Sleep, it's all in the ZZZ's
I hope you’re doing well. Today I wanted to briefly chat about another factor besides diet and exercise that may prevent you from achieving our goals. This extends beyond physical results and also play into mental clarity and general well-being.
Sleep is something we tend to sacrifice first when we’re trying to reach a deadline or want to party for an extra few hours. While it’s normal that we lose some sometimes, it’s actually very important that you get consistently good quality sleep. When we sleep, our body gets an opportunity to rejuvenate and repair itself, our hormones are regulated, and you should wake up with a clear head, ready to make good decisions and smash your day.
Now some people are more prone to having sleep issues, which you should speak to your doctor about, but there are some things we can do to help us sleep better. Firstly, set an alarm, the average human needs 6-9 hours of sleep a night, so depending on when you need to wake up, count backwards and decide when lights out need to be. Secondly, practice good sleep hygiene, keep your sleeping area as free from distractions as possible, that means no laptop, no phone no gadgets. The blue light from our screens interrupts the production of melatonin the sleepy hormone, so put it away don’t let the alerts distract you or add unnecessary anxiety at bedtime. Thirdly, if your mind races, keep a notebook nearby, write them down so that you can sort it out in the morning. Lastly, make sure you time your caffeine intake, as a rule of thumb, none after 4 pm, stimulants play havoc with our ability to fall asleep so keep them to a minimum.
Apart from sleep, our hormones play a huge role in our behaviour. Men low in testosterone tend to be more lethargic and thus demotivated so if you’re feeling off for a long period of time, you may want to get that sorted by visiting your doctor. In women hormone levels typically fluctuate quite rapidly so you need to bear this in mind on your journey. During the pre-menstrual time, you will experience more hunger because the body is preparing to undergo an energetically exhaustive process, you will also retain a lot of water, so weight gain in this time is normal but not permanent. Keep a track of it.
Another factor is stress. When we stress out, our central nervous system reacts to this, stress makes our body think there’s imminent danger. Stress results in the body releasing hormones, increasing blood pressure, increasing breath and can play havoc with your body. This affects you physically as well as mentally, some people eat more, others eat less, it makes you more prone to falling sick, mental illness and can even change your behaviour. So, it’s important to take time out of your day just for yourself. Many successful people carve out 5 minutes to meditate, sitting and breathing without thinking about anything except the present moment. Going for a walk or having a stretch to clear your mind are other ways you can take a little breather and stay balanced.