I recently read to book Wired to Eat by Robb Wolf. An absolutely fantastic read for those who are wanting to reset their eating, determine what foods are best for them and optimise their genetics. There was so much good information in this book, and his other book the Paleo Solution, but one of the best pieces I read was about sleep. I have included Robb’s tips for getting a better night sleep below. The reason why I felt this was so compelling is that I have had clients who have worked to the eating plan but still could not lose weight, and one of the big reasons is due to irregular sleeping patterns.
Anyways, Robb’s tips are in italics with a little bit of something from me:
How to get Awesome Sleep:
- Get more daytime sun on your person and in your eyes to establish a normal circadian rhythm. If possible get outside the first thing in the morning, as close to when you wake up as possible, for a few minutes. Walk or eat lunch outside.
- Our evenings need to be darker, cooler and not the equivalent to a rock concert if we want to get the best sleep possible. Dim your lights in the evening. Get yourself a pair of blue blocker sunglasses- not very trendy but they remove the blue light from screen before it reaches your eyeballs.
- Limit evening tech. If you watch TV use your blue blockers. If you need to use your phone, tablet, TV use the dim screen or nighttime facility (Night Shift on the iphone) built into many phones.
- Sleep in a cool room. Optimal sleeping temperature according to studies is 17-19 degrees centigrade. Might be a bit cold but grab a blanket and snuggle up!
- Sleep in a dark room. Strive to have it as dark as a broom closet in the centre of the Great Pyramid. Get some blackout curtains if need be, turn off any devices that have lights, no phone chargers, alarm clock lights etc.
- Keep a Journal. Jot down the things you need to do the next day so they are not bouncing around in your head!
- Get a good mattress. Invest in a decent mattress– Robb Wolf recommends a Sleep Number Mattress where you can change the firmness depending on how you feel.
- Alternating Hot and Cold Shower. Robb recommends a 10 second hot/20 second cold shower. I personally like to do 1-minute hot 1 minute cold for 3 cycles. finishing with 30 secs of hot. This process appears to reset the circadian rhythm to some degree, helps us unwind and go to bed. It also facilitates reducing our body temperature, which is a key feature of sleep. I haven’t seen any studies on this technique but for me personally the alternating hot cold shower seems seriously fatigue me and I feel refreshed, revitalized and drained all t the same time! It is amazing and I highly recommend this protocol.
- Make a consistent schedule and stick to it. Set a bedtime routine, you know kids sleep better when they have a set bedtime routine.
- Stable Blood Sugar- Good food and good sleep work in a virtuous cycle that keeps you strong, healthy and lean. I do not recommend eating immediately before bed as this can make it hard for our body temp to drop. Some people find that a little carbs with dinner can help them sleep better, as sometimes too much of a drop in blood glucose over night can cause a release of the stress hormone cortisol and possibly wake us up. Some people (myself included) tend to sleep better with a meal that was mainly protein and fat.
There you go, an extensive list, but as studies are indicating sleep is almost as critical to losing weight as diet and exercise. Often people who struggle to lose weight find that once they reset the sleep cycle and get the required amount of sleep at night weight starts to fall off, hormones start to regulate and they feel better and perform better.