Have you kissed goodbye to sleeping through the night?
Do you feel lethargic and like you are just running on stress all day?
Well, worry no more, I have some great tips (and another awesome recipe) for you!
The science of sleep is interesting, complicated and forever growing
Sleeping is the one thing that we all do on a daily basis and yet we are only just starting to really understand all the ways in which it helps us and the multitude of factors that can have an effect on it.
Believe it or not a lack of sleep affects just about everything in your mind and body. People who get less than what is needed actually tend to be a higher risk of a lot health issues like heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. Not only these but they can slow down your metabolism, cause weight gain, create a hormone imbalance and inflammation.
As if that wasn’t enough don’t forget about the impact lack of sleep can have on memory, decision making and moods!
Lack of sleep may even cancel out all the health benefits of your hard work with your exercise program!!
It seems like there really aren’t any aspects of your health that sleep doesn’t affect!!
Knowing all of the above it’s easy to see why the following are the 3 main purposes of sleep:
- To restore our mind and body. While we sleep our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains.
- To improve ‘synaptic plasticity’. This is our brain’s ability to learn and actually remember things.
- To conserve and restore energy so we’re not just “go, go, go” 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Do you know how much sleep the average adult actually requires?
It’s not quite as much as growing children but you might be surprised that it is still 7-9 hours a night No joke!
Try not to cut corners, there is no substitute for a good sleep!
(Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you to figure it all out for yourself. I’ve got you covered with a bunch of tips below that you can start actioning today!)
Tips for better sleep
The biggest tip is to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. If you make it your number one priority you are far more likely to achieve it than if it just something you ‘aim for’. This means you turn your lights off 8 hours before you have your alarm set to go off. Every. Single. Day. Seven. Days. Yes weekends can be harder and can throw you off but I can promise you if you make it a priority and stick to it for a few weeks your body and mind will be so thankful for it.
Keeping your blood sugar balanced throughout the day. This means eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber). For example instead of a glass of orange juice, eat the whole orange. Also make sure every time you eat you’re getting some protein.
Get some sunshine and exercise every day. By doing this your body recognises that it is daytime; time for getting things done and staying alert and active. Doing this during the day makes it easier for you to wind down in the evening.
After 12pm cut out caffeine and added sugar. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are perfectly fine, it’s the “added” sugar we’re minimizing. Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte. Caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a tad more active than you want it to be by the time the evening comes around (BONUS: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).
Create a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (8-10 hours before your alarm is set to go off as mentioned above). This includes dimming artificial lights, turning off all screens (television, phone & tablets and reading a book (an actual book, not an eBook) or having a relaxing bath.
So, how many of these super easy tips can you start putting into action from right now?
Recipe: 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 (eg. cashew butter) to see which flavour combination you like the best.