Are you getting enough sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep?

The benefits of sleep are more than just avoiding feeling tired. Sleep: • Maximises melatonin which has antioxidant and protective effects in your body • Increases the amount of nutrients taken up from digestion• Allows time for healing and regeneration of your cells. • Helps your emotional balance and allows consolidation of factual memories • Helps with appetite control and blood sugar balance • Helps balance the micro flora (bacteria) in your digestive system which are crucial for immunity However, with the current uncertainty you might find sleeping harder than normal. Don’t worry if you don’t sleep through completely. Several stretches of 1½ hours allow you time to get into the deep sleep which is the most restorative.There are many causes of poor sleep. These include high levels of stress which can stop you from switching off, poor blood sugar control, too many stimulants and/or alcohol, poor sleep routine/habits, or an expectation that you will not be able to sleep. An excess of blue light from screens (especially late at night) has been shown to suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone).Many people find a sleep hygiene routine helpful. This can include going to bed and waking at the same time each day, relaxation techniques, such as simple breathing exercises, meditation or calming tapes, lavender oil either on their pillow or in a warm bath, massage and aromatherapy. Regular exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. Just be careful not to do it close to bedtime as exercise produces stimulants that stop the brain from relaxing quickly. Create a calm bedroom environment. Avoid televisions, computers, and overstimulating music.What and...
Successful Weight Management in Lockdown

Successful Weight Management in Lockdown

Being at home with high levels of boredom and in need of emotional and physical comfort, makes it easy to lapse into some unhealthy food habits, with the potential to gain weight.You may see lockdown as an opportunity to re-calibrate some aspects of your life and your weight could be one of those. If you want to lose weight there are some simple things that you can do to start that process.Eat mindfully. When you eat, stop other activities and concentrate on chewing well and listening to your body. If you are approaching feeling full then stop eating. Research shows that by practising more mindfulness you may be more likely to control your sweet tooth and regulate your blood sugar.Review your cupboards and pack away all of the foods that are going to lead you astray. Alternatively if they are in date and unopened you could donate them to the local food bank.There are some foods and drinks which you should avoid if you want to increase your chance of success. • Processed foods: White bread, rice, pasta are included in this category as well as manufactured foods such as cakes, biscuits, snacks. These can have loads of additives and artificial ingredients which your body is less able to process. In addition these foods tend to release their energy quickly into the blood stream, causing blood sugar spikes and fat storage. • Alcohol: Cutting alcohol in its own right can help weight loss significantly. In addition your resolve to stay on track with your weight loss is likely to waver after you have had a couple of drinks. •...
Supporting Immunity

Supporting Immunity

As with all body systems it is important for our immune system to be in balance. Ideally, we want our immune system to defend us against attack from pathogens and toxins, protect our cells but not overreact to safe stimulus such as foods or our own body. An overactive immune system which leads to too much inflammation can lead to as many problems as an under active immune system. As well as ensuring we have all the nutrients to support our immune system and make white blood cells it is also helpful to reduce inflammation. Diet choices can support this.Eating a good amount of vegetables and fruit is helpful as these are anti-inflammatory, ideally 8 portions per day. As we have said in other posts have a good variety and eat a rainbow of deep colours for optimum protection. Fruits with particularly powerful anti-inflammatory properties include pineapples and papaya. Eat cruciferous (cabbage-family) vegetables regularly. Ideally eat one of broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, cabbage, spring greens every day.Herbs and spices are well known for their immune enhancing properties and for reducing inflammation. Add spices to liven up dishes or try having freshly grated ginger or chamomile tea. Add cinnamon in place of sugar to cereals and stir turmeric into rice. Dried spices have a long shelf life and a little goes a long way.Having too many simple carbohydrates such as sugar or refined foods can cause inflammation as our body needs to rely on hormones such as insulin to manage this which can lead to inflammation as can excess wheat. Instead chose a range of unprocessed whole grains such as brown...