain and stay there!

When something starts to hurt, you tense up. This a perfectly natural reaction when someone sticks an elbow into the middle of your back! This is counter-productive because the whole point of massage is to help you to relax your muscles.

When we talk about relaxation, it’s not only about chilling out in your mind. We are talking about physically de-contracting your muscles, which means that you are getting the real benefit of massage.

Skeletal muscle is controlled by your motor neurons. Unless you have a pathology (Parkinsons’ Disease, or ALS, for example) or a severe nutritional deficiency (Magnesium, Potassium, etc), the degree to which your muscles are contracted is largely determined by the messages that they are receiving from your central nervous system.

Most modern adults are subject to chronic stress. We tend to overuse caffeine to counteract the lack of rest. Caffeine causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline. Adrenaline causes the heart rate to accelerate and the muscle fibers to contract. When a muscle is chronically tense (think of your poor shoulder muscles…), some of the fibers may lack adequate blood supply causing them to dry out and even atrophy! This means that the muscle is largely unable to de-contract.

The ability to tell your muscles to relax is classic Mind-Body work. In today’s world, it’s almost like a superpower! A skilled massage therapist, using the correct pressure and in the right space, facilitates the relaxation of these poor, tense muscles without causing pain. No pain, no gain? Not always.

On a scale of 1-10, spiritual healing would be a 1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage would be a 2, maybe 3 at most. Aromatherapy massage is usually gentle, maybe 4 or 5. Swedish massage sits between 5-7. Deep tissue and fascial massage, both of which are strong massage techniques, would be at the top end of the scale. Hot stone massage can be used to intensify the treatment, especially if the stones are used to massage. However, placement stones bring the intensity of the treatment down as they prepare the tissues for manipulation.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage has four main movements: stroking, rubbing, kneading, and tapping. Any of these can be used with varying degrees of intensity to get the desired result.

What type of massage should I get?

Massage therapy should always be personalized. No two people are the same, so no two treatments will be the same. Even the same person can have different needs depending on the day or what they’ve been doing. In general, if you are a sporty type, I would recommend the fascial and deep tissue massage, maybe even a hot stone massage. If you have a more delicate constitution or have been through a tough time recently, I would recommend a gentle, holistic treatment with aromatherapy and some head, neck, and face massage. There is always enough time to have a chat beforehand so that we can agree on your needs.

Where can I find a strong massage near me?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re in the Altea, Albir, or Benidorm area of Alicante province. My massage therapy studio is conveniently located in the center of beautiful Altea. Altea has lovely shops and restaurants, a gorgeous seafront and good public transport links. There is paid on-street parking, an underground parking garage only a 2-minute walk away and loads of free parking within a five-minute flat walk.

So, get in touch, come along and give it a go! You can use the Whatsapp button in the bottom right corner, of just text me at +34667997532. I offer professional therapeutic massage, hot stone massage, deep tissue massage, and manual lymphatic drainage from my beautiful therapy room in Altea. Whether you are here year-round, or just on a visit, I am sure that you need and deserve to relax, unwind and manage your stress levels. That is what I am here for!

Rose tint your life! 🌸