Renowned sleep expert and UC Irvine professor introduces the “downstate”—the key to rest and rejuvenation on a cellular level—and how to maximize it for energy, balance, and vitality.
If you’re like most people, chances are you’re feeling the daily grind of go-go-go, do-do-do. And maybe that’s starting to wear on you but you’re not quite sure what to do, since those platitudes of “just slow down, learn to meditate” aren’t resonating. The good news is that you have an intrinsic toolkit you can apply to rest and rejuvenate all your key body systems. It’s called the Downstate, and Dr. Sara Mednick is here to tell you how to access it—and how it can truly change your life.
Dr. Mednick lives, breathes, and eats sleep; as a Professor of Cognitive Science at UCI and world expert on sleep (specifically, the role sleep plays in forming our long‑term memories, regulating our emotions, keeping our cardiovascular system functioning properly, and helping older adults stay alert and agile) she has discovered just how important that nighttime Downstate is for our mental and physical health. The findings at her lab and in the sleep science community have established that “Downstates” are the driving force for all sleep's restorative benefits. Not only that, the Downstate is an integral part of all the physiological, cognitive, and emotional processes that allow us to stay as strong as possible–yet it is often ignored by our stressful, nonstop lives. But respecting the Downstate means longer, healthier life. In this smart, accessible guide, you’ll learn the science—including what your nervous system really does, as well as tackling circadian rhythms and how important it is that we pay attention to them. And then you get deeper into the Downstate and learn the customizable four‑week Recovery Plan, an evidence‑based program that encompasses all the most up‑to‑date findings from autonomic, sleep, circadian rhythms, exercise physiology, and nutrition research. Translation: the practical tools so you can thrive in any way you want without burning out.
Dr. Mednick isn’t going to tell you to stop working so hard. She’s not here to suggest you are wrong for loving the sweet smell of ambition in the morning. Rather, she shares that you—all of us—actually can handle any reasonable amount of stress, as long as we replenish ourselves on a daily basis by engaging in activities that make us feel rested, full of energy, and loved. That’s the Power of the Downstate. By working your Downstate to its maximum you can handle anything that comes your way.
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