Is Your Sleeping Habits Affecting Your Weight???

Do you have trouble sleeping through the night?

Are you feeling exhausted all day?

Do not fear, I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!

The science of sleep is quite fascinating.

The crazy part, is that sleep is something that we do daily but we are just beginning to understand all of the ways it helps us and all of the factors that can affect it.

Lack of sleep honestly 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 cancel out all the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp! I know right!)

Here's the 3 main benefits of a proper night's 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.

So, I'm sure your curious how much sleep we actually need? 

Well it's less than what your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get 7 – 9 hours a night.

So learn to love your bed again and don't skimp on the zzz's!

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

5 Tips for better sleep

●      My biggest tip is for you, is to definitely try to get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.   That means going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time everyday.  The best way to do this, is to make sleep a priority, that way you are more likely to achieve it.  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.  You know, eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole orange instead of the juice (or orange-flavoured snack).  Make sure you're getting some 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 minimizing.  Yes, this includes your beloved chai latte.  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 the lights, turning off your phone (aka social media) and perhaps reading an (actual, not “e”) book or having a bath.

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

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Recipe (Caffeine-free latte for your afternoon “coffee break”): Caffeine-Free Chai Latte

Serves 1-2

1 bag of rooibos chai tea (rooibos is naturally caffeine-free)

2 cups of boiling water

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon almond butter (creamy is preferred)

2 dates (optional)

Cover the teabag and dates (if using) with 2 cups of boiling water and steep for a few minutes.  Discard the tea bag & place tea, soaked dates, tahini & almond butter into a blender.  Blend until creamy.

Serve and Enjoy!

Tip:  You can try this with other nut or seed butters to see which flavour combination you like the best.  Cashew butter anyone?

References:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/gotobed/

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

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