Our bodies repair themselves when they are at rest.
Throughout the day our bodies are busy dealing with all the stresses and stimulus we encounter, busy fueling muscle activity, regulating body temperature, digesting food, circulating oxygen and nutrients to all of your cells, synthesizing proteins and enzymes, fighting off invading pathogens like bacteria and viruses, and replacing skin cells as the old ones die and fall off.
Our minds are equally busy keeping track of schedules and mental "To Do" lists, processing information coming in from all of our senses, dealing with people in our environment, communicating with the world around us, accomplishing tasks set down by ourselves or our employers or loved ones, keeping track of the current standards of social etiquette and controlling our behavior, dealing with emotional responses from ourselves and from others; even the mindless tasks take mental effort.
This is just scratching the surface of how busy our bodies and minds are all day long. There are an estimated 10 trillion cells in our bodies and they are ALL doing something this very second. When we are at rest, mentally and physically, our minds are less distracted by the world around us. Our muscles stop moving. Our breathing slows down. Our heart rate drops. The electrical output of our brains slows down, and stabilizes at a lower wave length. Our body now has more resources and fuel at its disposal to focus on repairing the damage you have inflicted on yourself throughout the day (keep in mind this still requires you to have given your body the nutrients it needs to carry out the repairs). This is when we heal.
Our bodies need a good 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Your own body will determine the exact amount needed. Studies suggest that getting only 4 to 5 hours will have negative physiological and behavioral effects, which can lead to illness and death. Our bodies also have a natural, mid-afternoon, slight dip in energy. Instead of guzzling down another cup of coffee, or those chemical soup-in-a-can energy drinks, give your body what it actually needs, and take a moment to rest and recharge. Let your body recharge the way it is designed to.
With our busy schedules, and restless nights, many of us do not get enough quality sleep to achieve optimum health. The good news is, it's possible to attain a deep state of rest while awake, and extend the body's daily ability to heal itself. Meditation and Massage Therapy both offer our bodies a chance to passively "zone out," and focus its much needed resources towards self-repair.
When a dog gets sick, it finds itself a quiet corner, lies down, and rests until it's better. It's not always beneficial to take advice from a dog, but this may be one of those rare cases. When we were sick as kids, we pretty much stayed in bed all day, because that's all we felt like doing. It shouldn't be any different for adults, but our health is not given the priority it deserves. With great health, anything is possible. With diminished health, our options can dwindle, and the quality of our lives can plunge, which will certainly affect those around us as well.
Make sure you get enough rest to keep your body in prime working order. Make your health a priority in your life, and you will give yourself the ability to explore and expand your real potential.