Are you getting a good night's sleep?

Did you know that  keeping fit, eating healthy , and exercising regularly are not the only ways to feel your best. It is equally as important to get a good solid night's sleep each and every night. I know you are asking yourself how is that possible?  What about your family?  They have to eat, you have to work late, you have an event that will run late and there may be drinking involved? I just have too much on my mind to sleep?  These are all excuses. Sleep NEEDS to be a priority in you life just like fueling your body so that it can run properly.

Many people regard sleep as a necessary evil, something on which we have to "waste" our time.  A friend once told me " I can sleep when I'm dead".  I understood what they were saying but, at the same time I thought about how miserable it is for me to be productive and furthermore, enjoy any given activity, conversations, task if I am exhausted or have not had enough sleep.

To function at our best we need an average of  seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night, but what works the best for each of us is going to vary. Some people need at least nine hours every night to function properly, others need only six hours. The body regenerates best  between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

 In addition to reducing the body's immune response and negatively influencing your health, the lack of sleep can also contribute to being overweight and even obesity. It is not wrong to think that to keeping a lean, mean body takes focus primarily on eating healthy and exercising adequately.  Getting enough sleep is the third part of the equation and is extremely important.   Hormones regulating your appetite are produced at night while you are asleep. Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the stomach, sends a signal to the brain when it is time to eat while Leptin, a hormone released from fat tissue, signals the brain when enough food has been eaten. What happens when you have neglected your sleep at night for some time, is that your body will start increasing its production of Ghrelin and reducing its release of Leptin. You are still hungry and consuming more unnecessary calories.  If this is happening often, over time it will result in becoming overweight.  Your sugar cravings will go up and so you will intake a soda, candy, etc and have a very bad crash and feel sluggish and exhausted.

It is also extremely important to get enough sleep if you exercise or work out.  Your muscles are regenerated at night so that they get stronger for your next exercise session. If your muscles are not adequately regenerated, you will end up breaking them down during exercising instead of making them stronger and firmer.

DON'T STRESS there is no reason for you to panic because you neglect a good night's sleep once in a while, whirling away on the dance floor shaking your booty, celebrating the birthday of a friend, or just a great date night - what matters is the overall BIG picture.  You can easily tolerate breaking your sleep pattern once in a while if you otherwise sleep seven to eight hours every night, preferably using the same rhythm every day, that is going to bed at the same time every night and rising at the same time every morning.

Tips for a good night's sleep:

  • Get plenty of exercise and fresh air every day, it makes you feel naturally tired and furthers a good night's sleep.

  • Engage in relaxing activities (reading, watching a movie, listening to soothing music) during the last 3 hours before bedtime.  You want to have as little on your mind as possible when it is time to get some Z's :)
  • Do not go to bed hungry, your body needs a little energy and fuel for regenerating. ( Cottage cheese is great if you are starving and is not too heavy, or  a protein shake to also give your body the nutrients it needs).
  • Keep your blood sugar in check while you sleep by avoiding sugars and high caffeine drinks
  • Avoid consuming alcohol before sleeping. One drink may well have an immediate sleep-inducing effect but that will, however, may be short, and you will usually wake up again soon, finding it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Make sure that your bedroom is quiet and dark
  • Sex is good for many things, and we simply sleep better after having had sex!- It is only NATURAL so why not ENJOY IT!!  

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