Nothing can replace a good night’s sleep
Without sufficient sleep, we can’t perform at our best.
Often, the lives that we live don’t allow for adequate rest. And yet, when we do have the opportunity to rest, it can be associated with being lazy.
On a personal level, I sometimes have trouble distinguishing between being lazy and actually tired or run down. It’s taken me a while to learn that pushing myself too hard leads to burnout; it can then take weeks before my usual high energy levels return.
Persistent sleep deprivation can lead to:
- Brain Fog
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic fatigue
- Hormonal imbalances
- Adrenal fatigue
- Inexplicable weight gain
- Depression caused by lowered serotonin levels
I didn’t mean to scare you there–but you get the idea! Sleep is terribly underrated in our society and many of us definitely aren’t getting enough!
A healthy diet isn’t enough to safeguard our body from ills; sleep is essential for optimal health
During sleep, the body detoxes, recovers and rejuvenates. Sleep is an anabolic state in which our body builds and repairs tissues and cells. We also release human growth hormone between the hours of 10pm and 2am. So, getting to bed by 10pm gives you an optimal chance for physical and mental rejuvenation. Often, the cause for sudden weight gain or weight loss plateaus is actually sleep deprivation and has nothing to do with caloric consumption!
Improve your sleep by following these steps
- Avoid Blue Light at Night: Stay away from stimulating laptops, phones and TV screens for at least 30 to 60 minutes prior to bed.
- Be Conscious of Circadian Rhythm: When possible rise with the sun and rest when the sun goes down. Ensure that you get real sunlight in the morning–make the most of August and September despite our Northern Hemisphere weather!.
- Go Easy on the Caffeine: Caffeine stays in the system for at least eight hours so it can disrupt your sleep even if you are insensitive to it.
- Eat Dinner Early: Eat at least 2-3 hours before going to bed and if you do have carbs – have them at night time. After eating, the body releases insulin which delays the release of human growth hormone (the anabolic recovery hormone), so eating a few hours before sleep will allow your hormones to function as they should. This also increases your intermittent fasting time so you’ll doubly benefit from the ketone therapy.
- Move Your Body: Exercise allows the lymphatic system to release toxins that are stored up at night. Moving around in the morning releases those toxins which sets you up for a higher energy day!
- Breathe Before Bed: Gentle breathing exercises, quiet meditation and yin style yoga can help clear the mind so that you can sleep easily without the mental chatter. Don’t feel as though you need to commit to an hour of meditation or yoga, just 5 to 10 minutes is often enough to slow your heart rate down, quieten the mind and prepare your body for rest.
- Journaling: Releasing your thoughts onto a page is incredibly therapeutic for calming the chattering mind. I love practicing gratitude in the morning and at night so that I can start and end the day on a positive note.
- Take supplements that support your sleep and relaxation. Below are some of the most effective supplements that I have added to my diet to improve my sleep and get my mojo back!
Supplements to aid sleep
Nutrition also aids sleep and here are a few incredibly effective supplements that I have started taking to improve my sleep during the night and increase my energy levels during the day:
- Magnesium: Reduces tiredness and fatigue, boosts energy, promotes normal functioning of nervous system and muscle function.
- Inulin: Inulin increases prebiotic fibre in the gut which improves REM sleep and has proven to cure insomnia.
- Bee Pollen: Contains B vitamins, Zinc, Iron and all 8 essential amino acids. Supports cell repair and recovery and boosts the immune system.
- Hebridean Kelp: Is rich in Iodine which contributes to normal thyroid function and production of thyroid hormones. This supports thyroid dysfunction and can alleviate stressed adrenal glands.
- Spirulina: Is abundant in B vitamins, Iron, Calcium and Zinc which support your immune system recovery, gut health and increase energy levels. It is definitely the Supergreen powder!
- Turmeric: Is anti-inflammatory , catalyses recovery and reduces aches and pains in the joints.
- CBD Oil: May be a little controversial! But this is purely the cannabinoids extracted from hemp which is the relaxing component. It does not include the THCs that make you high- Sorry! But if you’re feeling a little stressed, it’s amazing at calming you down and relaxing your whole body, preparing you for a perfect night’s sleep.
- Reishi Hot Chocolate: Enjoy a calming and warming cup of hot reishi chocolate before bed. Experience the nootropic effect of mushroom extracts.
If you’re an athlete, a busy mother, a successful executive, or if you have inflammation, autoimmune or adrenal issues or just generally lacking in energy, the ketogenic diet and these supplements will support your sleep and help you relax and recover after an intense day or week of our lives.
Don’t push yourself to burnout! Caring for your body and mind allows you to be a healthier, stronger and more effective version of yourself.
So, sleep well keto friends!
Sara & Francisco
Further Reading: Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson