The past few weeks have been a bit busy which is why there’s a lack of blog posts recently! One of the first things that tends to go when we’re busy is sleep and self care. Really, they’re the last things that go as they’re two of the most important aspects of self preservation. Firstly, let’s talk about sleep.
Sleep is vital for growth and repair. You might be thinking that as an adult you don’t want to grow anymore but we’re always regenerating and growing parts of our bodies. It’s also vital for hormone balance which in turn affects mood, appetite regulation, immune function, cancer risk, heart disease risk, type 2 diabetes and an inability to deal with stress. Our reaction times, cognition and emotional responses are all altered.
When we don’t sleep enough or sleep well, that’s when the food cravings can start. Your body will have lower levels of leptin which is the fat regulating hormone. There will also be higher levels of ghrelin circulating making you more hungry. This is about the worst combination you can have for those pesky food cravings that seem to be made worse by lack of sleep.
What I have found though, is that eating a diet that avoids processed food as much as possible means that when I have been burning the candle at both ends, food cravings are no where near as bad. Why? Because my blood sugars are balanced, energy levels are more stable, my nutrient intake is high and I also avoid the caffeine. Caffeine might offer a temporary burst of energy but what does it to you for the rest of the day?
The other thing that’s important to build in for your mental wellbeing is some “me” time or relaxation or whatever you like to call it. That doesn’t need to be 3 hours each day but just 10 minutes doing something that’s relaxing or makes you feel good. Now I know that it can feel like it’s impossible to fit in but often that’s a self imposed belief and we could get rid of something else and replace it with something positive. For example, how much tv do you watch each day or how much time do you spend on facebook? Does it make you feel good? My guess is probably no so reduce that time and make time for something that does. You may also find you sleep better when you are asleep.
It is possible to eat well, build in “me” time, get some movement and have fun if you’re willing to give up some of the things that don’t make you feel so great. Admittedly, we can’t get rid of everything but we can choose to take control over what we do and how much we look after ourselves. Very often, you’ll find that whilst 8 hours a night is not the reality, when you start to look after you, your sleep does get better and you will feel so much better for it!
Struggling with your sleep and diet? Book a complimentary call with Hannah here