I’m sure you’ve heard that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the key components of good health. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. Proper sleep will help you learn better and retain information.
Ongoing sleep deficiency can raise your risk for chronic health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke. It can affect how well you think, react, work, learn, and get along with others.
But did you also know that lack of sleep can actually make you GAIN weight?
A proper hormone balance is very important not only for losing fat, but also for keeping it off. Lack of sleep–including restless sleep, going to bed too late, getting up too early, and any other types of sleep deprivation–can throw your body’s hormones out of whack.
This means that regardless of how much you exercise or what type of foods you eat, you will still struggle to lose unwanted fat, especially from the stomach.
So today, I’d like to share my top 5 tips on how to get a good night’s sleep and help melt away that stubborn belly fat!
1. No work before bed. Shut down work related activities, emails, or other stressful matters at least 3 hours before going to sleep to avoid getting your mind overly activated. If you deal with racing thoughts when you hit the bed, making this one change can be a major game changer! In addition, it’s best to turn off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed, since some researchers suggest the light from these devices could interfere with getting quality sleep.
2. No caffeine later in the day. It takes around 6 hours for caffeine to be fully processed and eliminated by the body, so if you’re sensitive to the effects of caffeine, it’s best to avoid it in drinks such as coffee, black tea, yerba mate, etc. at least 6 hours or more before your planned bedtime. If you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue, it’s a good idea to consider reducing your daily caffeine consumption. My clients often find replacing all or half their coffee intake with dandelion “coffee” or herbals teas quite helpful.
3. Turn down the lights! You want to make your bedroom as dark as possible since even the tiniest glint of light can disturb your sleep. When your brain senses pure darkness, it causes the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, so you’ll be able to sleep faster and better. Close down the curtains completely and if your room doesn’t have thick curtains, try using an eye mask. I personally can’t live–and especially travel–without mine and it has made such a huge improvement in my quality of sleep! Moreover, I suggest leaving your phone or other electronic devices outside or covering them completely, to avoid flashing lights that can disrupt your sleep.
4. Take magnesium or a relaxing Epsom salt bath before bed. Magnesium pacifies the body and brain by producing serotonin, the all-important mood-elevating chemical in the brain that helps us feel calm. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to prepare the mind and body for sleep. There are multiple studies that have shown how magnesium can contribute to deep, restful sleep in older adults and how its deficiency can lead to troubled sleep and even insomnia (1,2,3).
Epsom salt is not actually salt, but a natural compound of magnesium and sulfate, which are easily absorbed through the skin, making an Epsom salt bath a great way to replenish your body of the much-needed mineral magnesium. Aside from supplying the body with magnesium, taking a warm Epsom salt bath before bed with added essential oils such as lavender, rose, or chamomile, can further promote tranquility and reduce irritability, stress, and anxiety.
5. Enjoy soothing night time drinks. Herbals teas such as chamomile, valerian, turmeric, lavender, mint, and lemongrass promote a sense of calmness, helping you to wind down at the end of a busy day. While turmeric might be the last thing you think of putting in your tea, with the right mixture of spices, natural sweetener, and non-dairy milk, it is a delicious soothing drink you can enjoy instead of coffee or latte during the day or later at night. Turmeric has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, boost immune function, and support the liver and digestive system – all of which help you to sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.
Make sure to try this turmeric tea a.k.a. “golden spiced milk”, which not only tastes sweet, creamy, and delicious, but also aids relaxation and helps boost your immune system while sleeping.
Golden Spiced Milk Recipe
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (like coconut, almond, cashew, hemp, walnut, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon raw honey, stevia or pure maple syrup
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
- Pinch of black pepper
- Heat milk in a small pot over medium-low until warm, about 3-5 minutes
- Mix in coconut oil, then remove from heat, add the spices and sweetener and stir to combine. For a frothy consistency, you can add the golden milk to a blender and blend for 20-30 seconds
- Pour into your cup and enjoy!
If you still have trouble falling asleep, even after implementing all these tips, make sure to pay attention to fixing any hormonal imbalances you might have, including adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue and being chronically stressed throughout the day can lead to imbalances in your natural cortisol cycle, causing you to be more awake at night and feeling tired in the morning. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation if you need help balancing out your hormones.