How Napping Can Boost Your Energy, Mood & Performance

health nap sleep stress Jun 23, 2020

“No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap” – Carrie Snow

When I talk to my clients about the importance of rest and recovery, I make sure to differentiate it from sleep, and instead, describe it as an active process that occurs 24-hours-a-day, 7-days a week.

Daytime rest or napping, for example, is a process which allows you to recover mentally and physically at almost any time (providing many, but not all, of the benefits associated with a physical state of sleep).

With the hectic pace of day-to-day life, many of us don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Receiving a few less hours sleep for even a few nights can snowball into trouble, and over time, chronic sleep debt can contribute towards increased fatigue, increased stress levels, reduced attention span and decreased cognitive performance.

One way to combat the effects of sleep deprivation – and repay some sleep debt – is to incorporate daytime recovery into your...

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How Gratitude Journalling Improves Sleep

Journaling is a very powerful practice that some of the most successful people in the world do.

In this week’s blog I wanted to share a personal story of my discovery of gratitude, and in particular, the benefits that I’ve felt as a result of journaling around this concept.

Part of the reason that people have anxiety and trouble sleeping is a fixation on the things they haven’t done and what they don’t have.

For the intention of a pre-bedtime ritual, you could consider using your journal to capture stray thoughts and to get any random ideas or concerns out of your head and onto paper.

I have found that this practice alone helps to free up enough mental space to relax and wind down in the evenings, inevitably helping me to get to sleep easier.

If you’re reading this right now, chances are you far more fortunate than you realise, and you may have gotten out of touch with just how much you have to be grateful for.

Just the act of paying attention and...

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10 Tips For A Better Relationship With Caffeine

In my last blog post "Could Caffeine Be Your Sleep Thief", I discussed some of the problems that caffeine is causing for our sleep.

Here, I wish to outline my top 10 tips for developing a positive relationship with caffeine that will allow you to sleep better and still enjoy your coffee!

1. Set an unbreakable curfew – always enjoy your caffeine before noon (or earlier)

This means that your body will have time to remove the majority of it from your system before bedtime. The optimal curfew for most people will be 12 noon, however, if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine you might want to make your curfew earlier or even avoid it altogether.

2. Wait a few hours after waking up until you take your hit 

Circulating levels of the stress hormone cortisol are naturally highest in the morning upon waking. If you wake up feeling at-all stressed, there’s no need to add to this, so glide gently into your day and enjoy the benefits of mid-morning caffeine...

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Could Caffeine Be Your Sleep Thief?

Products containing caffeine are amongst the five most traded commodities on earth. 

It is the most widely used (and abused) psychoactive substance in the world and the only addictive substance that we readily give to children and teenagers. 

The reality is that we love caffeine, especially coffee.

There is little that can (or should) be done to change that, but with a little bit more awareness of your caffeine habits and some well-needed education on its potential side effects when over-consumed, we can be sure to enjoy our warm brew whilst still getting the best quality sleep possible.

Let’s start by busting some myths and identifying some home truths about caffeine. 

Home Truth #1: Caffeine does not ‘give you energy’

Caffeine hijacks the receptor sites of adenosine, a chemical which naturally accumulates in our brain over the course of the waking day that causes us to feel a natural pressure to go to sleep.

Caffeine blocks the ‘sleep...

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How The Type Of Food You Eat Impacts Your Sleep Quality

What’s for dinner?

I have already written about the importance of not eating too close to bedtime, and how our sleep quality increases if we consume our last meal of the day at least 2-3 hours from the time that we fall asleep. 

In this article, I’m going to focus on discussing the interactions between the content of your last meal and the effect that this has on your sleep. 

This all comes down to the inter-relationship between two important hormones; Insulin & Prolactin.

  • Insulin is a hormone which regulates the level of glucose in your blood (your blood sugar). Your body secretes insulin in response to the digestion of a meal, particularly those high in carbohydrates (glucose) which require the action of insulin to use or store the energy (sugar) obtained from these foods.
  • Prolactin has several functions, but here we are concerned with its ability to help the brain effectively undergo a process called autophagy (self-cleaning) whilst...
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How Food Timing Impacts Your Sleep Quality

For millions of years, our ancestors were only able to hunt and gather throughout the hours of daylight. This likely meant that they had very limited if any, access to food late at night. 

Researchers in the area of chronobiology (exploring how circadian processes affect health) have now discovered circadian clock genes that control the function of our digestion and metabolism.

The latest science suggests that our digestive enzymes and various other aspects of the digestion process function best during a specific time window of the day.

This ‘circadian eating window’ may span approximately 10-12 hours from the time at which you consume your first food or drink of the day (not including water). 

The circadian digestive process has implications for various areas of health including appetite regulation, nutrient absorption, weight management, sleep quality and the vulnerability for developing digestive disorders including reflux, ulcers,...

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What You Need To Know About Light To Sleep Better

This article may contain some of the most important information that you need in order to keep your sleep and overall health in check.

There is a great force at play in our lives that provides us and every organism on earth with energy, light and heat.

What am I talking about?

Walk outside, take your sunglasses off and look up – this miracle is the sun.

Seeing as we humans are essentially solar-powered creations, it’s time for a greater understanding of the role that the sun, and specifically the light that it provides, plays in a good night’s kip..

Lighting the Way

Light is known as our master ‘zeitgeber’ (this is a German word that translates as ‘time giver’).

Zeitgebers are environmental cues that control our body’s sleep & wake cycle (also known as our circadian rhythm).

While there are several environmental cues that impact our daily rhythms, light has by far the greatest influence on our sleep quality and quantity over...

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Identifying Our 21st Century Sleep Problem

health sleep May 05, 2020

Here’s a scary fact: Two-thirds of all adults born in developed nations achieve less than the recommended amount of sleep every night

This is sobering because even mild sleep deprivation has major repercussions for every aspect of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

In the long-term, there are well-established links between sleep deprivation and the risk of developing of more serious health problems such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, anxiety, depression and every form of psychiatric illness… 

…sorry, I'm starting to sound like a British newspaper.

Public health warnings about our sleep deprivation epidemic, although informative, are inherently bound to fear-based motivation that rarely results in us changing our behaviour.

Change is driven by curiosity, an intrinsic desire to investigate the things that we don’t understand but find interesting, exciting and novel.

We’ve heard enough...

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