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The Most Important Health Ratio We Need To Know

by Mark Cammack    June 13, 2018

The Most Important Ratio: The Parasympathetic to Sympathetic Nervous System ratio

The PNS to SNS Ratio: Our entire long-term health and functioning depends upon the Parasympathetic to Sympathetic Nervous System ratio. When the PNS is dominant, we are far more likely to be healthier and happier. Many people in modern society are SNS dominant and showing signs of stress and unwellness.

There are many important ratios at work in us. Balances of substances such as DHEA and melatonin help regulate when we are awake and asleep. The body is constantly maintaining proper amounts of oxygen, carbon dioxide, salts, and the building up or breaking down of cells. Life is continually pursuing ratios to sustain itself.

What is the process that may be considered a keystone for all the others? Part of our nervous system has a tendency to run automatically in response to internal and external environmental demands. This is the autonomic nervous system. It in turn is divided into three avenues of response. We may think of two of these as routes we are traveling by. We have the stressful high-risk road of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the normal to relaxing route of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).* If you stay on the SNS Highway too long a breakdown or accident is sure to happen. By contrast, we may enjoy an extended scenic trip on Route PNS.

Many of our health concerns relate to artificially created SNS overload. Imagine a typical day. A person is often jolted out of sleep by an alarm clock. They eat a brief breakfast that can have moderate to high amounts of sugar. Frequently a caffeine containing drink such as coffee is used in an effort to wake up. Hopefully there are no cigarettes. There is a rush to get to work and the day is just beginning.

The work environment is only optimized for health and performance at rare companies. Most have mixed results. We need to look how healthy the total surroundings are. This includes social interactions, breathing dust or chemicals, noise, efficiency of persons, how intelligently decisions are made, and unpredictable demands to name a few.

All experiences beginning in the morning can affect the SNS and send it zooming to higher levels. The day is not over. The cumulative effects of food and drink choices at meal times, the positivity or negativity of friends and associates, and the general amount, quality, and type of information the brain has to process contributes to an outcome.

Why is it so important that we hold the PNS:SNS ratio in high regard? Our lives may depend on it. If the SNS is consistently dominant, the body cannot heal or recover properly. Fatigue frequently occurs and health issues may ensue. Even the person who believes they are doing things right by eating properly and exercising sensibly can be undone by SNS overactivity. They may notice increased injuries, aches, sleeplessness, or a high heart rate. Often an honest look at the total environment provides the answers. Usually there is not a single factor driving people beyond the tipping point of SNS stress, but many. What can occur is that they simply are not in balance and need the PNS to be dominant in their lives. We must create environments that are healthy to allow the brain and body to freely function as they should.

If we desire to have a greater sense of well-being, there are things to be aware of and do. This consists of replacing negative environmental affectors with positive ones. We may promote health and renew PNS control in many ways. We can:

Awaken to a clock that presents a gradually increasing pleasant sound.
Lower or eliminate the intake of caffeine containing drinks.
Curtail sugar consumption.
Reduce noise, dust, allergens, and chemical exposure levels in workplaces.
Support companies that create healthy and positive environments.
Reduce toxins such as heavy metals and pesticides that can affect our nervous systems.
Meditate for at least a few minutes daily.
Promote adequate sleep with a comfortable temperature, regular bedtime, and dark quiet bedroom.
Learn to relax.

Always remember that the parasympathetic is the healer. It is what restores us. By allowing it to work properly, we may enhance our well-being, happiness, and abilities.

* There are two abbreviations used historically for the Parasympathetic Nervous System, PSNS and PNS. We are using the simpler PNS.


The PNS to SNS Ratio image is © Copyright 2018-2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.

© Copyright 2018-2019 Mark Cammack. All rights reserved.