The ‘Always Hot’ State

Yesterday (and many times before) I strongly recommended unlpugging daily.

I stated that not to do so, or, to be constantly plugged in, was ‘very bad’.

That may be obvious to some of you but, allow me to define ‘very bad’ a bit more clearly.

There are two known branches of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).

I’ve written about these in some detail previously. I hear them spoken about in popular culture more often lately than in recent years. General awareness of them is higher today than it was five years ago.

Many people know that the PNS is associated with ‘rest, relaxation, & recovery’, while the SNS is associated with ‘fight or flight’.

The most practical analogy I’ve heard for understanding how the PNS & SNS work together is that they are not like light switches; it is not the case that when one is ‘on’, the other is ‘off’.

They are more like running hot & cold water faucets in your sink. You can adjust the temperature to varying degrees, from very cold, to lukewarm, to very hot.

There are times that you need boiling hot water, and also times that ice cold is quite soothing. (We’ll talk about cold showers, which I take every morning, soon.)

Of course the ‘temperature’ your PNS & SNS run at is not fully in your control; the circadian rhythm of day & night plays a role.

Here’s the deal:

You don’t want your SNS to constantly be activated to a high degree, all day long, and especially not as you wind down your day in the evening, when your body needs to ‘cool down’, and activate hormones that foster digestion, rest, cellular repair, and sleep.

The more and longer you ‘run hot’, the more repair time you deny yourself.

It is very difficult to do anything effectively in this ‘always hot’ state …

  • To lose weight (if that’s your goal);
  • To gain muscle;
  • To perform well in school, athletics, arts, or work;
  • To enjoy life;
  • To show up in relationships to the best of your ability;
  • To reduce unnecessary inflammation;
  • To effectively digest the foods you eat;
  • To have your immune systems robustly defend against colds, viruses, pathogens, and practically anything else you can think of;
  • To get quality, restorative sleep;

… and more.

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