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Tips and Tricks to Get a Good Night’s Sleep + Fall Butternut Squash and Spice Smoothie

Posted Nov 10 2012 12:36am

Fall is often a busy time. The hot summer days are behind us and we're getting back into our routines. It can also be a bit of a stressful time, as we tend to have more pressure at work, school and home. Chronic stress is related to many health issues, including depression, chronic stress, adrenal fatigue and weight gain. Sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain by increasing hunger and slowing down our metabolism. 

One of the best things you can do to combat stress, increase your energy and lose weight is to get yourself a sweet night of sleep! Air for at least 7-8 hours of non-interrupted sleep. This sleep guide is part of the  Online Non-Diet Weightloss Workshop  released Oct 1, 2012!

Here is how:

Avoid any stimulating ingredients in your diet  – This includes caffeine (from coffee, sodas, non-herbal teas, and chocolate), alcohol and nicotine. Even very small doses of caffeine can cause insomnia in sensitive people. Alcohol causes the release of adrenaline and disrupts the production of serotonin, an important brain chemical that initiates sleep. Herbal teas, like chamomile, are much better choices for relaxation than alcohol.

Last supper – Sugar and refined carbohydrates before bedtime can cause nocturnal hypoglycemia (low nighttimeblood glucose level). This can cause the release of hormones that regulate glucose levels, such as adrenaline, cortisol, glucagon, and growth hormone. These compounds stimulate the brain and cause you to have nighttime cravings. Eating complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, and adding a source of fibre to your bedtime routine, can help alleviate insomnia and late night cravings. Foods high in tryptophan can also promote sleep.

Make your bedroom primarily a place for sleeping – Remove stimulating objects from the bedroom, such as TV, cell phones, computers. A bedroom should be a calm place that promotes relaxation. Try not to do any work or pay bills in your bedroom, save that for busier areas of the house. Your bedroom should also have soft dim lights, black out window coverings and clean air. Adding plants and airing the room out can help keep the air clean.

Keep it dark   – Any light source can interfere with our sleeping patters. Bright lights can signal to your brain that it’s time to wake up. It is important to have good window coverings and even a sleeping mask so that you are in complete darkness. This is especially important if you live in a busy downtown area where there are 24 hour lights on. 

Keep a regular schedule  – Going to bed and waking up at the same time, even on weekends, can really help your body establish a good pattern and set your internal clock. This way it will be easier for you to fall asleep, as well as wake up in the mornings.

Incorporate bedtime rituals  – This is important because it signals to your body and brain that it’s time to slow down and prepare for sleep. Having some relaxing herbal tea, taking a warm bath with essential oils, listening to relaxing music, and turning off the TV and computer will give you the cue that it’s time to get ready for sleep.

Perform relaxing techniques  – these include meditation, diaphragmatic breathing, calm relaxing music, and reading are all sleep promoting activities. 

This fall inspired smoothie is a great source of magnesium, which helps to relax and calm the mind and body. It also has cinnamon and fibre, which help to regulate our blood sugar levels.

Butternut Squash and Spice Smoothie  

1 tsp cinnamon
⅓ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Sunwarrior brand)
Handful sunflower sprouts
2 Tbsp coconut butter
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 tsp ground flaxCouple of ice cubes

How to make:
Combine all ingredients into a blender and buzz until smooth. If you don’t have coconut butter (which is different from coconut oil, use 1.5 cups of coconut milk beverage + 1/2 cup water instead of water and coconut butter, or 2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

Makes 1-2 servings  

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