It is another one of those days. You got up feeling already pretty average if not too say exhausted. Instead of having enjoyed a revitalising sleep, you are wondering if you have instead been running 100 miles an hour. Those ugly circles under your eyes are getting bigger and you are cringing at the thought of the busy day ahead of you. You know you will have to call upon one or probably both of your less healthful superpowers of quick sugary hits and plenty of caffeine shots to try and stay on top of your tired game today. Come the evening you feel like there is not so much difference between a zombie and you…except for the fact maybe that zombies probably don’t have such an overactive nervous system that you are charged with by now. Which is the reason for you turning in bed again all night and not being able to fall into a deep, restful sleep. So, instead of your body being able work its own gorgeous magic and help you to rejuvenate, to rebalance and to deeply recover, you are starting your painfully disturbed sleep cycle all over again.
Trust me, I have been there. I hear and feel you. I truly do. There is nothing worse than not being able to recover properly at night time to equip us with sufficient new vitality to manage our crazily busy days. But if I am able to put a stop on this sleepless overdrive and save all this extra energy for more ignited and productive daytime action, you can do it too. And it might be much easier and more straightforward than you think it is.
Here are my 7 Effective Steps towards a slimmer, more rested and balanced you
- Establish a mind-calming-body relaxing evening routine
In order for your body to be able to realise that it is now time to step out of its ongoing action mode, it is super important to signal this to your body by creating an evening routine. It will have to be a sequence of actions which are calming acts of self-nurture and which you are able and willing to do every evening approximately around the same time. These could involve essential oils, reading a book, listening to calming music, or taking a warm relaxing shower or bath. Be sure to repeat them all over again, until your body knows that when you start with this routine, it means it is time to wind down. Time to turn off your alert mind and switch into resting mode. The more punctual you are with your new sleepy pattern of self-love, the quicker your circadian rhythm of day and night will heal and the sooner you will be rewarded with deeply rejuvenating REM sleep.
- Take time to wind down without electronics
Unfortunately, all those electronics that we have become so dependent on and keep busy with from early morning to late at night, are not helping when it comes to a restful night’s sleep. The opposite is quite true. The light that emits from our beloved electronics messes with our circadian rhythm of day and night cycle and instead of allowing our tired bodies and wired minds to shut down, it promotes wakefulness. So, let’s get this straight: I am not saying you cannot watch TV anymore at night or write your important emails etc…I do so too. The key point is to set some time aside before you are lying your exhausted body to rest where you allow your mental and physical self to adjust to the fact that it is night time and therefore time to switch off. Quite literally.
- Create your perfect sleeping haven
For you to be able to recover with deeply restorative sleep it is of course essential that you create a surrounding that invites sleepiness, rest and calm and shuts out everything that could possibly deter you from this. Therefore, there is no place for electronics in your bedroom. Nor is there for your desk or other work-related things. Your bedroom should only be a place of calm rejuvenation and yes sex too…but nothing that involves too much brainwork. In order to support your natural body clock of wakefulness and sleep it is best to shut out all the light possible and keep your sleeping haven really dark and cool.
- If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and with dinner
So, what about alcohol and sleep? It is true that in healthy individuals enjoying a glass of your favourite red wine can help you to go to sleep quicker. Unfortunately, it is also true that it interferes with your biorhythm or internal biological clock which is in charge of regulating most of your body’s processes such as metabolism, immunity, cognitive functions, mood, sleep, energy and many more. As a result, you will be standing in bed shortly after you have fallen asleep. Leaving your fatigued self barely any time to only make the slightest attempt of any form of recovery.
In addition, alcohol blocks your rapid eye movement sleep cycle which is the sleeping phase where dreaming occurs and your body is energised. It is during REM that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is secreted, your memory is processed and as such provides energy to your mind and body. Skipping this phase of your sleep will have you wake up feeling like you did not really sleep at all, it leaves you with this awful sense of mind-foggy grogginess all day that no sugar or coffee hit can really shake off.
- Nurture your body with foods that are more easily digested
In our crazily busy day, we leave only little time to refuel our tired bodies with wholesome foods. This means more often than not lunch is little, short and we forget about our morning and afternoon snacks. With the result that come night time we are starving and cannot wait for dinner. And because we are so incredibly hungry and have hardly spent any time nurturing ourselves with foods during the day, we are very likely to overdo it at night time. However, the bigger the load for the stomach the more work it has to do and while at work of course it can’t rest. So, if you truly mean it with your good night’s sleep, in addition to being more mindful of eating more and more continuously throughout the day, you will also happily swap foods that are hard to suggest such as fatty foods or red meat for foods that leave you feeling light and at ease and thus allow your body to switch from working into resting mode.
- Quit foods that cause you trouble
Are there any foods in your diet which the moment you ingest them, you wish you had not eaten them? Foods that make you look 5 months pregnant from one minute to the next, that make your face look puffy, give you wind or make you feel uneasy in any other way? Stop eating these foods. Your body is trying to tell you that it has trouble dealing with them. Your unique body is not made for those foods and as a result your digestive system is struggling to metabolise them. Often such trouble foods include those containing gluten, colours, sugar, that have been highly processed or are very spicy. It is never good to keep munching on these foods even though your body is giving you more pronounced signals by the day. But it is even worse ingesting any of those problem foods at night because you can be assured that it will keep your gastrointestinal and any other defence body systems working and on high alert. With the result that your body has no time to start shutting down for its well-earned rest.
- Indulge in foods and drinks that boost your sleep quality
It might come as a surprise to you, but many wholefoods do naturally contain substances that will help you sleep better. One of my favourite sleep inducing food examples are almonds which contain the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin. In addition, almonds are a rich source of magnesium which may decrease inflammation in the body and at the same time improve sleep quality. Other great foods to have that might help to win your nightly sleeping battle include walnuts, turkey, kiwifruits, oatmeal, bananas, dark chocolate, passionflower tea, warm hot chocolate with raw cacao or fatty fish. Keep in mind however that just because these foods have amazing sleep promoting properties and therefore will, without any doubt, support you on your mission to a more rested you, it does not give you a free pass on over-indulging on those sleep inducing delicacies. Eating too much too late, even if all the right foods, will not promote rejuvenating deep sleep and in addition lead to weight gain and with that to whole lot of new problems.
There is no way around it: there is truly no more effective way to boost your energy, health, memory, beauty and youth than by enjoying your regular 8-hours of deep, good quality sleep. It is during such restorative sleep that our body gets rid of all those many toxins accumulated during your busy day, that it secretes youthful growth hormones, that it processes memory and creates room for new learning. Without good quality sleep our mental and physical performance is greatly reduced, our hormones become all jumbled up, we grow fat bellies and feel – and look – many years older than we actually are. Unfortunately, good quality sleep has almost become a luxury in our overly busy and stressed lives and too many of us are stuck in a sleepless cycle of wired exhaustion. Trust me you too can change from wakeful zombie to sleeping beauty again. What are you waiting for? Are you ready to try my simple 7 steps to a more energised, healthy, happy and beautiful you?