Ahoy there Fika fam, how are we?
Did you know, everything from mental clarity, to good decision making, to digestion, to high performance and recovery, is / are all heavily dependent on getting good quality sleep.
Are you struggling with your weight? Constantly feeling sluggish during workouts? Or just sluggish in general? Are you hitting a wall mid afternoon every day? Having brain fog too often for your liking?
These are common complaints from clients, and poor diet / nutrition choices sometimes aren’t the only thing to blame!
Most people are well aware they need more sleep, and sure, we have marketing left right and centre for supplements, sleep teas etc (#lol) but sleep can often be solved and improved more effectively through smart lifestyle habits and tweaks, that will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and wake feeling rested.
Perhaps you’re a personal trainer who sees clients at the crack of dawn, and late at night.
Perhaps you are an office worker from 9-5pm.
Perhaps you work shift work, nights on, nights off.
Perhaps, you are a parent with young children who wake during the night.
Your work schedule may make it difficult for you to fully recharge overnight, and that’s okay, lets not worry about the hour # at the moment, but instead, dial into our routine pre bed / sleep / nap – so when we do get some zzzzzzz, we make sure they are quality and unbroken.
Where do I start I hear you ask?
Lets get into it.
Here are 5 signs (as per precision nutrition) that perhaps your sleep needs a little extra attention!
1. YOUR MIND IS FOGGY
What we experience and learn gets cemented to memory while we sleep.
Interference with this process causes:
• Reduced alertness and concentration
• Impaired judgement
While we sleep, we produce fresh neurotransmitters and regulate hormone production.
Interference here causes:
• Impaired regulation of emotions
• Heightened stress
• Low mood
• Possible increase in risk of depression
3.YOU’RE GETTING SICK A LOT
When we don’t sleep enough, T-cells go down and inflammation goes up, resulting in:
• Increased vulnerability to viruses and bacteria
• Acute increase in risk of getting sick
• Increased risk of heart disease and other inflammation-related illnesses
4. YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH YOUR WEIGHT
Poor sleep is linked to excess body fat, as it can:
• Disrupt appetite regulation
• Cause you to feel hungrier
• Lead to increased calorie intake
5. YOUR WORKOUTS FEEL TOO HARD
Our body uses sleep as an opportunity to refresh neurotransmitter levels and remove energy-draining metabolites.
Otherwise, we experience:
• Decreased central nervous system activity
• Slower reaction time
• Low energy and endurance capacity
• Reduced desire to exercise
So.. you tick one of these boxes?
Here’s a place to start.. pick one, any one, implement until its second nature, and then add another.
One.. step.. at.. a.. time!
1. Keep a regular schedule.
Our bodies like regularity.
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time.
With a regular schedule, your body will know when to release calming hormones before bed, and stimulating hormones to wake up.
2. Keep alcohol and caffeine moderate.
Both will interfere with sleep.
Try to avoid caffeine within 6-7 hours of your bedtime.
3 .Eat and drink appropriately.
Dinner / your last meal about 2-3 hours before bed, one that is balanced in nutrients, can help facilitate sleep.
4.Try not to drink too much liquid in the hours before bed, which will help you avoid waking up for bathroom breaks.
5. Do a brain dump.
Take a few minutes to write out a list of whatever is bugging you.
Whatever is in your brain, get it out and on to paper.
6.Turn off electronics.
Digital devices stimulate our brain.
Unplug from all screens at least 30 minutes before bed.
This includes television, computers, and smartphones.
The screens release a blue light that prevents our brain from preparing for sleep.
7. Stretch / read / de-stress before bed.
Consider trying some yoga poses, reading, or meditation.
8. Set an alarm to go to bed.
Work backwards and add buffer time.
9. Take a bath or shower.
A warm bath with epsom salts or even a cool shower (depending on personal preference) can promote restful sleep.
10. Keep the room dark.
This means curtains, shades, and / or a sleep mask.
11. Have a stress-free / clutter-free bedroom.
Get rid of stacks of mail, boxes, clothes strewn about, etc.
12. Keep it cool.
Anywhere from 15-20 C appears to work best at night.