Gettting a Good Nights Sleep

The recommended amount hours for getting a good nights sleep for an adult is seven to nine hours per night. Unfortunately many of us are not getting anywhere near this amount, continuing to burn the candle at both ends. Whether we realise it or not, sleep deprivation is extremely dangerous to our health as the body repairs and regenerates during this time. For those aiming to lose weight, sleep is as important as good nutrition and exercise.

Research from Colombia University found that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are heavier and have a harder time losing weight. The brain functions differently without sleep. Inhibitions are lowered and indicate a tendency to overeat when you’re tired while skipping sleep also affects the pleasure seeking area of the brain, driving the desire for unhealthy foods.

Try these simple tips to improve sleep hygiene

1. STIMULANTS: Caffeine in coffee, tea, chocolate, fizzy drinks and painkillers should be stopped at least six hours before bedtime.  Alcohol may help induce sleep but will cause more awakenings and decrease sleep quality later in the night. It should therefore be limited to one or two drinks. Like smoking tobacco products, drinking alcohol should not be done within three hours of sleep time.

2. EXERCISE: Physical activity is powerful and certainly helps the body to relax and sleep more soundly. However, if exercise is within three hours of bedtime the hormone cortisol is still at work and the brain will be too alert. So try to exercise earlier in the day, otherwise a walk at night shouldn’t affect the ability to get to sleep.

3. BEDROOM: The sleeping environment should be kept cool and well ventilated. Avoid technology within an hour of sleep time and try to keep the bedroom screen free. Look for black out blinds or curtains and try to eliminate noise as much as possible.

4. RITUAL: Try to repeat the same bedtime ritual every night. Unwinding with a bath or shower, comfortable nightwear, brushing teeth etc. sends the brain the signal to slow down and induces a sleepy feeling.

5. SUNLIGHT: Our bodies are responsive to light and dark so try to get some sunlight every day, preferably in the mornings. This keeps our internal clock regulated. The dark bedroom environment is helpful for melatonin production, the hormone that helps us fall asleep.

6. PROCESSED FOOD: Processed food contains chemicals that may stimulate the nervous system. Avoid foods with MSG as this ingredient will play havoc with getting to sleep.

Do you have any trouble sleeping due to lifestyle? Call Motivation today and see how we can help you.

Blog Post by Claire Jackson