Sitting down with Melanie from The Nutrition Effect, we spoke about the importance of sleep and her top tips for creating a space that you'll never want to leave. Sleep is essential to survive, and even more than that, it's crucial to our overall well-being and longevity so keep on reading to learn more about this natural and restorative process.
5 reasons why you need to sleep:
1. Sleep directly affects our mental health. Disruptions in sleep in the short term can lead to irritability, moodiness, anxiety and aggression. But here’s the scary thing, over the long term, compromised sleep has been linked to increased risk of dementia and Parkinsons.
2. Lack of sleep drives inflammation & over the long-term inflammation drives diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and arthritis.
3. The stage of sleep called REM (rapid eye movement) revitalizes the memory and can be a spiritual experience as this is the stage we dream in. Lack of dreaming has been associated with a lowered capacity to deal with emotional issues and healing.
4. Being sleepy (unless you are winding down at night) is a draining and revitalising experience. Sleepiness causes us to make bad decisions & judgements, puts us at risk of having a car or workplace accident as well as causing us to rely on things like sleep meds, excess caffeine & sugar to get us through!
5. Sleep deprivation can make us fat! When we sleep our cortisol (stress hormone) is at its lowest however lack of sleep can mean our cortisol is high. When cortisol is elevated over a long period, our bodies can go into fat storing mode making it impossible to shift excess body fat no matter what you try.
Ok, so now I have convinced you that sleep is your best friend, here’s how you can promote a good night’s sleep with wonderful, floaty dreams.
Make Your Bedroom Your Haven
Beautiful French linen (see I Love Linen!), invest in a good quality mattress and pillow, place a plant in the room for fresh oxygen, ensure thick blinds to block outside light, incorporate nice smelling scents like lavender, lemongrass, ylang-ylang & chamomile which promote relaxation. Oh, and don’t forget sex! Bedrooms are meant for sleep and sex!
It’s hard to hear it but it’s true, blue screens wreak havoc on our nervous systems as they stimulate us right when we should be naturally coming into our rest time. More books, meditation, conversation & fewer screens!
Good nutrition supports all the biochemistry to enable the adequate production of hormones & neurotransmitters for a healthy sleep. Choosing fresh, colourful foods & adequate protein on a daily basis is a sure thing to ensuring you get the nutrients for this process.
Alcohol & Other Stimulants
Everyone tolerates alcohol and caffeine differently and this due to the capacity of your liver. You may be sensitive to alcohol and caffeine so just be mindful or your tolerance before it affects your sleep. As a general recommendation, last coffee should be before 2 pm. As for alcohol, well there is a step in the metabolism and detoxification process of alcohol which actually turns the metabolites (broken down alcohol molecules) into a stimulant. This normally happens somewhere between 2-4am. You may have experienced waking suddenly during this time on a night you have been drinking.
Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Count back 7-9 hours from the time you need to get up and attempt to make this the ‘usual’ time you go to bed. This way you won’t have to wake to an alarm which often interrupts us in the all-important REM stage of sleep. Oh, and don’t be one of those people that say “oh I don’t need much sleep!” Guaranteed your cortisol levels will be high.
Get Outside During The Daytime
Natural daylight helps keep our circadian rhythm where it needs to be. Our bodies are very clever, given the right nurturing our body systems will work in sync.
Making sleep your priority isn't that hard and maybe you could make it even better and indulge in some French linen... happy sleeping friends!