Bye Bye Sleeping Through the Night

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Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

Ever felt a powerful urge to consume lots of sugary, fatty foods because you feel so tired? Not getting the sleep you need can have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight so this is definitely something to focus on if you are working towards a healthy weight. The good news is that a wholefood plant-based diet can help.

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If you’re interested in plant-based eating, but just don’t know where to begin check out my 5 day series The Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based. It’s 5 days of tasty food hacks, meal plans, recipes and support.

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Read on to find out how and to read some other great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing

Sleep is this daily thing that we all do and yet we're just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind. People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer; not to mention effects like slower metabolism, weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Do you know that lack of sleep may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program?

What aspect of health does sleep not affect???

Knowing this it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:

●  To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.

●  To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.

●  To conserve some energy so we're not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.

Do you know how much sleep adults need? Everyone is different of course but it’s recommended that all adults get between 7 - 9 hours a night. Surveys in the last few years have shown the average Briton gets under 7 hours per night and the amount is getting even less each time there’s a new survey. It’s not just the amount, but the quality too, that matters.

Try not to skimp!

(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)

Tips for better sleep

●  The biggest tip is definitely to try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule. Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it. This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off. Seven days a week. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.

 ●  Balance your blood sugar throughout the day. This means eating less refined and processed foods and more whole foods such as wholegrains, legumes, veggies and fruit (full of blood-sugar-balancing fibre). Choose the whole orange instead of the juice. Make sure you're getting some plant protein every time you eat.

 ●  During the day get some sunshine and exercise. These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert. By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.

 ●  Cut off your caffeine and added sugar intake after 12pm. Whole foods like fruits and veggies are fine, it's the “added” sugar we're minimising. Yes, this includes your cappuccino with hazelnut syrup! Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be, come evening. (HINT: I have a great caffeine-free chai latte recipe for you below!).

●  Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off). This would include dimming your artificial lights, stopping screen time and perhaps reading a (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

So how many of these tips can you start implementing today?

If you fancy a tasty caffeine-free alternative check out my recipe here for a chai latte.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to join my series:

The Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based

for 5 days of tasty food hacks, meal plans, recipes, support and advice.

References

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/hacking-sleep

https://www.sleepcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/The-Great-British-Bedtime-Report.pdf

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/sleeping-number-hours-night-british-average-6-hours-poll-stress-work-a8336081.html