Pre covid, our lives where more hectic and fast-paced than ever before! From balancing our careers, taking care of our households, making time for our partner, while looking after our children, caring for our dog(s) and still trying to socialize and find time for ourselves!
Covid has aloud the world to finally slow down. Hopefully many of us have had time to reflect on our lives and put more importance and energy into our health!
If you miss a few days at the gym it isn’t a huge deal. If you do a 2 day fast and remove food from the diet you will survive, but think about not sleeping for 2 whole days?
You would go MAD! You would feel delirious, with a scattered brain and your hormones would be completely out of wak! Yet, many people don’t value the quality of their sleep as much as their exercise routine or nutrition.
Our sleep is precious time that allows our bodies to heal and rejuvenate. This allows our bodies to shut down and rebuild on a nightly basis. Proper sleep allows us to begin each day with vitality, energy and excitement! Making an effort to improve your sleep habits can enhance your quality of life and facilitate positive motivation to CRUSH YOUR GOALS!
Cortisol and Weight Gain:
When we are sleep deprived, our stress hormone cortisol becomes elevated. When this occurs our appetite can increase. This can make you feel hungry even when you have eaten enough. If more cortisol is secreted for an extended period of time, the body can store more fat around the midsection, as it’s goal is to protect your vital organs!
With raised blood sugar and insulin levels, unnecessary craving for carbohydrates such as chips, cookies, candy, baking, pastas and pizza can take over your thoughts! I know if I am lacking sleep I don’t want a steak and asparagus I want carbs, carbs and more carbs!
Leptin and Weight Gain:
Sleep affects your hormonal balance, which is necessary for effective weight loss. This is particularly true of the hormone leptin which plays an important role in your hunger levels.
What is Leptin?
Leptin is a hormone released from fat tissue that plays a key role in:
- Regulating hunger
- Feeling satiated (full)
- Indirectly controls the rate of fat loss!
When you eat, leptin is secreted and signals the hypothalamus (part of the brain that regulates hunger) that there is enough stored energy as fat so you can stop eating!
As leptin levels RISE your appetite DIMINISHES
As leptin levels FALL, your appetite INCREASES.
Leptin levels naturally increase (good thing) when we are sleeping, and drop off when we are sleep deprived (not so good).
When leptin levels decrease, we may feel excessively hungry and the chances of overeating are increased. So with higher cortisol you will crave those sugary foods and with lower leptin your hunger will be increased! This is why your sleep habits should be just as much of a priority as your nutrition!
Lifestyle habits below to improve sleep:
1. Try to sleep a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 9 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is different, and while one person may feel amazing on 6 hours of sleep another individual may feel their best with 8 hours.
2. Establish regular sleep hours. Try to go to bed and wake up in the morning around the same time every day (even on the weekends) so your body gets in into the same routine.
3. Sleep in complete darkness. Your room should be as dark as possible to maintain melatonin balance. I personally have black out blinds. If you don’t have blinds you can use a black out eye mask. Do not turn on the light if you go to the bathroom at night. Turning on the light, even for just a few seconds shuts down melatonin production and can contribute to poor sleep.
4. At night, disconnect from phone, tv, internet 1-2 hours before bed. Try your hardest to disconnect from social media and the internet before bed. This can heighten the brain and not allow it to relax. If you have a difficult time falling asleep choose a book over tv.
5. Avoid using a loud alarm clock. Waking up suddenly can be a shock to your body. If you require an alarm clock wake up to a calming sound compared to a loud beeping noise. Sleeping through an alarm or requiring an alarm daily indicates you may be sleep deprived. If you do use an alarm, you should awake just before it goes off.
6. Try not to eat at the minimum 2-3 hours before going to bed. If you eat close to bedtime, your body will focus on digesting food not restoring it! If you’re feeling hungry, choose a snack that contains protein because it is a source of the amino acid, tryptophan. We convert tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin, which are the hormones important for sleep.
7. Do not drink fluids two hours before going to bed. This will reduce the likelihood of needing to urinate during the night.
8. Do 10 minutes of meditation or deep breathing before bed.
The app I am currently using is called CALM you can check it out here: https://www.calm.com/ 💚 This is game changer for me and truly helps me quiet my mind and focus on chilling the F out!
9. Turn on the lights or open the blinds as soon as you wake. Allow the daylight and the sounds of the morning to stimulate and wake the brain and get you going in the am!
10. Learn what your sleep Chronotype is. You Chronostype is a pre determined genetic factor which is indicative to your sleep cycle and behaviour.
You are either A Lion, Wolf, Bear or Dolphin. I personally am a Bear and it made a lot sense when I did the quiz since it aligned with when I am most productive and how my sleep cycle is.
If you want to learn more about your sleep Chronotype
You can take the test here: https://thepowerofwhenquiz.com/ ❤️
Supplements to help support Sleep!
1. Calcium/Magnesium Supplement: Helps bring the body into more relaxed deeper sleep
2. Foods with High Tryptophan: Tryptophan is the precursor for serotonin & melatonin. Wild Salmon, eggs, turkey, chicken, beef, spirulina, sesame seeds, cashews
3. Essential Oil Diffuse: Use bergamot, or frankincense.
4. Valerian Root: Helps increase GABA which has calming effect on brain
5. Passion Flower: Provides Calming effect