This wasn't my planned post today but having reached the end of my tether yesterday I decided that for my own accountability as well as sharing what I learnt with you, it would be good to post this today.
Sleep. We love it! We feel better for getting lots of it! When we don't sleep well though we feel sick, miserable, fed up and frustrated. And it can affect our health and fat loss - it is just as important, if not more important for fat loss, than calories!
I have a long history with insomnia and each time it gets me it is for a different reason, baby not sleeping through the night, stress, phobia, anxiety to name a few.
Unfortunately though it is very much a modern problem that is causing so many of us to lack quality sleep now. And yet we don't do anything about it. We keep ignoring the problem and hoping tomorrow will be better.
We are addicted to our smart phones (TV or iPad) - modern technology. I talked about going 24 hour phone free a few months ago, unfortunately I have not repeated it often enough - see my post here.
Modern technology emits a blue light and this blue light interrupts our circadian rhythm and ability to produce melatonin, the essential hormone needed to make us feel sleepy.
I'm not going to delve into the science bit, it is readily available online but I am going to share with you my action plan and the advice I have been given both from doing The 8020 Lifestyle Plan and from speaking to a sleep expert yesterday.
I've had a difficult summer with stress and it hasn't helped my ability to sleep properly, I either can't get off to sleep (probably due to the blue light of smart phone addiction) or I wake up in the middle of the night with a hot flush/night sweat (due to peri-menopause). The result is I'm exhausted.
It does make my insomnia harder to solve due to having Sleep Initiation Insomnia and Sleep Maintenance Insomnia but first of all I am going to deal with the Sleep Initiation:
I've got into bad habits and here is my action plan for change:
My plan is to have a wind-down time and be more strict about keeping to it. So no mindless scrolling on social media after about 8 pm, then I shall watch some TV downstairs in the lounge, have a relaxing hot bath then read a book. The experts suggest that you should not even read in bed. Bed is for sleep and sex. I am not sure I am keen to give up reading in bed so I am going to experiment with that one and see how I get on.
Even light-bulbs emit a certain amount of blue light although a bedside table lamp is still far preferable to the blue light from our devices. There are alternative light-bulbs and a quick google search turned up this article but so far I've not found a UK company that sell this type of bulb - more research needed!
I am told that it will take 2 -3 weeks of sticking to this new routine to break my old habits and see results. If I can tackle the Sleep Initiation then I can then look at the Sleep Maintenance around my peri-menopausal symptoms, but one thing at a time!
There is some more great advice at The Sleep Council, or take a look at the 8020 Lifestyle Plan where you will learn about nutrition, mindset and movement and sleep has it's own chapter on the weekly course, or I spoke to an expert at The Sleep Disorders Clinic.
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