It doesn’t matter if you’re a highly trained athlete or a factory worker, rest and recovery is a basic tenet of life. Work and play both require energy to be moved out of storage and put into use. Following any activity, the body has to shift into recovery for repair and maintenance.
This activity is referred to as anabolic and catabolic—two distinct phases of metabolism.
Anabolic is the building phase. Any time your body is storing or replenishing reserves it is in an anabolic state. Catabolic is the exact opposite—it’s all about breakdown and utilization of energy. Both are great and wonderful processes when they are in balance. What throws a wrench into the process? Chronic stress.
Being locked into chronic stress puts catabolic into overdrive. The body is in full breakdown mode and the normal cellular processes of protection and regeneration fail to engage. This happens whenever you’re locked into sympathetic nervous system response. Try to think of it as an all day stress response.
Anabolic is associated with parasympathetic nervous system, it is being fully present and aware in the moment. Deep sleep activates anabolic as well. One of the reasons sleep is so important is that it’s the time your body and brain uses to heal. If you’re healthy and have a balanced stress response, you enter into an anabolic state in sleep where 70—80% of your daily calories are used for rejuvenation.
Night time is truly the right time for the type of rest and recovery you must have for good health. Herbs like reishi, rhodiola, and ashwagandha (found in our formulas TianChi and Inner Peace) allow the body to adapt to the flow of life, providing strength and endurance when needed, and the shift back into rest and recovery when the day is over.