The 4 Pillars of Sleep Hygiene


​​Sleep is important. Getting at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night is life changing. While you sleep, your body goes into reset mode; repairs and replenishes to its natural state. Sleep is directly related to hunger though the emission of hormones. There are various things you can introduce into your lifestyle to get better sleep. Exercise, food, stress and routine are all a part of creating good Sleep Hygiene.

While you sleep, your body goes through some of the important processes:,

  • Muscle repair

  • Digestion through the large intestine

  • Liver detoxification

  • Hunger Hormone reset

Hunger Hormones

Let’s briefly talk about the last one, what I call the Hunger Hormones. There are two hormones which play important roles in what happens in your body: leptin and gherlin, and they are both regulated by sleep and other factors.

Leptin:

  • Sends message to your brain that you are satiated - STOP EATING!

  • made in fat cells

  • Increased production while you sleep

Gherlin:

  • Sends a message to your brain that you are hungry, think gremlin - EAT!

  • made in the stomach

  • Decreased production while you sleep

Both of these hormones, plus insulin play huge roles in your weight goals. Along with a diet full of whole foods, good protein, healthy fats and fibre, you will naturally feel fuller longer and help increasing your leptin levels.

Food Timing is one last thing to mention about these hunger hormones. Make sure that your meals are:

  • Consistent- at the same time

  • Have Protein and fibre

Intermittent Fasting may be an additional benefit to regulating blood sugar. You can do this by ensuring you are not consuming any foods between the hours of 8:00 pm - 8:00 am. This way, you allow your entire system to relax and repair overnight.

The Sleep Protocol

Like everything in our lives, our body likes routine. It runs beautifully on its own circadian rhythm, but when that is out of balance, everything is out of balance.

Getting the right amount of sleep is a science and has four major pillars;

  1. Exercise

  2. Food

  3. Stress

  4. Routine

Let’s look at these in more detail:

Exercise:

Getting daily exercise isn’t just about keeping your heart healthy, losing weight or building muscle, but it’s also about tiring out your body. If your body doesn’t get adequate daily exercise, it isn’t tired. Your muscles get lethargic without exercise and become restless. Getting the right amount of exercise is based on each individual, so you have to regulate and see what your limit is.

Recommended weekly exercise is at least 30 minutes, 5 times a week where your heart rate is increased over 125bpm. This means that every part of your body is activated and working. If you keep this up, then keeping a good heart, losing weight and getting stronger is just a bonus.

Here are some ideas to get your body moving:

  • Bike riding

  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

  • Swimming

  • Brisk walking

  • Chores like vacuuming, cleaning windows

TIP: Set aside a time during your day to get some exercise. Make it a priority. Lunchtime walks, getting up a little earlier, join a class after work. At first it may seem hard, but it will get easier over time.

Food

Our life is like a pendulum; good or bad, clean or dirty, food can be the same way. Having a diet enriched with whole foods and no processed foods is the ideal. Processed foods are full of sugars and additives that can make it difficult for your body to process and relax. These foods disrupt your insulin levels which can affect all of your hormones to make it more difficult to rest.

TIP: Make a list of all the things you like to eat, then make a list of all the flavours you enjoy. Put those two things together to make your list. Don’t like lettuce? Make a slaw!

A quick talk about sugar.

The topi