We all seem to be getting into the rhythm of social isolation, adapting to what has become the new ‘norm.’ I have had some lovely feedback from you all regarding the Innate Wellness Program and I’m so pleased that we have been able to work with you all in this unique time. Hopefully we’ve been able to alleviate some tension by enabling you to continue to work out - I’m not sure about you but I’m a much nicer person to be around when I have done some exercise……….!
And therein lies the perfect segue to this week’s blog - Do you know what else makes me a decent human being? Sleep!
You might recall in last week’s blog that we discussed multiple ways to improve your health and immunity during isolation. Several of those topics could be explored more broadly and so this week, I want to further dissect the importance of ‘sleep hygiene.’
Yes, this is actually a ‘thing’! The quality and quantity of our sleep plays a huge role in our physical, mental, social and emotional health, yet many of us aren’t getting the required amount. As a shift worker I can tell you I‘m a complete mess with fractured and fragmented sleep! It entails mood swings and sugar cravings (yep I ate a whole bag of party lollies at 7am on the way home from a night shift once). I’m essentially a cranky, moody mumma and it’s not pleasant!
I’m sure many of you can relate to sleep deprivation in the form of jet lag- the lack of motivation and utter exhaustion that ensues can be quite profound, impacting your entire state of mind! So, to give you a little more insight in to why we need our sleep, I had a chat to my local naturopath Nicole Woodcock who has put this exert together for you:
"Dear 3am, we have got to stop meeting this way. I'd much rather sleep with you." Author unknown. Put your hand up if you wrote this.
Sound familiar? You're not alone. In fact, approximately 40% of Australian adults don't get enough sleep, either in duration or quality. Women report that they only have enough energy 4 out of 10 days and men 5 out of 10 days. Common does not mean normal or "acceptable." Sleep makes you feel well, energetic, focused and happy. You may have the odd bad night’s sleep but if you regularly have poor sleep it can really affect how you feel and what you get done during the day. Is it time you reclaimed your sleep?
Sleep is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. It is the third pillar of health alongside a healthy diet and exercise. Inadequate sleep not only makes you feel like a walking zombie, but it is driving your current and future health. According to the National Sleep Foundation of Australia adults need 7 to 9 hours of solid sleep every night for overall health and well-being and to prevent chronic illness.
Exhaustion and fatigue impacts both your physical and mental performance. Inadequate sleep affects your mood, motivation, judgement, learning, memory and perception of events. People who have regular, solid sleep are more alert, focused and present. They have better problem-solving skills, more balanced moods, less anxiety and increased confidence. Ongoing sleep deprivation directly impairs your metabolism, immune and digestive system and increases the likelihood of developing chronic health conditions. Sleep deprivation may well be contributing to changes in your appetite, food cravings (especially our mate sugar), weight gain and difficulty losing weight, mood fluctuations, stress, anxiety, brain fog, low energy and fatigue. Lack of sleep may be holding you back from achieving your exercise and fitness goals.
Tweaking your daily habits may help improve your sleep quality and quantity. Let's face it - we are creatures of habit, so creating a regular routine "trains the brain" for sleep.
10 tips for better sleep
Aim to get to bed and wake up around the same time every day, including weekends. (give or take 30 minutes).
Turn off screens (phones, tablets, TV's, laptops) at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The earlier the better. The light from these devices disrupts the production of sleep hormones.
Try not to worry about getting a bad sleep. If tracking your sleep makes you anxious about how much sleep you're not getting, ditch the app. You're better off without it.
Follow the cycle of the sun. Dim the lights in the home after sunset and let the natural light into your room in the morning. Your natural sleep cycle and body clock is set by exposure to natural light.
Exercise during the day to wear you out for a good night sleep.
Create a pre-bedtime ritual. Have a warm shower or bath, reading a (relaxing book), listen to music - practice mindfulness or breathing exercises. Find your "thing".
Limit caffeine in coffee, black tea, energy drinks and soft drinks. Avoid caffeine completely after lunchtime. It's stimulating affects last up to 10 hours.
Limit alcohol although it might make you fall asleep quickly, it makes sleep fragmented and light.
Your bedroom should be kept sacred for sleep and intimacy. Avoid doing work, watching TV or using screens in the bedroom. Train your brain that your bedroom is for sleep.
Your bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet and comfy. A bedroom temperature of 18 to 21 degrees is ideal.
So, take away what you will but I hope you now have some helpful tips regarding sleep routine and a better understanding of why we need our sleep. By tweaking different facets of your lifestyle, you may find yourself becoming a better version of you!
I have also added a new workout for you to do at home and due to popularity have included the Boxilites session again from last week. Remember exercising during the day is a great way to promote a good night’s sleep!
Until next time,
Workout 1: Cardio (Shadow Box)
Workout 2: Cardio (Boxilites)
More about Kelly Nicholas
Kelly Nicholas holds a Health Science Degree in Paramedicine and currently works as a Paramedic for Ambulance Victoria. Kelly is also a qualified personal trainer with a Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science and has completed a specialisation in nutrition for exercise professionals. Kelly and her business partner Louise Moss, run Change it up Training - a small business specialising in training and motivating others to be the best/healthiest version of themselves.