How are you sleeping at the moment? Did you know that if you are sleeping less than 7-8 hours a night and experiencing disrupted sleep, this can impact the fat burning work your body does whilst you’re in the land of nod?
Melatonin, known as our sleep hormone is actually much more than just that. Aside from being a powerful anti-ageing antioxidant with cancer-protective properties, melatonin is deeply involved with our fat cells. Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland usually around bedtime and is at its highest between 1-4 am. It prepares the body for sleep and helps to keep us asleep.
Most of the day we are in fact in fat storage mode and it’s actually when we are asleep that we burn the most fat. As long as our melatonin levels are optimal and we remain in a healthy slumber, melatonin works under the influence of the immune system throughout the night. The fat inside our bodies is used up in hormonal and immune processes. The immune system works on breaking down toxins and waste inside the body for elimination and this is when fat stores are hacked into.
That’s why good quality sleep is so important not just for overall health and wellbeing but for your figure and fat loss goals! If you’re sleep isn’t optimal this puts stress on the body and the release of the stress hormone cortisol often leads to poor food choices. Stress that further impacts sleep. When clients come to me to slim down healthily, the most important things to focus on first are their stress levels and their sleep quality.
To ensure our melatonin levels are optimal, it’s essential to have a set routine for when and how often we eat and, when we sleep and exercise. There are plenty of ways we can improve our sleep quality and ensure our melatonin levels are optimal and even increase levels inside the body whatever our age:
– eat foods that contain tryptophan. This includes walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, oats, turkey, chicken and cottage cheese.
– Epsom salts bath before bed. The magnesium relaxes you and your body cools after the heat of your bath which promotes melatonin production
– make sure your bedroom is cool enough for melatonin production around 16-18 degrees, have a few sheet layers handy to adjust to body temperature changes at night
– sticking your hands/feet out of the bed covers also cools the core of the body
– ensure there is no artificial light seeping into your bedroom – the darker the better – black it out
– meditate – there is a lot of research proving meditation can increase melatonin production by 100-300%!! It won’t make you sleepy all day and it calms and relaxes you
– dim the lights 2 hours before bed and reduce screen usage at night
– avoid caffeine after midday – even if you sleep through it’s not the heavy quality sleep you need
– get exercise and sunlight during the day to regulate your circadian rhythm. When in rhythm your body produces melatonin when you need it
– sleep with a weighted blanket, these put pressure on the body’s sensory receptors, soothing the nervous system and regulating hormone production
– quit smoking – studies have shown smokers generally have lower levels of melatonin
– manage your stress. This is so important. If you’re struggling try hypnosis, EFT, PSYCH-K®, massage