For A Healthy, Lean Body….SLEEP!
Sleep is undervalued, underrated and thought of as a luxury. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in previous posts and it’s because it is so important to our health. Quality sleep during the proper hours is an absolute must if you want a body that is lean, healthy and free from aches and pain.
Many of our hormones are produced in sync with the rising and falling of the sun. As the sun rises, our cortisol (stress & belly fat hormone) levels rise. In the morning, cortisol peaks between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. In the evening, as the sun sets, cortisol levels decrease. The decrease in cortisol levels allows for growth and repair hormones to increase (like human growth hormone and testosterone) and allows for the release of melatonin.
As the evening progress, ideally our cortisol levels are low and our repair and recover hormones are high. Unfortunately, what happens to many people is that the stress hormones remain elevated hours after they should be, resulting in hours of lost repair time!
Our style of living plays a big factor in high cortisol levels. We are accustomed to having bright lights on, doing work on the computer/phone/iPad, watching TV – these things stimulate your body to produce stress and activation hormones and keep them elevated.
If you value your health then get to sleep by 10:00 p.m. The magic hours of physical repair are 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. This is when your repair hormones peak (as long as the stress hormones have decreased).
Action Steps To Better Sleep:
1. Sleep in a room that is completely dark.
2. Drink your required amount of water. Dehydration is a stress on the body and when the body perceives stress it produces stress hormones that are activating and awaken hormones.
3. Get off the computer, TV, phone (all electronic devices) two hours prior to bed.
4. Dim the lights in the house.
5. Avoid foods (after lunch time) that act like stimulants – coffee, tea, alcohol, sugar.
6. Exercise – early in the day if possible. If you must exercise in the evening avoid bouts of intense activity lasting more than 30 minutes.