Oh, that elusive sleep. That time to relax and regenerate. To heal and repair.
Sleep isn’t just important for your mind and body to have energy and be alert. Lack of sleep can contribute to serious health issues which you don’t want.
So let me have your attention for this “tip-filled” post on the importance of sleep and how you can get your fair share. I’ll even throw in an amazing caffeine-free latte recipe for your afternoon “pick me up”.
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing
Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we’re 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.
Recent studies have provided evidence that there is a direct relationship between inadequate sleep of less than 6 hours per day and increased body mass index in both adults and children.¹
The risk of being overweight or obese is greatly increased in short sleepers – by 50% in the case of men and 34% in the case of women.¹
So, it’s important to be reminded that there is a reciprocal relationship between sleep and nutrition: the better your diet, the better you sleep. And the better you sleep, the less likely you are to consume foodstuffs that might result in increased weight.¹
This is why the Metabolic Balance® plan develops personalized dietary plans to match the metabolic requirements profile of each individual client. You can learn more by viewing this brief introductory video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p1H7LUmulJM or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.
In addition, lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)
OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???
Knowing this it’s easy to see the 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!
(Don’t worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)
Tips for better 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. 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. You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack). Make sure you’re getting some protein every time you eat. If you want to know which foods are right for you check out the Metabolic Balance® program right here or contact me at email@example.com
- 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. If you want to know why read my post about the effects of caffeine. 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 right into the evening hours. (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.
So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?
And for the recipe:
Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): 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, pitted (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?
Allergy alert: Please do not consume if you have an allergy or sensitivity to any of the ingredients listed.
¹ Metabolic Balance® interesting facts about medicine and nutrition. Obesity and sleep – how are they related?