Never Underestimate the Importance of Sleep!
The first thing I ask my friends, family and clients is, “how many hours of sleep do you get at night?”
If you know me, you will know I have a non-negotiable commitment to an 8-hour sleep every night. I owe my health, energy, weight and motivation to my dedication to a good night’s sleep.
While it may be obvious that sleep is important, people don't realize just how important. The benefits of sleep will enhance your health significantly! We need to take it more seriously.
Here are the benefits…
Repairs - Your body produces extra protein molecules while you're sleeping. These molecules build new cells and repair the damaged ones, in turn strengthening your body’s ability to fight infection.
Reduces stress - A good night's sleep will lower your blood pressure and elevate levels of the stress hormone (cortisol) in your body. High levels of cortisol and blood pressure can lead to serious complications in our bodies. We won't even go there now...!
Help you control your weight - Ever noticed that you’re so much hungrier during jetlag or after a night out?
Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. When we don't get enough sleep, normal hormone balances are interrupted. Our bodies release the nasty hormone 'Ghrelin' that stimulates hunger quite significantly. According to The Sleep Diet by Pan Macmillan, "chronic lack of sleep can also slow down the metabolism..."
Mood enhancer - We all know how true this one is! Lack of sleep leaves us feeling irritable, moody and angry! Be careful, because when limited, sleep becomes a long-term situation. Studies have shown it can lead to long-term mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Beauty benefits - There is nothing worse than someone telling you that you look tired. Not to mention that it’s so rude! Never understood that one.
Well, your 8-hour sleep will most definitely keep you radiating beauty and will diminish those puffy eyes and dark circles. It will also keep your skin flawless and glowing as your skin cells have had the time to repair over night, and your hormones have had a chance to rebalance.
If you are finding it difficult to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, here are some tips:
Here are my 10 sleep commandments:
1. Drink a cup of chamomile tea/chai tea with warm milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
2. Take a long, hot bath. I usually add a few drops of lavender oil or Epsom salts (relaxer and detoxifier).
3. Set the mood: make sure your room is dark and clutter fee and at a good temperature (Ideal sleep temp is 18 degrees).
4. Electricity can suppress melatonin production (sleep hormone). Switch all electronic devices off at least one hour before bedtime. This is a must.
5. Listen to some relaxation music/classical music.
6. Meditation practice.
7. Eat dinner at least two hours before intended bedtime. Digestion slows down at night, and the discomfort of a meal trying to digest can disrupt sleep.
8. NO SUGAR BEFORE BED: this will cause hypoglycemia and wake you up at 4 am.
9. You have heard it before, and you will hear it again: AVOID caffeine close to bedtime. It takes up to five hours for the caffeine in your blood to reside.
10. Don’t exercise too close to bedtime. Leave a three-hour gap between your workout and lights out. Exercise releases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that will keep you too alert for rest!
Remember: The best time to be asleep is between 11 pm and 4 am. This is when the magic of repairing takes place.
Now, my friends, please have your 8-hour beauty sleep tonight! I promise it will be worth it.
Affirmation of the week: My body is important to me, and I am committed to taking care of it.
Also, establishing a regular meditation practice can drastically improve your health, and so can choosing the right foods. Ready to learn more about the power of food? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.