Part 3 – Sleep & Diet

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PART 3 – Using Sleep to hack diet

 

Our body has many intricate and fascinating communication systems, one of which is based on chemical messengers called Hormones.

We have  2 main hunger hormones that remind me of gremlins they are called :

 

Leptin, which is released to tell us we are full:

‘Ok chaps,  all good down here, no more food needed’

and

 Ghrelin which tells us we are running on empty:

‘Ok guys we are running on low, in need of food- send some down now’.

These hormones work together to try to keep our intake of food at the levels required for survival.

Sleep And Hormones

It has been shown that in healthy adults 4 to 5 hours sleep reduces Leptin and increases Ghrelin.  This means that our ability to know when we have eaten enough is impaired and we feel more hunger and get more signals telling us to eat.

 

Sleep And Risk Of Weight Gain

Sleep loss has been shown to result in an average 200-300 more calories eaten every day.   This equals to a 10-15lb increase in fat mass in one year- just from sleep deprivation.

 

Sleep And Choices Of Food

Studies have shown that lack of sleep may inhibit our ability to make better food choices and we have a strong tendency to choose a diet of processed carbohydrates and refined sugars such as white bread, pasta, cookies and ice cream.

 

The Less You Sleep, The More You Eat

Less than 7 hours of sleep affects your body’s ability to process sugar, so not only do we eat more of the wrong foods, we are less able to handle the extra sugar we tend to crave.

Chronic sleep deprivation of fewer than 6 hours is now recognised as a contributing factor to Type  2 Diabetes.

 

WHERE’S THE GOOD NEWS?

Giving yourself a prescription of 7 -9 hours of sleep every day will help you:

  • Control bodyweight and reduce weight gain
  • Have a better ability to process sugar
  • Reduce the risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes
  • Lose fat mass rather than muscle mass and help you become leaner
  • Calm your nervous system; less stress and therefore less need for fuel and sugar.

 

In Part 4  –  SO How DO we sleep better?

 

 

 


“Study first to show that low-carb diets can improve arterial blood flow in as little as four weeks”

FINDINGS:

In this study, a group of men and women were put on low-carbohydrate diets and important health parameters monitored.  After  4 weeks, researchers found that the men lost more WEIGHT and the women showed more ARTERIAL FLEXIBILITY.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN:

1 out of 3 adults in America and 7 million in the UK  live with higher than normal blood sugar levels,  a condition known as ‘pre-diabetes’.  Pre-diabetic women run an increased risk of heart disease.

Heart disease is reported as the primary cause of death in both the U.S. and UK.

This study gives us hope and shows that we can have a direct influence on this life-threatening risk and reduce the chances of developing heart disease by choosing a  carbohydrate-restricted diet.

Although the specific mechanisms are unknown at this stage,  this study has shown a link between food choice and better artery health and in the long run better heart health.

Possible first step:   Cutting out or at least reducing intake of highly refined carbs would be a significant step towards achieving better artery and heart health and longevity!

Click here to see my post on adding leafy greens to your diet.

FUTURE POST:

” Are all carbs bad for you?”

 

JOURNAL SOURCE:

Syed-Abdul, M.  et al. (2018) “Effect of carbohydrate restriction-induced weight loss on aortic pulse wave velocity in overweight men and women” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.  DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2018-0113


PART 2 – Using Sleep to hack performance

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Using Sleep to improve  Skill Performance

It has been shown in many studies that  7-9 hours of sleep can enhance a skill by up to 20%.

Key point–  If learning a new motor skill, like learning a new piece on the piano or learning to  play baseball,  7-9  hours of sleep after practising the skill may give you  a significant 20% improvement in the same skill performed again the next day.

boy in red and white baseball jersey tilt shift lens photography

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Using Visualisation before Sleep

Numerous studies have shown that just visualising a skill can be as effective as actually practising the  skill.  Both are equally efficacious in rewiring the brain and even better when both are carried out one after the other as seen below.

 

3  Key steps to Hacking your Performance

  1. PRACTICE: Spend the time needed daily to repeat and perform the skill. This allows your body to gain  a certain ‘muscle memory’ or ‘learned motion’ of a new movement you have not previously been used to.

Read More


Sleep – The shocking science 4 part series

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This week I would like to share Professor Walker’s findings on Sleep having listened to this incredible man and read his new book:

Why we sleep?

by

Matthew Walker PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and Founder and Director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science.

PART 1The scary statistics

PART 2Using Sleep to hack performance

PART 3Sleep and Diet

PART 4How can we Sleep better? What the research shows.

We are fascinating creatures with such complex internal systems with one goal in mind- to keep ourselves alive.
The more I study and read, the more I realise how little we know about our amazing bodies.

It’s taken nature 3.6 million years to develop and fine-tune this 8-hour sleep state. Why is it so important?

From an evolutionary point of view during sleep we couldn’t:

  • Care for our young
  • Search for food
  • Defend ourselves from predators
  • Find a suitable mate

So why is sleep such a big deal?

Since our two boys were born I had become convinced that I could survive on 4 hours sleep and still function at 150%.

After listening to Matthew Walker and reading about his findings from 20 years of sleep research, my whole routine and habits have gone out of the window. This shocked me to the core.

PART 1 – The Scary Statistics

Many studies have now categorically shown over a period of time that :

The shorter you sleep, the Shorter your life.

In the awake state, our body is producing waste and our normal daily activities result in minor brain damage which the body is designed to repair and heal and clean out overnight.

Findings show that the percentage of people that can survive on less than 7 hours sleep with no residual brain damage is equal to 0% of the world’s population.

Perhaps the most significant part of this is that the more sleep deprived you are, the more you feel you can cope. This is because a lack of sleep shuts down areas of the brain involved in logical thinking and increases emotional centres of the brain resulting in poor decision making and elevated emotional responses.

Daylight saving changes have given us stunning statistics :

Losing 1 hour of sleep has been correlated with a 24% increase in heart attacks.

Gaining 1 hour of sleep has been linked to a reduction in heart attacks by 21%.

Sleep and immune function

Natural Killer cells similar to secret service assassins actively search and destroy the bad guys, in our case all cancer cell activity. During the day we all produce cancerous cells. At night we have been gifted with NK cells that clean them up and reset us ready for another day.

4 hours of sleep has now shown to reduce the activity of these cancer-killing NK cells by 70%.

Sleep and risk of life-limiting diseases

Sleep has now been shown to be the MOST significant factor in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, cancers of the breast, prostate and bowel.

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan both reported to survive on 4 to 5 hours sleep were sadly both diagnosed with Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Deep Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep has been shown to clean toxins from our brain and reduce sticky proteins called:

‘Beta Amyloid’

which has been shown to increase in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

Sleep and shift work

Due to the poor sleep patterns involved the World Health Organisation has classified shift work as a Class 2A carcinogen – a possible cause of cancer.

Sleep and driving

Every 30 seconds there is reported to be an accident from drowsy driving more than accidents reported from drink and drugs.

Why?

Read More


Can adding leafy greens to our diet affect how fast we age?

Findings :

A recent study has suggested that eating 1-2 portions of green vegetables daily may have an effect on our cognitive decline.

The study found those who ate a higher proportion of green vegetables showed better brain function over 5 years with better memory and fewer signs of dementia.

What does this mean for us:

Through our daily food choices we may be able to have an influence on our ageing process. By actively trying to find a way to add greens to every meal we may be able to slow down how fast our brains are ageing, preserve memory for longer and reduce the risk of dementia.

Take away:

If we aim to incorporate greens into every meal, we can then easily manage 2 portions a day at least.

1 portion = 1/2 cup of cooked greens or 1 cup of fresh.

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Ideas :

BREAKFAST

  • Try adding lightly steamed or wilted baby spinach to your morning smoothie or your breakfast eggs.

LUNCH

  • A leafy green salad with your choice of protein (beans, hummus, egg, fish, chicken) and good fat (extra virgin olive oil, seeds, nuts, avocados).
  • Add dark leafy greens like watercress or rocket to your sandwich, roll or wrap.

DINNER

  • Add a cup of chopped broccoli to your main dish which could be a stir-fry, curry or pasta sauce.
  • Use frozen spinach if it’s easier and its certainly better than no greens at all.
  • Consider a cup of dark salad greens such as watercress or rocket with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as a regular side to your meals.
  • Or lightly steamed broccoli as a side dish drizzled with olive oil.
  • Use dark lettuce leaves as wraps and instead of burger buns.

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Please note:

High nutrient greens such as kale and spinach can cause an unfavourable reaction in some people.

This is due to compounds called ‘Oxalates’ which can bind to calcium to the blood and cause muscle weakness and stomach pain.

Lightly steaming spinach, broccoli and kale reduces this effect.

Journal sources :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29263222

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15852398

Do share any great ideas you may have to help us get more greens into our daily diet.


Kintsugi: Finding beauty in Imperfection

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by highlighting the cracks with gold dust lacquer to create an even more beautiful work of art with the philosophy :

‘Nothing is ever truly broken’

What is so powerful for me is the Japanese philosophy behind this of ‘Wabi-Sabi’ which is to embrace change and the marks that life leaves on us.

Not to shy away from our cracks and scars but to

Cherish our flaws

Celebrate our differences and imperfections for it is in these breaks that we grow stronger.


Leveraging sleep

A lot has been written about the power of the subconscious mind going to work while we are sleeping and how we often don’t fully use this power to our benefit.
short coated brown puppy sleeping beside grey dc skate shoe

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Ray Kurzeweil, coined the ‘Restless Genius’   by The Wall Street Journal,  Director of engineering at Google, legendary futurist and inventor shares how he gets inspiration for his brilliant ideas.

 

I’m going to try this out and I invite you to join me to do the same before you fall asleep tonight:
STEP 1.  Assign your mind a problem/ an issue that’s been bothering you or something you would like guidance or clarity on
Example:  I’m worried about my job interview, I get so nervous and I’m worried I may say the wrong things
STEP 2. Think about what you would like to achieve/What would be your best outcome to this problem?
Example:  I’d like to find a way to be more myself,  try and relax a little.  I’d like them to see me for who I am and not just a bundle of nerves.
Then:
●●SLEEP●●
STEP 3.  Journal your creative thoughts on waking
Keep a diary/ notepad/ journal by your bed with a pen and within 5 minutes of waking make a note of any creative thoughts and dreams you had.
SLEEP CONSCIOUSNESS
Freud often spoke about sleep conscious being absent of judgement,  boundaries and limitations.
It’s where we are free and relaxed enough to find solutions that our conscious rational mind would normally reject as impossible or unachievable.
I love this concept of a place where we can escape our conditioning and be our true selves with no limitations.
It is often our innate self-talk of not feeling we are good enough that stops us from achieving our full potential. Anything that helps us rise above this has got to be worth a try.
Mendeleyev was thought to have come up with the idea of the periodic table through a similar process of dream-inspired insight which solved many problems that his waking brain could not fathom.
What do you say?
Give it a go and let me know what happens.
Thank you for reading,  I aim to bring value to you through sharing new information, knowledge and my experiences.
 
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if you would like to help me spread the word and  make a difference.

Press Pause: Just 3 steps to calm

 

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STEP ONE:  PRESS PAUSE & FEEL

This is the most underrated step but in my opinion- The hardest.

Here’s the situation:

You are late for work, you didn’t sleep very well,  you spill coffee down your suit in a rush, your boys are fighting over football stickers and to top that off your puppy runs around the kitchen with wet muddy paws.

It is in this moment that your nervous system is mounting a response, most likely from your fight or flight sympathetic system sending a cocktail of stress hormones designed to raise your blood pressure to help you attack or run away.

It is in THIS moment that you have a choice.  This is the juiciest part when you realise there is actually a gap, a moment…an opportunity.

Just feel the rush of the emotions going on in your body. We so often run away or don’t want to feel our emotions, they then get pushed down only to resurface later, this time stronger and now demanding your attention.

I challenge you, as I do myself in these moments, to PRESS PAUSE and just FEEL what comes up in that moment…is it anger, pain, resentment?

 

You then have a choice to either :

REACT  OR   REFLECT  Which will you choose?

 

If you can get past this step and pause even for 20 seconds you are winning.  You are overcoming the inbuilt programming that we all have.

Every time you do this you will be able to pause a little more and even maybe move to STEP 2.

 

STEP 2: LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO OFFER YOURSELF WORDS OF SUPPORT

Instead of saying or thinking to yourself:

‘Why me?

‘I should have been quicker, better, more organised, should have woken up earlier…’

You start blaming yourself and everything around you,

Think :

‘I have great coping skills, I can do this’

According to the fabulous  Marisa Peer, the quality of our self-talk is very important in building our inner self-worth and self-esteem.

 

Positive self talk  calms your nervous system and tells your brain that things can relax again… it’s ok,   you really DO have this.

Your brain can then go from SURVIVAL PANIC mode

to the calmer LOGICAL I-GOT-THIS mode.

 

STEP 3: LEVERAGE

Ok if you have got this far, you are pretty amazing.  It took me some time and many bad days to get this far.

So you’ve PAUSED, offered yourself some words of support. Now what?

LEVERAGEVictor Frankl in his very moving book ‘Man’s search for meaning’ wrote about his experiences in an Auschwitz concentration camp.  He speaks of how we have a choice, even in the worst situations imaginable on earth, those men and women that chose a positive outlook and reframed their situation were able to live and survive extreme hardship.

 

Leverage is reframing a bad situation into one that can offer us an opportunity for growth.

I am now using this with our boys and looked at what I say to them.

Instead of: ‘That will teach you a lesson or serves you right’

I now pause and say: ‘Well this is an opportunity for growth’.

They are fed up of hearing it but I have read that through repetition, the things we say as parents have been shown to affect the future self-esteem of our child.  Subconsciously, our dialogue, be it positive or negative, will become our child’s inner self-talk.  This is a huge opportunity to make an empowering difference to our future generations.

 

 We are now reframing ‘you are bad and deserve to be taught a lesson’

to

‘Mistakes happen, that’s ok, it is an opportunity for us to grow’.

 

I failed many times and I still do, but I feel I am moving forward as  I can pause for longer and react less and reflect more.

 

 

Thank you for reading,  I aim to bring value to you through sharing new information, knowledge and my experiences.
 
SHARE, COMMENT  and  LIKE
 
if you would like to help me spread the word and  make a difference.

 

Even if all you can manage is to press that PAUSE button you are almost there.

 

Good Luck and Keep Going.

It takes a lot of work and time but I know you and I can do this.


Are you having a bad day? I have one word for you : Leverage

man old depressed headache

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Robin Sharma, a leader in personal mastery, eloquently speaks of Leverage and in one word has transformed my attitude to bad days.       

Leverage,  defined as  ‘To use for maximum advantage”   has enabled me to now reframe a bad or unfavourable situation from:

 

Why ME ?

to

What can I learn from this ?

 

And now this isn’t easy and it takes a great deal of work but I can tell you that its work that’s worth doing.  I have constructed a 3 step plan for myself every time something bad happens.

So what changed? Well I started writing these steps on the back of my hand to remind me and well to live life means to experience the bad with the good so the ‘bad’ was still there I just didn’t see it as ‘bad’ but an opportunity.

 

 ‘Having a Bad day? Try my 3 step plan’

 

Have a read and do take a moment to comment, let me know what you think.  I’m trying to patiently reinforce it with our boys  and there is the challenge right there…

 

To ask an 11 year old to PAUSE and REFLECT and LEVERAGE  before he clobbers his 7 year old brother for destroying his art work… ok work in progress.  I’ll keep trying.

 

Thank you for reading,  I aim to bring value to you through sharing new information, knowledge and my experiences.
 
SHARE, COMMENT  and  LIKE
 
if you would like to help me spread the word and  make a difference.

 

 

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Me.

Blessed to be married to Pinda and the mother of two crazy, gorgeous boys and Muffy -the fluffiest & funniest puppy I have ever met.

DEDICATED TO: My two beautiful sons, Rohan & Rishaan.

I wish you both a life full of happy, healthy and fulfilling experiences to share with your future families and friends.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Mary Oliver

MY DRIVE:

Continual growth and expansion through knowledge and life experiences.

MY PURPOSE & INSPIRATION:

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My grandmother is my inspiration to heal and to help.

She had an incredible depth of knowledge and intuition.

I have a thirst for knowledge and I want to be able to share the amazing things I’m learning every day about our world, our bodies and our minds.

MY AIM:

To leave my life experiences and findings behind to empower and inspire those around me to keep growing and loving this life that we share.

MY CHALLENGE:

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

― Albert Einstein

To seek. To share. To empower.

I aim to bring value to you by sharing new information, knowledge and my experiences.

Thank you for reading,
SHARE, COMMENT and LIKE
if you would like to help me spread the word and make a difference.
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Thank you for joining me.