Well I am super inspired and raring to go for a new week
I absolutely love going away on health and fitness events and learning from the best, to pass that knowledge onto you guys
One massive topic this weekend was the importance of sleep
And how this is just as important as exercise and good nutrition
And even though I have mentioned this to you guys before, I really wanted to focus on it today
During sleep is where our bodies really recover, repair and reset
Sleep effects how we look, feel and perform
having a huge impact on our mental, emotional and physical well being
And this takes time, ideally 7 hours minimum for all of these processes to occur properly
This is also where our hormones reset, and so vitally important for a fully functioning body the following day
And yet so many people struggle with poor sleep these days
What with the distraction of tv, phones and video games
people are staying up later and later, with their brain still fired and wired, and then it is really hard for us to switch off and go to sleep
even something as small as an LED can still trigger the brain
Our bodies are programmed to ideally sleep when sun goes down and wake when sun rises
And this is exactly what happened for years, before the age of technology and late night pubs and clubs
So when I say 7 hours sleep minimum, realistically that needs to be asleep early and wake early
You will not get the same recovery effect by going to sleep at 12 and waking at 7
As our brains start waking and the hormonal reset and body recovery stops when light comes up
So going to bed at a reasonable time, 10pm is good, then getting up bright and breezy, early for a refreshed, great start to the day is important
Poor sleep can usually be linked to stress
Things going on in your life, that you can’t switch off from
Drinking alcohol or caffeine type drinks in the afternoon or evening, exercising close to bedtime, having an irregular daily schedule, and working or doing other mentally intense activities right before bed,or even in bed can disrupt sleep.
Different working shift patters, travelling and anything else that causes your natural sleep patter to be knocked out of sync also cause problems, and can be difficult to recover from
Environmental factors such as a room that’s too hot or too cold, too noisy or too bright, interruptions from children,comfort and size of your bed and the habits of your sleep partner can prevent good sleep.
If you sleep next to someone who snores, can’t fall or stay asleep, or has other sleep difficulties, then this will also effect your sleep
While we are awake, the body burns oxygen and food to provide energy.
This catabolic state means that more energy is spent than saved
On the other hand, when we sleep we move into an anabolic state, where energy is conserved, and repair and growth take over.
This is when the body starts to produce human growth hormone (HGH).
HGH promotes the growth, maintenance and repair of muscles and bones.
Every tissue in the body is renewed faster during sleep than at any time when awake.
Melatonin is another hormone produced to help us sleep. Secreted by the pineal gland deep in the brain, it helps control body rhythms and sleep-wake cycles.
Levels of melatonin rise as the body temperature falls, to encourage feelings of sleepiness. With the opposite occuring when we wake up.
So as you can see sleep is now starting to seem even more important as I go on
I’m sure you’ve all noticed, that when we are ill, all we want to do is sleep
Research has proven that sleeping more when fighting illness, helps your recovery. Helping resist infection
So if you are someone who struggles to sleep, what can you do?
Having a long, hot soak in a bath, with epsom salts, will help relax your muscles, making you feel more relaxed and sleepy and help you fall asleep better
Breathing techniques and meditation, again calm the body and quieten the brain to stop the mind wandering anxiously, again helping with sleep
Also checking your food, and time of last meal is important
Many people avoid carbs with their evening meal, especially if they are watching their weight
However, this can be detrimental to sleep
as we know, carb-heavy meals can make you drowsy, so are ideal for helping you fall asleep
Yet, poor sleep will leave you moody, miserable, hungry, low on energy, and craving sugary, fatty, salty foods the following day
Do NOT give into this, always try and make the better choices, but eating protein and vegetables, to balance your blood sugar and prevent you storing fat from the wrong food choices
So all in all guys, sleep, both quality and quantity are vital for optimum health
If you’d like to find out more then check out my social media pages and join my FREE online group, providing lots of tips and advice to lead a fitter, happier, healthier lifestyle