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INSIGHT. Noun. The capacity to gain an accurate, deep and sometimes sudden understanding of someone or something.

Knowledge is power. We want everyone to have access to the experts in the room. Get to know what’s real and what’s a gimmick with our in-depth articles, and start bossing your health and fitness today.
INSIGHT. Noun. The capacity to gain an accurate, deep and sometimes sudden understanding of someone or something.

Knowledge is power. We want everyone to have access to the experts in the room. Get to know what’s real and what’s a gimmick with our in-depth articles, and start bossing your health and fitness today.
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This Is How Sleep Helps You Recover From Exercise And Injury
We’ve all been there. You go for a hard workout, pushing yourself as far as you can and … by the end your reward is a new personal best and a series of aching muscles (or worse an injury). In these scenarios, it can feel frustrating. After such an exercise high, the first thing you want to do is to beat your record again and yet you’re now stuck with the muscle pain wondering how long it will take to heal. The fact is that regardless of an individual’s workout experience, sport recovery is fundamental to muscle repair. While there are many ways to speed up the recovery process like taking our Innermost Recover Capsules or slowly rebuilding the muscles through light walks, most of us frequently neglect the most important form of recovery which is adequate sleep. While one-night of low sleep alone won’t impact long-term recovery, figures show that 77% of adults are not sleeping the recommended 8 hours a day and as many as 18% sleep less than 6 hours. As we’ve previously written about the benefits that exercise can have on sleep, we feel its only fair to highlight the importance that sleep has on workout recovery. Why is sleep so important in recovery? As frustrating as it can be, it’s nigh-on impossible to quickly recover from muscle pain and continue to smash those PBs without adequate rest. While getting a good amount of sleep can seem like a small afterthought (perhaps even a luxury) when we have to fit it around our busy lives, a decent night’s rest is where the body is best at recovering the soft and neural tissues after an intense workout. But just why is that? How is it your body heals faster during sleep and what is the science behind it?    Increased Blood flow Interestingly, this occurs during Non-Rem Stage 3 of the sleep cycle in which the body is in the deepest part of sleep. During this stage the body priorities the repairing and regrowth of body tissue, as well as building bone and muscle (sounds like a good exercise-recovery plan to me). While it might seem like it should be the opposite, the faster recovery can largely be attributed to the increased blood flow and therefore greater flow of oxygen and nutrients to the damaged muscles during this sleep stage. Recovery Hormones A well-rested sleep - in line with the internal body clock - also plays a part in the production and regulation of several hormones that stimulate muscle recovery. During the deep stages of Non-REM sleep for instance the pituitary gland aids in the repairing of muscles through the release of growth hormones. Evidence also shows that a well-rested night contributes to improved performance and pain sensitivity as the hormone prolactin – released during this process – regulates muscle inflammation and allows the body to heal itself effectively. Faster reflex times Another perhaps overlooked benefit of sleep on an individual’s recovery are the improvements to cognitive response it can bring during the muscle rehabilitation process. A faster reflex time is a good example of this. In truth, during a light workout after injury the last thing you want to do is put unwanted pressure on a muscle. An improved reflex time allows an individual to react faster and with clearer judgment to any potential hazards and avoiding a recovery setback through injury inflammation. Improved Mental Wellbeing We know we’ve mentioned this before, but a key benefit of exercise is the positive impact it can have on mental wellbeing – thanks to our good endorphin friends serotonin and dopamine. That’s just another reason why recovering from any injury can be a tough challenge; you lose the elation of a phenomenon like runners high and suddenly, your mood can begin to dip. Getting into the routine of a good night’s sleep can actually contribute to improved mental clarity and wellness. This is because the brain’s ability to process positive emotional information is improved during REM - which occurs more frequently from longer sleep. How to get the best possible sleep While it’s true that a deep sleep is really important to recovering from injury, all this means nothing if you’re tossing and turning all night. To this end, there are a few changes surrounding sleep conditions that can vastly improve an individual’s quality of sleep. Sleeping Comfort The idea of comfort being tied to good sleep, who would have guessed? But you’d be surprised how often we take comfort for granted, especially during period of muscle fatigue or after an injury. While the Mayo Clinic recommends sleeping on your side to improve airway clearance, you should try and sleep in a position that best accommodates the muscle injury – the last thing anyone wants to do is to strain the muscle further during a night’s sleep. If you’re not sure on the best position to not further aggravate an injury, consider seeking advise from your doctor or a medical professional. It’s also a good idea to try and invest in a quality mattress that offers healthy pressure relief on injury pain points to better optimise sleep recovery.    Sleeping Environment Often times, the environment with which we sleep in can be just as important as the bed itself in getting a good night’s rest and repairing the muscles. We’d recommend trying to create a restful, cool, and dark environment away from any reminders of day stresses. This does also mean not using your phone before going to bed – something we’ve all definitely been guilty of – as the light from the screen can disrupt the production of the hormone melatonin and disrupt the sleep cycle. If you’re finding that you just can’t get good enough sleep, it can be a good idea to plan a sleep schedule each night based around how much rest you think you can get. This can also be tailored to the injury rehabilitation process to ultimately get the most out of sleep recovery. Essentially it’s about balance. Be kind, plan for the days you know you might have impacted sleep and try to avoid any rehabilitation exercises the next day.        How much sleep should I get? The key question here; how much sleep is the right amount to speed up muscle recovery? While it’s recommended that you should aim for at least 7 to 9 hours per night depending on age, the exact time, speed, and extent of muscle repair varies greatly from person to person. For a more definitive answer, we’d recommend contacting your local physiotherapist – or general practitioner – who can give advice more tailored towards your specific injury and rehabilitation requirements.    At the end of all this, we hope this this will help with any current or future muscle injuries you may have. While it might seem strange, the recovery stage of a workout is arguably as important as an individual’s diet and perhaps even the exercise itself. To this end, it can be a good idea to think of the recovery as another stage of the workout process and sleep as the unexplored treasure that will help you smash the next PB.   Interested to learn more about workout recovery? Wondering on the best ways to fuel your next workout? Perhaps you have some amazing and inspired ideas to share? Don’t hesitate to message us over on our Instagram @liveinnermost. Read more
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The Innermost Guide To Psychobiotics
There’s a lot of talk at the moment about our gut health and for good reason. If you’ve been scrolling through any form of social media – maybe you’ve even caught a few of those adverts about bacteria friendly yogurts – then you’ve probably heard of the benefits that a healthy gut can have on the body’s physical health. New evidence however suggests you have an extra reason to value the bacteria living in your microbiome: if they’re happy, so are you! This is what scientists term as the gut-brain axis. Studies show that a healthy gut microbiome is fundamental in linking the emotional centres of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions - think of a moment when you’ve had butterflies and felt excited or nervous, that’s the gut-brain axis in action.  With these new discoveries, scientists have developed an equally apt term for these mentally beneficial gut bacteria called psychobiotics. Psychobiotics refer to bacteria that positively influence the gut-brain axis by balancing out the microorganisms within the gut-microbiome. But just what are psychobiotics? How do psychobiotics work? Could they be used in the future to treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety by targeting gut health? What are psychobiotics? The term ‘psychobiotics’ doesn’t refer to any specific bacterial discovery or naturalistic fallacy. Instead, it is an all-encompassing term relating to any probiotic or prebiotic microorganism that reacts with the bodies existing gut bacteria to confer mental health benefits through the gut-brain axis. When ingested in an optimal and individually tailored quantity, psychobiotics improve the body’s ability to communicate between the gut and the brain and subsequently offer a wide range of benefits relating to psychological wellbeing. While the idea of using these psychobiotics to impact the gut microbiome and improve mental health might seem silly, the gut is actually responsible for a lot of brain chemical processes. It houses an estimated 70% of our brains eventual immune cells, in addition to around 95% of our total serotonin – the feel-good chemical in the brain. As shown in controlled studies, a healthy gut actually increases the amount of this chemical being communicated to the brain. Not every pre and probiotic has the same impact on the gut microbiome however, meaning that not all are classed as a psychobiotics. It’s entirely dependent on the bacterial benefits towards an individual’s mental health. Psychobiotic bacteria also come in all shapes and sizes and studies have shown that they confer different benefits relative to individual mental illnesses.  What can they treat? While scientific research into the benefits of psychobiotics on the brain-gut axis is still very much in its infancy – at least when compared to more established mental wellness treatments – we already know so much about the microorganisms. This makes psychobiotics one of the most exciting and interesting medical wellness fields. While not a fully comprehensive list, here are a few key benefits of psychobiotics backed up by scientific studies:  Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders with an estimated 1 in 6 impacted by the condition. Again, while the general understanding of depression is limited, researchers have begun to identify different neurotransmitters potentially responsible for the condition that are also produced by the gut microbe through different psychobiotics. Our Innermost Digest Capsules for instance contain both probiotic macrospores and prebiotic acacia fibre. While the former improves absorption of nutrients and reduces inflammation, the latter builds a stronger and diverse microbiome. Essentially, they strengthen the gut-brain axis. Both of these psychobiotic examples have also been evidenced to reverse depression symptoms from those suffering from IBS. Schizophrenia is also a complex and long-term mental health with surprisingly minimal comprehensive research. Like gut-based afflictions such as IBS, one consistent factor of schizophrenia is the influence of genetics upon the disease. This has led to further studies into role of the gut microbiome in schizophrenia, with it suggested that gastrointestinal inflammation plays a key role in the development of the disease due to the microbiome imbalance. This is something that psychobiotic examples like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli have been suggested to benefit through the production of GABA – this generates dopamine, the brains feel good chemical. Anxiety disorders are complex and can be caused by numerous factors – both genetic and environmental. This has led to many studies attempting to determine the benefits that psychobiotics can have for anxiety. While much research is still emerging, current evidence suggests that the vague nerve, one of the key communication processes between the brain and intestines can offer relief from the flight or fight struggles of an anxiety attack when triggered.    How to implement psychobiotics into your daily life It’s true that the prospect of adding another caveat to your dietary intake can seem daunting, we have prepared a few simple and easy tricks below to make going about it a breeze. Psychobiotic Diet One tried and true method is to get the mental wealth good stuff into your day is to slowly add psychobiotic foods into your daily diet until it becomes second nature routine. Foods like Yogurt and drinks like Kefir are a particularly good choice as they’re perfect for any time of day. For anyone feeling like something a little different, international dishes like Sauerkraut in Germany and Tempeh in Japan are full to the brim with the healthy gut-brain bacterium. Consuming these psychobiotic foods also has the benefit of providing a whole host of other beneficial nutrients as well as just being delicious to boot. Psychobiotic Supplements If you’re finding that you don’t have time to search for the more nuanced probiotic foods, you might find it beneficial to try probiotic supplements like the Innermost digest capsules (wink wink) as these provide a much greater concentration of the good stuff when compared to food intake. Like anything, we would always recommend that individuals get a mix of both into daily life to create the perfect balance of convenience, nutrient uptake, and psychobiotic benefit. Psychobiotics going forward While our understanding of the gut-brain axis and psychobiotics is still very much in its infancy, our scientific understanding of gut health has come along way. From what was before seen as a taboo talking point, many people – us included – now feel confident to add to the discussion and begin to make changes to diet, lifestyle, and sleep, with the aim of improving wellbeing by improving gut health. Thanks to an increasing number of scientific studies, we can take away that the gut and mind are deeply connected and can be optimised through psychobiotics to improve mental wellbeing. With all this said however mental health conditions are highly complex with a wide range of medications and therapies used as treatments. As such, it’s important to take psychobiotic supplements in conjunction with these other therapies to get the best outcome possible. Here at Innermost, we are at the forefront of science led solutions to individual wellness. That’s why we offer only the best and means evaluated pro and prebiotic supplements to help improve gut-brain health and communication. Not sure where to start? Contact our team at Innermost today for individually tailored from our expert consultation. Read more
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