Sleep is so important, especially for women in midlife. Quality sleep-- and 8 hours of it–affects your hormones positively and, believe it or not, helps reduce stubborn fat and fatigue.
First thing in the morning, hormones like cortisol are normally elevated and wane as the day goes on. Later in the day melatonin levels rise and start to prepare your body for sleep. This is the healthy process of your biological clock.
With enough quality sleep you will enjoy:
Increase in muscle mass.
Improved immune function
Ability to recover from exercise and injury.
Cognitive repair and memory
Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression.
If you are struggling with weight-loss, particularly fat loss, my first assignment is to improve your sleep. That will affect everything else you are trying to accomplish. It will help with your nutrition, exercise and stress reduction which all have an affect on your hormones and ultimately your muscle mass and fat storage. This in turn affects your overall physical and mental health and well being. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg. Our circadian rhythm affects our sleep and our sleep affects our circadian rhythm.
If you went to bed late last night, you may have woken up groggy this morning and then made a second pot of coffee this afternoon to help you get through the day. Now, it’s getting late but you’re on your computer and phone catching up on work that you couldn’t get done during your work day. Or you’re on Amazon doing Christmas shopping. When you turn in tonight, your body and mind are charged up and you have a hard time falling asleep and tomorrow, the cycle continues.
As a woman in menopause, it’s imperative to break this cycle. Here are science backed steps to take now to start getting more quality sleep.
Every morning when you wake up, start preparing your body for the next night’s sleep.
Maintain a regular bedtime. Get up and go to sleep at the same time every day. 10pm-6am is better than 12am-8am.
Get outdoors in sunlight for 15 minutes first thing in the morning. If it’s freezing cold and dark, stay indoors but sit facing an eastern window as soon as the sun starts to rise.
Get your tough workouts in as early in the day as possible. And at the same time of the day.
HIIT and heavy strength work is best done early in the morning. Walks, Pilates and yoga can be done later in the day.
Coffee-If you drink it, stick to 2 cups in the morning.
Exercise and or movement everyday.
As the evening approaches-
Finish eating 3 hours before bed. You don’t want your body to have to decide if it will digest or rest.
Turn off all screens 90 minutes before bed.
Take a hot bath, with epsom salts, is even better.
Take magnesium with your evening meal if necessary. Many Americans are deficient in it. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.
MELT, meditate, journal or read to calm your mind.
The MELT Rebalance sequence is a “go-to” for helping calm your nervous system.
Sleep in a cool (68 or lower) dark and quiet room.
Try to stick to the same routine until quality sleep comes easy. You can even journal how you feel and keep a journal to notice the positive changes you’re experiencing. We are all just science experiments walking around. If we assess our bodies, do “experiments” and notice the changes we feel we can learn so much and improve our own health. Sleep tight.