As promised last month …
Round 2 on “How To Shift Weight Without Getting Out Of Bed”.
Now, if you missed part 1 on why sleep is so integral to our health, no sweat, click here to read.
Today, in part 2, I’m going to share 14 ways how you can improve your sleep and so prime your body for shifting unwanted fat and weight.
Some are pretty obvious, but I always feel it’s important to remind ourselves on core principals. I think all of us are guilty, myself included, of knowing something but not actually applying it.
Let’s get started.
Computers, TV, mobiles, iPads, games and any wireless devices( including ALEXA, especially if she’s in the bedroom – she needs to go! ) – turn them all off at least an hour before you hit the sack.
Try and do something that unwinds and relaxes you such as read a book( but not on a screen ). You want to get yourself into that sleepy mode where you produce the bedtime hormone melatonin which induces and regulates sleep and wake cycles.
Try having tryptophan rich foods before bedtime. This will encourage your body to convert the amino acid tryptophan to serotonin and then ultimately to melatonin.
Foods rich in tryptophan include seeds & nuts, eggs, and lean proteins such as chicken and turkey.
Cherries apparently contain natural melatonin so you could give that a try too.
If you struggle with sleep, you may want to consider a good quality supplement.
One of my favourites is Nutricalm. It contains vitamin B complex and vitamin C. Both these nutrients can become very depleted when the body is under stress and there’s a lack of sleep. Nutricalm also contains chamomile which is known for it’s soothing and calm properties.
Try and keep your bedroom as dark as possible. If this is difficult, try a silk eye mask. Darkness also helps the production of melatonin. An hour before you get into bed have all the house lights dimmed.
I’m also a candle fanatic(natural beeswax aromatherapy) so I highly recommend them to create that zen like ambience.
I’m so guilty of not doing this!
Sleep has a direct correlation on your metabolism and, therefore, your ability to lose and keep off the pounds. Let me explain why this is …
If you get to bed earlier, you will have more rapid eye movement (REM). Without going into mega detail, REM is a stage of the sleep cycle where your brain is highly active and so burns more calories. The more REM you have, the more calories you burn and the more alive/energised you will feel the next day.
Also, sleep deprivation wreaks havoc with your hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin and guess what? You’re more likely to over eat and get cravings .Cortisol levels also increase, which means increased stress and possible extra fat storage, especially around your tummy.
So I’m going to re-repeat do NOT overlook the importance of sleep not just for shifting fat or weight but for your general health too. I’m not saying to go to bed hours earlier. That’s not practical, but even 30 mins earlier each day will help. It all adds up.
Meditation is well proven to help calm the mind, and it also helps the production of melatonin. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to do 30 mins or an hour a day. 10 mins of solid meditation will work wonders. Remember, it’s about progression not perfection.
I think all of us know we should limit caffeine especially after 2pm and pre-bedtime. The stimulant effect of caffeine makes it hard to fall asleep and so limits the amount of restful sleep you have. If you need a warm drink don’t forget chamomile tea is very calming.
Like caffeine, all of us know deep down this isn’t good before bed. One of the things that’s confusing about booze is it’s very relaxing at the time, but here’s the clincher … when alcohol is broken down, acetaldehyde is produced. It acts as a stimulant and wakes us up often in the middle of the night. So I’m afraid it’s a no no.
Nicotine and vaping
Now because I love and care about you peeps, you are not going to hear me utter the words reduce or limit because I really want you to cut this out completely. Both cigarettes and vapes contain a cocktail of chemicals. Also, nicotine is similar to alcohol/caffeine in that it’s a stimulant and not good for our sleep. It also decreases our slow wave sleep, which means less restorative sleep. The concoction of chemicals in vapes can be very damaging to the body when ‘vaporised’ ( but we will have to go into this another time). Just trust me on this vapes are bad for your health !
Invest in a good quality mattress. Believe me, it’s worth the spend and your back and sleep will thank you for it. I also like extra soft Egyptian cotton sheets from John Lewis.
The general guideline is not too hot or too cold.
I love my pre-bedtime baths. Complete bliss. Run yourself a nice warm tub with some of your favourite essential oils and a few mugs of Magnesium or Epsom salts 20 mins before bed.
The most well known relaxing aromatherapy oil is lavender but don’t forget to try Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Marjoram and Cedarwood. See what resonates for you the most.
You can pour a few drops in your bath, spray a little on your pillow, add a few drops to a tissue and hold close, or apply a natural scented lotion.
I’ve used these techniques many a time when feeling a little stressed and agitated and I’ve helped lots of women improve their sleep over the years using these techniques. Trust me, it works.
You know I’m a huge advocator of exercise but not right before bedtime especially if it’s an intense session. The sort of exercise that’s ok late on is restorative yoga but that’s about it.
Now I’d like to hear from you.
Which one of these sleep hygiene strategies are you going to give a go? Have you any tips for improving sleep you’d like to share? How do you prompt your body to know it’s time to wind down?
Please do let me know. I would love to hear from you
Love Gaynor x
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