Has it ever happened to you to eat right, exercise well and yet not see any results? Have you ever linked this to sleep deprivation? Sleeping can actually be your best weapon when it comes to health and weight management, Here is why…
Sleep and Human Growth Hormone
Sleep is crucial for health and for weight management.
During sleep, the tissues in your body get repaired. You also produce Human Growth Hormone which helps to keep lower levels of body fat, repairs your body and increases longevity.
Both sleep and exercise induce the release of human growth hormone. Experts estimate that as much as 75 percent of human growth hormone is released during sleep.
In normally healthy people, the major period of HGH release occurs during the first period of Stage 3 sleep stage during the night, about an hour after you first fall asleep. Stage 3, also known as deep sleep or slow wave sleep, accounts for about one-quarter of your sleep each night. Deep sleep is the most restorative all stages of sleep. During this stage of sleep, HGH is released and works to restore and rebuild your body and muscles from the stresses of the day.
I believe you should aim for going to bed between 10 and 11 pm and depending on your personal needs, try to sleep between 7 and 8 hours minimum.
The production of HGH levels peaks at your youth, and steadily declines with age. Seniors, in particular, spend less time in deep sleep, which explains the link between lack of HGH and other disorders associated with aging. For example, lower HGH levels correspond with a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
How to improve your sleep?
As we get older, our sleep quality decreases. I try to cut all caffeine products from noon. Even decaffeinated products contain low levels of caffeine so I would suggest sticking to herbal teas. Remember that dark chocolate has quite a bit of caffeine too.
Another culprit for our bad sleep patterns is alcohol. Studies have shown that drinking wine or alcohol makes you fall asleep faster but the sleep cycles are disturbed. The likelihood of waking up in the middle of the night after drinking is high. The deep sleep cycle is reduced and the overall quality of sleep is impaired.
Finally, as many of you know, it is better to avoid screens about 2 hours before getting to bed. Phones, laptops, TVs produce a blue light similar to the sun rays. These send a message to the brain saying that it is day time. It is harder for the brain to release the sleep hormone serotonin when we are exposed to blue lights.
I have listed above what NOT to do before bed. Below is what I would recommend doing for a good night of sleep.
1- ENJOY your sleep routine. Taking your make up off, applying your night cream, having a bath etc. Make it sweet, lovely and take your time, do not rush it.
2- PRAY or MEDITATE, thanking God/Nature/the Universe for your blessings and put your wishes out there, asking for them to be granted if they are indeed right for you.
3- READ a book. Reading takes the mind off things and is such a good natural sleeping aid. I have found myself many times almost falling asleep myself when reading my children stories after a long day.
Supplements can also help
If the above doesn’t work, I do like natural supplements like valerian. Boots sell a natural anti-anxiety/sleep aid called Kalms. I do sometimes take 3 tablets before going to bed and I find it helpful.
Natural melatonin is also good, especially when traveling to beat jet lag. I take it at home if I struggle to sleep. You can find it online easily, it is an over the counter natural supplement.
My favorite supplement is an amino-acid called L-Tryptophan. It naturally occurs in foods like turkey and helps regulate the nervous system.
Finally, sleep is essential for brain function and performance. This means the quality of your sleep impacts your work and your mood. The worse form of torture is sleep deprivation – ask new mums about that!
After a good night of sleep, I see “La vie en rose”, life in pink, and I find myself being a better mother, a better friend, a better partner in life and in business.
To summarize the above, no matter how well you eat and exercise, if you do not get proper sleep, all your efforts will be in vain. Sleep is definitely the most important component of Eat Burn Sleep, for health, weight management, muscle repair, skin health, and aging.
Make sleep a priority and your performance at work will also be positively impacted. Your mood will be enhanced, you will lose weight and enjoy life more all around.