“World Sleep Day on 13 March 2020 should make you re-think your mental health, physical health, weight and general wellbeing”
- Behavioural strategist Joni Peddie
If you don’t prioritise your sleep, you are putting your health at risk. Good quality sleep is the diet pill we've all been looking for, the ultimate wrinkle cream and the secret to longevity. And guess what? - it's free!
When we think of our beds and our pillows, we often forget that sleep is actually not an inactive state. While we are asleep, our brains and bodies are really busy. Sleep repairs and heals your heart and blood vessels. According to British scientist Matthew Walker, if you're only sleeping 6 hours a night (instead of the minimum of 7 hours), you have a 200% increased risk of having a fatal heart attack or stroke! Let’s talk Coronavirus. Since December 2019, around 3,500 people (at the time of writing this on 10 March 2020) have died of COVID-19. On the worst day in China, just over 100 deaths were recorded. Back to Prof Walker’s statistics, what we do know is that around 50,000 people die daily of heart disease!
“Gift’ yourself at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If Jeff Bezos can prioritise 8 hours per night, then so can we all! Jeff speaks openly about how he prioritises his sleep, given that he mentally thrives on 8 hours, and knows categorically that this improves his decision-making.
Are you worried about your weight? The proof is in the pudding: good sleep helps you burn fat, and increases your metabolism at night. Quality sleep also regulates your appetite during the day. While you sleep your body generates heat and this is what speeds up your metabolism. On the flipside, too little sleep triggers a cortisol spike. This stress hormone tells your body to conserve energy while you are awake. This means your body stores more fat.
What happens to your hormine levels while you sleep? Sleeping fewer than 7 hours causes our body to decrease leptin production and increase ghrelin levels. The hormone ghrelin stimulates hunger, while leptin signals satiety to our brain, telling us when to stop eating. When we have had too little sleep, we crave foods higher in carbohydrates and sugar, eat larger portions, and are less inclined to hit the gym. Our craving for those foods is the body’s emergency plan to comprise for its fatigue. These foods will give you a burst of energy, but of course this as ‘superficial energy’, as it is short-lived and results in even lower energy levels … a mere 30-45 minutes later.
Your daily appearance and how well you age are determined by how well you sleep. Overnight, our skin rejuvenates itself by shedding dead skin cells and replacing them with new, healthy ones. In addition, you build collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, the protein fibers that keep your skin looking plump, elastic, and smooth. During sleep, your skin's blood flow also increases, which helps remove pollutants, repair damage from UV exposure, restore your complexion and give you a radiant, youthful glow. Sleep is a multi-functional ageing tool!
Two sleep tips from Joni Peddie:
1. Exercise in the morning
Not only does regular exercise increase blood flow and help nourish and repair the skin, it also releases cortisol from your body for a better night’s sleep.
Exercise causes the body to release endorphins, which helps us to stay awake. Even light exercise, such as walking for just 10 minutes a day, improves sleep quality. Try exercising earlier in the day, as it will keep your brain activated and your body energetic for the day’s activities. It will also allow time for the endorphin levels to regulate and the brain to wind down by bedtime.
2. Be mindful what you eat and drink
Your daytime eating habits play a role in how well you sleep, especially in the hours before bedtime. Avoid caffeinated drinks for at least 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine blocks the production of chemicals in the brain that tell your body to fall, and stay asleep. Tea, coffee and carbonated soft drinks can stay in your system for up to 12 hours!
Cutting back on refined sugar and high carbohydrate foods will help you maintain regular energy levels throughout the day, help you sleep better at night, and assist with weight loss. If you're tempted to grab that muffin during your mid-day slump, drink a glass of water instead. This will suppress your appetite and help restore your skin and detox your body while you sleep.
ABOUT RESILIENT PEOPLE
Resilient People is a business that is abundantly and relentlessly focused on ways to empower individuals and teams to be more resilient in the workplace today.
Through the use of pragmatic Resilience Assessments, Workshops and Key Note Talks, Resilient People crafts bespoke programmes for their clients. The focus is on sustainable behaviour change, taking team by team on a practical, relevant journey.
Joni Peddie is a Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Strategic Facilitator. She is determined to build awareness in SA about sleep being the key to good health and resilience.
Resilience is a skill needed in the 4th Industrial Revolution, to enable us to bounce back from adversity and do so with AGILITY!