This guest post was written by Julianna LoCascio, a personal friend who I like to call the food police. Julianna is a personal trainer who most certainly practices what she preaches.
Listen up people!…What I’m getting ready to share with you will change your quality of life and could be the sole reason why you are not at peak health!
1. You should be getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. I can not stress enough how important this step is in determining how your endocrine system, (which controls your hormone levels), will decide to function.
Remember, 8 hours is ideal and 7 hours is optimal. Also know that there is such a thing as “oversleeping” and “under-sleeping.” These practices can easily disrupt proper hormonal function, which can throw off your entire day and weight-loss efforts. A research study proves that as little as 1-2 nights of restless sleep, or late-night insomnia could throw your entire endocrine system off for the entire week.
2. Next, scheduling a set time for when you go to sleep and when you wake up is crucial for normal brain function. This set schedule helps your body to know what to expect so that it doesn’t feel the need to go in to “fight-or-flight mode.”
Basically, our bodies naturally want to protect and preserve us and it doesn’t know the difference between the stress of a car accident versus the stress we get from breaking up with a boyfriend.
3. You’ve probably heard of the term, human growth hormones or HGH; well, this particular hormone is vital in repairing and restoring cellular function. Your HGH is released a few times throughout the day but it is also released 3-4 times during rest; I am not referring to the 20-minute catnap you had at your lunch-break. This slow release occurs throughout your nightly slumber and that is why it is imperative that you DO NOT interrupt this crucial cycle.
HGH, alone, essentially controls your energy levels, metabolism efficiency and a clear headedness; all of the elements required for weight loss success.
4. NO food before bed! Yes, you heard me right. Studies have shown that your digestive tract could interfere with hormone secretion, which has the potential of slowing your metabolic rate.
5. Also, carb-cravings begin after around 10’o’Clock, when your blood sugar level plummets, therefore impairing your judgment for your weight-loss goals. Self-discipline can get a little unguarded after dark; especially if you’re knocking back the booze, after a long week (which is a whole other discussion!).
6. Get to bed before midnight! People tend to crave carbs late at night, which can add up quick for your daily calorie-intake; Meaning all of the hard-work you put into your workout and a healthy lifestyle is sabotaged by late-night cravings and mindless eating.
7. In the gym, you are essentially breaking or tearing down muscle tissue. When you’re NOT working out, especially during your REM (rapid eye movement sleep) cycle, your muscles are actually regenerating and reforming.
8. Also, it is very important that you combine a fat and protein source with each meal, including breakfast. This will help satisfy you for a longer period of time. Then eat a moderate amount of carbs for lunch an a low-carb, high-protein meal for dinner. This will help you fall asleep and STAY asleep.
9. Try not to consume any fluids before bed, as this could be another trap, when you have to get up to use the restroom, which again interferes with your sleep patterns.
10. There’s no need for supplemental melatonin tablets. Your body can produce a heck of a lot more melatonin on its own, by avoiding as many lights before bed as possible; Be sure to avoid even the slightest glowing light in your room including your alarm clock.
Bonus: Use these helpful wind-down remedies before bed this evening:
- Take hot shower or bath 30 min before bed.
- Avoid TV, Internet and cell phones 1- 3hours before bed.
- Eat a light, protein-dominant dinner.
- Avoid fluids 2-3 hours prior to bed
- Purchase an inexpensive yellow tinted light-bulb for reading, but not in bed. (Light yellow is easy on the eyes which produces serotonin (the feel good chemical in the brain).
- Use your cell phone as an alarm instead of a big bright alarm clock and only set your alarm when necessary.
- Also use a soothing, yet still effective alarm sound. Harsh noises, first thing in the morning, can increase stress levels in your body and set a not-so-bright tone for the day.
Cheers to a better YOU!