The first thing I ask my friends, family and clients?
“How many hours of sleep do you get at night?”
If you know me, you know I have a non-negotiable commitment to an 8-hour sleep every night. I owe my health, energy, weight and motivation to this dedication to a good night’s sleep.
While it may be obvious sleep is important, people don’t realise just how important.
The benefits of sleep will enhance your health significantly! We need to take it more seriously.
Some top benefits…
It repairs. Your body produces extra protein molecules while you’re sleeping. These molecules build new cells and repair the damaged ones, in turn strengthening your bodies’ ability to fight infection.
It reduces stress. A good night’s sleep will lower your blood pressure and elevate the levels of stress hormone (cortisol) in your body. High levels of cortisol and blood pressure can lead to serious complications in our bodies. We won’t even go there now…!
It helps manage your weight. Ever felt like your are so much hungrier during jetlag or after a night out? Sleep helps regulate the hormones that affect and control your appetite. When we don’t get enough sleep, normal hormone balances are interrupted. Our bodies release the nasty hormone ghrelin that stimulates hunger quite significantly. According to The Sleep Diet by Pan Macmillan, “Chronic lack of sleep can also slow down the metabolism…”
It’s a mood enhancer. We all know how true this one is! Lack of sleep leaves us feeling irritable, moody and angry. Be careful because when limited sleep becomes a long-term situation, studies have shown it can lead to long-term mood disorders such as depression or anxiety.
It has beauty benefits. There is nothing worse than some one telling you that you look tired. Not to mention that it’s so rude! Never understood that one. Well, your 8-hour sleep will most definitely keep you radiating beauty and will diminish those puffy eyes and dark circles. It will also keep your skin flawless and glowing as your skin cells have had the time to repair overnight and your hormones have had a chance to rebalance.
If you are finding it difficult to fall asleep at a reasonable hour, here are some tips:
Jess’s 10 Sleep Commandments:
- Drink a cup of chamomile/chai tea with warm milk and cinnamon.
- Take a long, hot bath. I usually add a few drops of lavender oil or Epsom salts (it’s a relaxer and detoxifier).
- Set the mood – make sure your room is dark and clutter-fee and at a good temperature. (Ideal sleep temp is 18 degrees C.)
- Electricity can suppress melatonin production (sleep hormone). Switch all electronic devices off at least 1 hour before bedtime. This is a must.
- Listen to some relaxation or classical music.
- Start a meditation practice.
- Eat dinner at least 2 hours before intended bedtime. Digestion slows down at night and the discomfort of a meal trying to digest can disrupt sleep.
- NO SUGAR BEFORE BED. This will cause hypoglycemia and wake you up at 4am.
- You have heard it before, and you will hear it again – AVOID caffeine close to bedtime. It takes up to 5 hours for the caffeine in your system to wear off.
- Don’t exercise too close to bedtime. Leave a 3 hour gap between your workout and lights out as exercise releases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that will keep you too alert for rest!
Remember: The best time to be asleep is between 11pm-4am. This is when the magic of repairing takes place.
Now, my friends, please get your 8-hour beauty sleep tonight! I promise it will be worth it.
Affirmation of the week: My body is important to me and I am committed to taking care of it.