How is your sleep?
It could be better.
It could be worse.
How’s yours? …
Sleep is essential for both physical and mental recovery. We have
Stage 1 – this is the beginning of the sleep cycle. This is the stage where we are drowsy and often refer to drifting in and out.
Stage 2 – in this stage breathing becomes more regular and stable and body temperature drops.
Stage 3 – muscles relax, blood pressure drops.
Stage 4 – REM Sleep – body is inactive and demobilized
We move through these stages as the brain and the body work to recover. All of these stages are important as sleep is a very active process. Complete sleep cycles are between 90-110 minutes.
So how do we get the most out of sleep?
1. Never Hit the Snooze – the reason is that when we wake up from that first alarm and then we drift off again for 10 minutes we enter another sleep cycle meaning we will be way more groggy all day!
2. Never have caffeine 6-8 hours before bed – this is a CNS stimulant and can keep our body wired
3. If you workout in the evening make sure to find time to relax and wind down the body with a salt bath, oils or plenty of stretching
4. Try not to use laptops and phones within an hour of bedtime – the reason is the blue light can overstimulate our minds – making falling asleep harder!
5. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time EVERYDAY – it just means your body functions optimally – even if that sleep is only 6 hours.
6. Create a ritual – our brains love habits and patterns so why not create a ritual before bed – even if it only takes 5 minutes, this will programme your mind that its time to sleep.
7. Reading, audios and music can be great to help you drift off!
8. Make sure your lamp is a low energy or darker colour
9. Use a Lumie clock – you can use them for sunrise and sunset settings and I love mine!
10. Make it a priority. We’re all busy, but I guarantee we’re a whole lot more productive when we’ve had sleep
How’s work going? Stressful?
How’s home life? Stressful?
How’s training / diet? Stressful?
How’s the commute or the school run or the housework? Stressful?
We all have to deal with so much ‘stress’ that our bodies weren’t designed for.
Stress in all forms will lower your immune system and increase the output of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the adrenaline hormone which was designed to protect us when we got into danger by raising our adrenaline, heart rate and senses but now we have this hormone pumping because we’re late, we have 100 emails or the kids made a mess.
Cortisol is also the hormone that gets us up in the morning and sets our circadian rhythm or sleep cycle.
The challenge with chronic stress is one of two things is happening to us all the time.
1. We are constantly releasing cortisol so our bodies don’t know which way is up and therefore when is time to sleep and when is time to wake up.
2. We are so ‘burnt out’ from high stress our bodies stop releasing cortisol in the amount we need and then we’re tired all the time so we then throw in loads of caffeine and that messes up number 1 even more …
So my top tips (note I’m a realist – you can’t eradicate stress!)
1. 1-2 shots of coffee a day at least an hour after rising
2. Use other sources of energy such as b-vits, green tea, match and turmeric for a healthier boost
3. Hit me up for a fizz stick sample
4. Breathe. In and out when you’re having a moment and feel your heart rate come back down.
5. Exercise – not the must kill myself by working out type – general activity – walking, yoga or even just some body weight work.
6. Time out – 5 minutes listening to music or an Audio book in the car or at home will
Make a difference!
7. No caffeine after 5pm and lights low and night mode an hour before bed. We use all
Lamps in my house.
8. Never hit the snooze button. Get up no matter how groggy you are – give it a few days and it will make a difference!