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Improve your health and lose weight with these top tips for better sleep

The #1 way to improve your health and your waistline

By Darcy Proctor

Feb 08

It’s 3pm, and you’re starting to lose steam, as well as your focus and motivation.  Hum…vending machine or salad bar?  Drive through or apple?  Sound familiar?  Which would you choose in this situation?  When we are tired and our blood sugar is starting to crash after that high carb lunch, I can pretty much guarantee which answer your brain is screaming to you.

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We’re faced with choices all day long and when we’re trying to adopt a new healthy lifestyle, these choices can be very stressful and really mess with our head.  You might start out great in the morning, but then the afternoon hits and your willpower is starting to fade.  So instead of the salad, you reach for a donut for a little sugar boost.  Now how do you feel about yourself?  Are you starting to beat yourself up for that one choice, be in a negative mood, and continue to make bad choices the rest of the day or even self-sabotage?  Now think back on that day filled with poor choices and negative thinking.  How much sleep did you get the night before?

One simple thing you can do TODAY to help ensure you make the best possible decisions for your mind and body, is to get a good night sleep!   In fact it is the #1 step in my free guide "10 Simple Steps to a Leaner, Healthier You".

I bet you have no idea all the amazing things your body does while you are snoozing away!  You organs are actually very busy recovering from the day.  Tissues and muscles are repairing themselves and growing stronger.  Hormones are also released which help regulate appetite, metabolism, and stress to name a few.  Cortisol has its own circadian rhythm and your blood sugar is closely tied to it.  If you find yourself waking up at night, watch your stress and make sure your blood sugars are being stabilized ALL day.  Memory consolidation also occurs at night, allowing for the formation and storage of new memories, which is essential for learning new information.  This is why you can be so alert and focused the day after a good night sleep.

To ensure your body can work its magic however, you must get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep every night…including weekends!  The more consistent you are in your schedule all 7 days of the week, the better your quality of sleep will be, as well as your alertness during the day.  If you aren’t even close to these 8 hours, start slowly by heading to bed 15 minutes earlier this week.  Continue to build on that each week until you’ve adjusted your day around those 8 beautiful hours.

Now just lying in bed for 8 hours isn’t going to cut it.  You want those 8 hours of sleep to be amazing, QUALITY hours.  Here are some valuable tips for proper sleep hygiene.

  • 1
    Turn off all blue light an hour before bed- no email, phone, tablet, tv.  Blue light will affect levels of melatonin, your sleep-inducing hormone.  This in turn could affect your natural circadian rhythm leading to a whole host of potential issues.
  • 2
    Lower the room temperature to around 65°.  Sleep under a light blanket with lightweight pajamas.
  • 3
    Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and peaceful.  It should only be used for sleep and sex.
  • 4
    Go to sleep at the same time each day and wake up at the same time (preferably on your own body’s schedule, not your alarm’s) all 7 days of the week
  • 5
    Avoid sugar and alcohol before bed and try to limit liquids an hour before bed so you’re not waking to use the bathroom.  Sugar and alcohol both disturb your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycles.
  • 6
    Don’t go to bed on a full or empty stomach.  Hunger pains stimulate the brain, hindering your quality of sleep.  When your belly is full, you will still have undigested food in your intestine and acid reflux can start to damage your esophagus.
  • 7
    Reduce you intake of caffeinated beverages and refrain from them after 2pm.  Each person processes caffeine differently so experiment on when you stop caffeine during the day and what your sleep quality is that night.  Some people are still affected at night by there one morning cup of joe!
  • 8
    Exercise.  Aim for 30mins a day preferably before 2pm.  Breaking up these 30mins is fine too!

Do you have a difficult time falling asleep?  Try these tips to get to bed quicker and stay asleep.

  • Read an actual book before bed to calm your mind, no bright kindles or phones
  • Journal.  My favorite is a gratitude journal or just jot down all the things running through your mind so they are out of your mind and on the paper instead.
  • Breathing exercise.  Dr. Andrew Weil has some great, easy techniques to try.
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    Warm bath.  Your body naturally cools itself before bed.  By raising your temperature in a bath, the sharper the decline will be before bed which will help you fall asleep quicker.
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    Aromatherapy.  Lavender is a great one for sleep and relaxation.
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    If after 15 mins you can’t sleep, get up and do something (relaxing of course).  The more you stay in bed stressing that you’re NOT sleeping, the longer it’s going to take to actually fall asleep.

Maybe you fall asleep just fine, but then you find yourself waking up during the night?  Next time, check to see if you’re waking up at the same time each night.  As I mentioned earlier, each one of your organs restores itself during the night.  The time you wake could indicate stress on a particular organ.  Check out the Chinese Energy Clock below to see which of your organs might need a little extra TLC.  In case you’re wondering, “Triple Warmer” is endocrine and metabolic balancing ie. your thyroid and adrenal glands.  If you would like more information about this chart, visit http://worldhealthchoice.com/chinese-clock-body-organ-not-working/

The benefits of quality sleep are outstanding and will set you up for making the BEST decisions for your health and well-being throughout the day.

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger immune system
  • Clear, focused, and creative thinking
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    Improved mood
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    Better weight management
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    Increased libido (sex drive)
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    Less pain and risk of injury
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    Better memory

There is a linear correlation between the amount of quality sleep you get and your overall health.  It is widely documented that inadequate sleep can negatively affect your health in the following ways:

  • Your weight may increase because leptin, the hormone that tells you that you are full, decreases when you haven’t had enough sleep.  This will lead to poor food choices the following day as you will be craving higher fat and caloric foods.
  • You are more likely to get sick because your immune system has not had a chance to restore and recharge.
  • Your brain does not function optimally which can lead to errors, accidents, and poor mood.
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    Your emotions, such as anxiety, anger, and sadness, may be heightened and therefore you are less able to control them.  

Sounds pretty grim right?  I know I certainly prefer a day filled with joy, focus, creativity, and boundless energy.  How about you?  I know not every day can be perfect, but we can significantly increase our chances of having the great days by making quality sleep a priority in our daily life. 

So I challenge you!  Follow the steps outlined above to ensure quality sleep.  Print the “Top Tips For an Amazing Night Sleep” and post it in a prominent spot as a reminder.  Make it a consistent practice and let me know what changes you notice in your overall health and mood.  I would love to hear how it goes so please jot a message below or let me know on my Facebook page.

Sweet dreams!