Maybe you now wonder just like I did some time ago, “what does sleep have to do with nutrition”? Well, maybe not directly with nutrition, but definitely sleep affects your weight and your wealth.
“Sleep is essential to health and survival. Even if you don’t eat very well, you can still expect to live around 75 years. But if you don’t sleep, you’ll likely check out in a couple of weeks” Precision Nutrition
Let’s think what would you do at late hours instead of sleeping? Watching movies, working for your assignment, or thinking of the burden next day? During which you may indulge in more food. In other words, more time spent not sleeping means more time to eat. What do we eat when not sleeping? Chips, ice cream, fast food. In other words, junk food.
This is how, less sleep may result in more body fat. So? Well, that’s not it. Getting less than 7.5 hours of sleep per night makes you prone to heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death compared to people who sleep more. Also, with the weight gain that could come with minimal sleep, you are more likely to have insulin resistance (IR), glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes.
Now that we know how important sleep is, we must a find a suitable sleeping strategy, as this comes together with a good nutrition routine. We live in a busy world, but how we live is our own choice.
We can’t control the outcome but we have full control of our behavior. With consistent behavior, the outcome takes care of itself.
Some strategies for a good night sleep
Consistent bedtime: Try to keep the same hour to go to sleep and to wake up. In this way, it’s easier to get a constant daily routine and you won’t even need the alarm clock! I am well known among my friends for deserting parties and reunions at 9 pm.
Preparation of the bedroom
Light: Get (as much as possible) sun exposure during the day, while at night, keep the bedroom dark. This way you tell the body’s light-sensitive clock that it’s time to sleep. Or you may also use a sleep eye mask, like me.
Quiet: try to keep the bedroom quiet, or you may want to have prepared some outdoor sounds for relaxation such as: rain drops falling on the roof, sea waves breaking on the shore, etc
Temperature: Keep a slightly cool temperature in the room during the year, I prefer 22 degrees Celsius. This will help you fall asleep sooner.
Smell/odour: Open the windows during the day to refresh the air in the bedroom. During the night I use an aromatherapy diffuser with two drops of lavander, chamomile or vetiver.
Prepare yourself for sleep
Relaxation time: Have a routine before going to sleep that puts you into a relaxation mood. Avoid TV, computer, phone, stressful thoughts. You may want to read, listen a relaxing music, do your mantras, be aware of your respiration or use a guided meditation for sleep.
Exercise: Do not lift weights or do heavy workout. If you like yoga or Pilates, try a routine for beginners.
Eating: Eating a late dinner may disturb your sleep. Try to have dinner at least 3 hours prior going to bed. Don’t drink a lot before, as you may have to interrupt your sleep to go the bathroom.
Do you find any of the above sleeping strategies interesting? If yes, let me know as I would like to come with more details in following posts.