Are you a Sleepless Muffin?
Sleep. Under rated and often over looked when it comes to matters of our health (and our muffintops). Good health is hard to achieve without good sleep, period. Disease, mood, focus, and performance are all directly related to the quality of your sleep, and, believe it or not, your sleep habits can also affect your ability to lose weight.
Snooze you lose…true story. The more you sleep, and the better quality your sleep is, the better your fat burning hormones will cooperate with you. Have you ever noticed it is harder to lose weight when you are not sleeping well? That’s because lack of sleep disrupts hormone balance. In fact, because of this, it can actually make you gain fat around the mid-section. Just one week of short sleep (5hrs) drops testosterone 10-15%…. Oh joy! And wait, there’s more….Lack of sleep also accelerates aging, increases risk of insulin resistance, lowers IQ, stimulates appetite, promotes cravings, compromises immunity, impacts mood, focus, sex drive, and productivity! There, I said it! Now what are we going to do about it?
Healthy sleep habits involve falling asleep naturally, staying asleep, and waking naturally, without an alarm clock. Many people do not sleep well in part due to lack of proper nutrition. Sleep involves a whole system of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that are fueled by nutrients from the diet, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. Consuming good quality organic lean animal protein, loads of leafy greens and brightly colored veggies, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy fats from fish and coconut, etc. can help. Other foods that promote healthy sleep are eggs, turkey (rich in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to melatonin), bananas (good source of magnesium), honey (turns off orexin, a neurotransmitter linked to alertness), oatmeal (rich in melatonin), and chamomile tea (relaxing herb).
There are also certain foods you want to avoid before bed including hard to digest foods such as meat, spicy foods, heavy foods, and foods with caffeine, such as coffee, chocolate, certain teas, and cola. There is a catch 22 with alcohol. While it can help some people fall asleep, the effect it has on blood sugar and the liver often makes people wake up and sleep restlessly.
Other lifestyle tips for sleep include sleeping in a completely dark and quite room, winding down before 10 pm so cortisol doesn’t get elevated and give you a surge of energy, taking supplements such as magnesium, amino acids, and herbs to promote natural relaxation, and reading or writing in a journal to clear your mind before bed.
How is your sleep? Do you require a medication, alcohol, or sleep aid that helps you to sleep? If so, your sleep and perhaps nutrition is compromised and you should start taking steps towards better sleep habits.
My favorite natural product for sleep is called Insomnitol. Check it out here….
(be sure to check with your Dr. first if you are taking any medications)
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