#Smallchanges – Nature’s finest superfood is sleep

I cannot emphasise enough how sleep is so important and this a small change you need to start. People need to start going to bed earlier and getting at least 7 to 8 hours as recommended a night. Similar to nutrition, sleep needs are unique to the individual. For males between the ages of 17-35, the national sleep foundation recommends 7-9 hours.

Lifestyle and activity levels play a huge factor—the harder you live, the more sleep you need so manage you sleep with your lifestyle to get the optimum benefits and get the more out of your day!

Why is it so important to make this particular change?

You produce most of your growth hormone (GH) when you sleep. Which as the name suggests it is essential for you to grow. But its benefits of growth hormone are not limited to getting longer and bigger.

Growth hormone has the following functions

Increases your calcium retention (to help maintain your bone mass), it promotes fat loss, it reduces fat storage, it supports your immune system and it keeps your organs operating smoothly. GH isn’t the only hormone affected by sleep. Ever go to bed hungry? If you have a full night’s sleep, you’ll wake up not hungry. During sleep, the body balances two hunger-controlling hormones—ghrelin and leptin.

sleep

Get to bed earlier!

A study in the journal of Medicine showed a strong correlation between limited sleep, high levels of hunger-inducing Ghrelin, low levels of satisfaction-inducing Leptin and obesity.

Start aligning your body clock and circadian rhythms. If you align your circadian rhythms with the natural world around you it helps give our metabolisms a boost.

One recent study by the International Journal of Endocrinology showed that people who were exposed to natural light within two hours after waking tended to be slimmer and better at managing their weight then people who didn’t get any natural light, regardless of what they ate throughout the day.

I know Ireland does not provide us with the amount bright sun light that our body’s desire but gather as much natural light as you can in your day by getting up earlier and thus boosting your metabolism!

Go to bed earlier!

Your retinas in the eye serve two purposes; they receive the input necessary for vision, and hold the sensors that detect the rise and fall of daylight. Your own body uses light to set your internal 24 hour clock cycle. This is largely regulated by the hormone melatonin.

Your body produces melatonin at night, which tells your body that it’s time to go to bed. But when your retinas take in light, especially blue light (such as laptops and mobile phones) this light suppresses production of melatonin, messing up your circadian rhythm. So switch of those electrical devices before bedtime! Break into the earlier nights gradually and ease your body clock into an earlier bedtime night by night.

Make the following small changes to sleep more

  • Go to bed earlier , be realistic and make your bedtime earlier gradually.
  • Set up your surrounds and bedroom environment.
  • Ensure your bedroom is a place of calm and clutter free. I also, like to spray essential oils such as lavender around my room to promote calm and slumber in my room. I dilute the lavender with water and spray it on my pillows.
  • Switch off your mobile phone, laptops and other electronic devices at least a half an hour before bedtime.

Audrey x

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