When was the last time you didn’t feel tired? Exhausted even? You wake up each day struggling to get out of bed, crawling to the bathroom and grabbing the coffee to wake up. You NEED that evening time to “switch off” after the kids have gone to sleep.
Watch a little TV and maybe a cheeky glass of wine with your other half. A little YOU time. YET you wake up each day MORE AND MORE TIRED
Get to bed ….
Yes really this is one StrongHer Basics. SO simple yet often overlooked. Getting to bed by 10pm at the latest AND getting 8 hours sleep is a foundation of becoming the best version of you, healthy and toned. If you don’t do this YOU’RE training and nutrition don’t have the same impact. Put simply you won’t be the best version of your without this. AND again it is ALL in your control. ^^^^ Hence why it is one of the StrongHer Basics.
A little tough love …
This is SO important to becoming confident, healthy and toned. Overlook this and you will fail to become the best version of you. I did say I was going to be honest. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL. This alone will dramatically improve your energy and concentration levels at home and in the office. Help you have more energy with the kids and more clarity. Sound good
Why is sleep so important?
One of the challenges I often face as a coach is getting StrongHer lovely ladies to understand how important sleep is to getting confident, healthy and toned. Especially as I work with alot of mum’s who can’t always know they will be able to get a full night’s sleep. BUT … let’s lay it on the line.
Put in a KISS (Keep it StrongHer Simple) way every cell is primed for optimum hormone response, for best levels of repair. Training and eating well only goes so far. If you don’t sleep enough you’re just NOT giving your body enough time to repair itself to work in the BEST possible way. Getting to bed on time is critical to body repair, physical and psychological aswell as toning up.
If you miss your physical repair cycle between 10pm and midnight then you will have a nagging list of ailments that you can’t seem to shift. Headaches, tiredness all the time, aswell as aches and pains on waking up.
You might even end up with Adrenal Fatigue. ^^^ What is that? Just a simple overview. The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys and produce hormones called glucocorcoids, including cortisol. Too much exposure to light means we produce too many of these hormones and overwork our adrenal glands. If you have too much cortisol you won’t have enough growth and repair hormones as the two are opposites in the body. Adrenal fatigue can lead to constant tiredness, viruses and infections and headaches … you will just feel constantly run down.
Sleep is when your body gets BUSY
When you are asleep your body is busy, I mean really busy. Sleep is when your body and brain recovers, regenerates and repairs. It is when:
- Growth hormone is released to grow our muscles, it is a fat burning hormone and at its highest when you first fall asleep.
- Your digestive tract is also working hard breaking down all the food from your day, from that canteen lunch to the cheeky cakes with coffee.
- Hence a healthy bowel movement is first thing in the morning tends to be the largest of the day.
- Your liver is also working hard. The liver is the bodies detox system and will work hard to take all the toxins out of your blood stream.
- An unhealthy liver will lead to fat storage if it can’t remove these toxins from the blood, instead they are shuttled into fat cells. If you are waking from 1-3am this might be due to your liver needing a cleanup.
- Whilst we sleep our bodies get busy with physical repairs take place between 10pm and 2pm with an increase in growth and repair hormones
- Then after 2am the immune and repair focuses on psychogenic (brain) repair. Imagine all the work your brain does during the day making thousands of decisions a day. It needs to rest and repair plus refile all the new information from that day.
- Broken down your sleep looks like this:
10pm – 2am body has optimum physiological prepare window
Eg if you’re going to bed at midnight missing 50% of your physical repair window. 2am – 6am optimum psychological repair window Eg if you’re getting up REALLY early (me!) you are missing that mental repair window. ………………….Ready to Geek it up?
GEEK alert … your natural sleep cycle:
Our body clock remains the same as Dave the Caveman, yet we now live in a time of late night TV, mobile phones and bright lights. Despite artificial light our bodies are still tuned in to the natural rhythm of daily and seasonal light/dark cycles.
This is what we need to align ourselves with and make a key lifestyle focus for getting healthy and toned, cycle. When light from natural or artificial light hits our skin or eyes, our brain and hormonal system think its morning.
Paul Chek, Eat Move and Be Healthy
This triggers your hormonal system to release cortisol, an activating hormone preparing the body for movement and the day ahead. As the sun rises our cortisol levels rise and peak between 6am and 9am, dropping a little through the day but remaining high enough to support daily activities before starting to drop in the afternoon.
The drop in cortisol allows the release of melatonin and increase in growth and repair hormones. Following our natural sleep cycle, we should be relaxing and winding down as the sun goes down to naturally fall asleep by 10pm.
Cells and hormones during sleep interact to repair YOUR body as needed. So add more minerals, vitamins and repair from any training. Why cells important – cellular health, = impact on heart health = impact on overall health
Carcadian cycle: Our bodies built in timing system. A natural physiological cycle of about 24 hours that persists even in the absence of external cues. Working late, late night TV and a brightly lit house will all keep your stress hormones high. Which in turn will prevent the release of melatonin, growth hormones and cut into your repair time.
So how can I get more sleep? You might be asking. Here’s the Top 10 StrongHer Ninja Tips
The StrongHer Sleep Ninja Tips.. get you sleeping like a baby:
- Get to sleep by 10pm. If you need time to relax beforehand, start you routine to be in bed by 9pm. I find a hot bath with Epsom salts really relaxes me.
- Minimise your exposure to bright and artificial lights, for 2 hours before bed. Don’t watch TV or play with phone before bed – Blue screen really activates the brain and active hormones the opposite of what you are trying to do when going to sleep.
- Sleep in a completely dark room and try to dim lights before bed, get your body thinking it is bed time. Try black out blinds or an eye mask if your room is light.
- Avoid stimulants in the afternoon, caffeine, sugar and nicotine. If you don’t sleep well really focus on keeping your blood sugar level steady.
- Coffee alone will increase cortisol levels for up to 18 hours, ideally no coffee after 3pm. Coffee has a half life of about 6 hours. So if you have a coffee at 3pm you will still have 150mg of caffeine in your bloodstream, stimulating cortisol. Instead try Tulsi tea before bed.
- Drink plenty of water. Our bodies have little water reserve and we should be drinking a litre for each 25kg of bodyweight per day. Dehydration leads our body to stress, in turn leading to awakening hormones. This could be why you are waking up during the night.
- Get into a bed time routine .. getting my kit laid out ready for training or coaching, prepping my sessions and getting my morning supplements out. Find what works for you … try a bath of Epsom salts or reading fiction that gets you away from the day to day office politics and busy home life.
- Eat a whole food, clean dinner – I will go into more detail on the nutrition so don’t worry but processed foods contains stimulants such as MSGs and aspartame that you body has to work hard to break down. Avoid sweets and deserts where possible as they won’t help you sleep
- Take magnesium – If you don’t have a healthy varied diet you are likely to be lacking in magnesium, most of us are lacking in magnesium. Magnesium helps to carry messages between the brain and the muscle so if you are low in magnesium you might find it hard to sleep and trigger the release of certain stress hormones.
- Journal each day … Buy a lovely journal (LOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE Paperchase) and write down what’s on your mind, what you are grateful for that day and a list for the next day. Empty all your ideas down onto paper so you are not thinking of anything.
Oh and one more…. Exercise early … Don’t leave exercising too late as you will fire up cortisol again and find it harder to sleep. The best time to exercise is first thing when your cortisol is naturally high.
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