When was the last time you slept through the night?
Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
I put together some tips that may help you, along with a great yummy recipe!
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.
Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet science is just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.
Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.
When I don't get enough sleep, you really don't want to be around me. I am in a daze all day long and I just can't mentally function. Plus, I can't remember anything!
Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? Right? You are probably thinking, damn whats the point of exercising if I didn't have a good nights sleep!
There are three main purposes of sleep:
● To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
● To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
● To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.
Do you know how much sleep adults need? It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 - 9 hours a night. For real!
Try not to skimp!
I put together several tips that you may want to implement to help you get better zzzz's.
Tips for better sleep
● Try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven. Days. A. Week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.
● Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. I preach this on a daily basis, but truly if you eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber), it will help you snooze. Make sure you're getting some protein every time you eat.
● During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.
● Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
● Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, nixing screen time and perhaps reading an actual, not “e”, book or having a bath. Set your room temp to 65-72 and if you are sensitive to noise waking you up, try ear plugs or a sound machine.
Sleep is so very important, try to implement these tips. Oh and don't forget, sometimes it's just buying a new mattress and pillows! When was the last time you bought a new mattress??
A side note here-I offer both health and fitness coaching. Interested in personal training? I come to you! Or we can do Skype if that's more convenient. Interested? e-mail me and lets talk! :)
Here's a recipe you may enjoy:
Caffeine-Free Chai Latte
1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)
2 cups of boiling water
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
2 dates (optional)
Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.
Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.
Blend until creamy.
Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?