How do you sleep?
Are you absolutely exhausted? Do you feel like you’re running on empty and relying on caffeine and sugar to get you through your day?
The science of sleep is a complicated thing and we are beginning to find out more about it as time progresses…I find it fascinating!
Sleep is the daily thing that we all do and yet we’re only 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 our 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. Ooh, and of course, don’t forget the impact that lack of sleep can have on our moods, memory and decision-making skills!
Did you know that lack of sleep may even have a negative influence on the health benefits of your exercise program?!!
Sleep really does affect most aspects of our health.
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.
- To conserve some energy so we’re not just full on active 24 hours a day!
It’s recommended that as an adult we need 7-9 hours sleep every night.
Here’s some tips for a better nights sleep:
- The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you’re more likely to achieve it. So…make sure you turn your lights off 8 hours before your alarm goes off. 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. Eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods. Choose the whole orange instead of the juice. Up your veggies and make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat.
- During the day get some sunshine and get busy. Open the windows and let the daylight flood in! 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 dare I say it ) added sugar intake after 12pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimising and this includes your beloved latte. Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be during the evening.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time.. This could include dimming the lights, lighting some candles, putting a curfew on screen time, and maybe even having a bath and reading an actual book (not e-book).
So with the clocks jumping forward this weekend, why not give yourself the treat of an early night this Saturday and celebrate British Summertime by getting an extra bit of shut eye!