Posted on 1st March 2018 by Fiona
This month reminds us of how important a good nights’ sleep really is and how it benefits our health, as it’s National Bed Month!
So what’s so important about sleep?!
Sleep and the Brain
- Sleep enhances your learning and problem-solving skills and helps you pay attention, make decisions and be creative.
- Sleep deficiency can make it difficult to control your emotions and behaviour or cope with change. It has also been linked to depression and risk-taking behaviour.
- Sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Without it, there is an increased risk of heart/kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
- Deep sleep triggers the release of hormones that promote healthy growth and development. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells.
Sleep and Athletic Performance
- Sleep deprivation negatively effects athletic performance, especially in submaximal, prolonged exercise.
- Compromised sleep can influence learning, memory, cognition, pain perception, immunity and inflammation.
- Changes in glucose metabolism and neuroendocrine function as a result of chronic, partial sleep deprivation can result in alterations in carbohydrate metabolism, appetite, food intake and protein synthesis.
Sleep and Weight Loss
- Sleep is crucial in retaining energy and stamina throughout the day.
- There are two key hormones released when you sleep; ghrelin and leptin.
- Ghrelin enhances your appetite and leptin suppresses it. A lack of sleep disturbs this natural hormonal balance and can lead to weight gain (or a lack of weight loss).
- Growth hormone, released in abundance when we sleep, is responsible for facilitating muscle growth and increasing your metabolism which means energy is burned more efficiently and can lead to weight loss.
- Adequate sleep lowers the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. Higher cortisol = lower metabolism. More sleep = less cortisol, better weight loss.
Morning Mobility Routine
Laying horizontally for an extended period of time can cause your joints and muscles to feel achy or stiff in the morning. Getting into a morning routine will increase your range of motion, decrease stiffness associated pain and boost the longevity of your global joint health.
- After a warm shower, take each major joint through its full, pain-free range of motion.
- Gently stretch those achy muscles.
- Use a foam roller or tiggerpoint ball to target the areas that need some extra attention.
- Perform daily to assist in retaining your range of motion.
6 Tips for a Better Kip
- Bedroom – clean, peaceful & welcoming. Achieve complete darkness with blackout blinds. Ideal temperature 16-18° Avoid televisions, computers and any distractions if you can’t nod off. Limit the bedroom for sleep only, it shouldn’t be used for work, watching TV, eating, even talking on the phone.
- Bed – comfortable! If you regularly wake up with aches and pains, it may be time to change your mattress. You should consider changing your bed after 7 years.
- Lifestyle – today’s typically fast-paced and chaotic lifestyle provides non-stop stimulation from the moment we wake up. Reduce the intensity of artificial light, maintain a regular bed time routine, avoid alcohol/caffeine before bed, switch off your tech, and empty your bladder before sleeping.
- Stress & worry – scientific evidence has shown a direct link between anxiety and rhythm of sleep. An alert mind produces beta waves, preventing sleep. To relax, breathe in deeply for 4 seconds and then breathe out slowly. Repeat until you feel your heart rate slowing.
- Diet – you are what you eat! Food and drink can have a drastic effect on your sleep. Choose milk, cherries, chicken and rice. Avoid fatty meat, curry and alcohol after 6pm.
- Exercise – promote sleep by working out effectively. Don’t work out too aggressively, this will be counterproductive by increasing your alertness. Yoga is renowned for its relaxation and sleep benefits.