Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
Do not fear, I have some great tips (and a yummy recipe) for you!
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing.
I’ve been speaking to more and more of my clients these days about sleep. For many of them it’s the factor the makes the biggest difference in their overall health and well being. Even more impactful than food!
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. And don’t forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making.
Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)
OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect???
Sleep has three main purposes:
- To restore your body and mind. Your body repairs, grows and even “detoxifies” your brain while you sleep.
- To improve your brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
- To conserve some energy so you’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 the recommendation is for all adults to get 7 – 9 hours a night. For real!
And for those of you who think you can get a couple hours each night during the week and make up for it over the weekend – think again! Once you get yourself into a deficit you can’t make it up later. The damage is already done. You need to get this amount of sleep everyday.
Please if you skimp on anything – don’t make it your sleep!
(Don’t worry, I have you covered with some actionable tips below.)
5 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 eight 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. Eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fibre). Choose the whole fruit instead of the juice. Make sure you’re getting some protein and healthy fat every time you eat.
- During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These activities 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 12 pm. 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 come evening. (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.
What’s your sleep situation like? How many of these tips can you start implementing today? Tell me in the comments.
Recipe Caffeine-Free Chai Latte
- 1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free) or other decaf chai tea bag
- 1.5 cups of boiling water
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)
- 1 tsp Xylitol (optional)
Cover the teabag with 1/2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes. Discard the tea bag and place tea, dairy-free milk, xylitol & 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 one you like the best. Cashew butter anyone?