How have you learned to manage your energy efficiently and make the most of your prime time? How do you make sure you avoid distractions and make the most of your creative genius? According to Mays: “my number one Healthy Mays energy balance tip is good quality sleep.”
The science bit
During sleep our bodies regenerate, our old red blood cells get destroyed and new red blood cells are produced, our neurones in our brain are optimised and new neurones are created, our bones build themselves up, our heart and blood vessels heal & repair so as you can see good quality sleep is so essential on so many levels.
Did you know that the quality of sleep between 10pm-12pm is worth 4 hours of later sleep?
And making sure you get that 8 hours of sleep a night is so important due to maximising the amount of time in REM sleep which plays a very important role in learning and memory function as well as improving mood and helping to reduce obesity by increasing our satiety hormone Leptin. You generally enter REM sleep after 90minutes of falling asleep and each REM stage can last up to an hour with the average adult needing 5-6 REM cycles each night so if you do the maths, that’s why 8 hours sleep is the optimum! How can you learn to sleep better, you ask?
Healthy Mays tips for optimum sleep:
- Avoid stimulating brain activities before sleep & reduce screen time 2 hours before sleep or use blue light-emitting glasses if screens cant be avoided
- Make sure the bedroom is dark and cool
- Avoid eating heavy meals 4 hours before sleep
- Minimise alcohol (known to reduce the amount of REM sleep)
- Avoid heavy exercise late at night as it boosts our cortisol levels which disturb sleep
How about caffeine?
Caffeine is actually a very strong drug if it would be invented now its use would be banned in athletics & an overdose in caffeine can be fatal & similar to a cocaine overdose! Also if you consume large quantities of it and then go cold turkey, you can get some serious withdrawal symptoms such as flu-like symptoms! So limiting it is quite important for our health and to manage our energy levels.
It also spikes our cortisol levels which will give us an initial instant hit but then when the cortisol levels come crashing down we often feel more tired than before and need to reach for another cup which especially if that is in the afternoon will end up affecting our sleep and hence reducing our energy levels further.
On the positive side, organic coffee is actually packed with antioxidants and green tea is full of super healing catechins antioxidants as well as L-theanine which is great for boosting mood & don’t get me started on raw cacao which I love but its also packed full of caffeine too so beware of the time you consume it!
Overall it’s ok to consume small amounts of caffeine as with everything balance is key, but the time of consumption is super important – It’s really important to limit all caffeine products beyond 11am. Caffeine has a very long half-life of 5-6 hours.
This means 5-6 hours after drinking a cup half of the caffeine content will still be in your bloodstream and that is if you can metabolise it properly, some people like me don’t metabolise it at all so the half-life is longer so it takes even longer to clear.
Therefore the later you drink it past 11am the more of it will still be in your bloodstream when you sleep and will reduce the amount of time you have in beneficial & essential REM sleep reducing the quality of sleep and affecting your energy levels.
The role of sugar
Sugar is another very addictive drug that can be super toxic causing lots of inflammation in the body in large doses. As well as that sugar causes a big spike in our insulin and blood glucose levels which can give us an energy hit, but like with caffeine that spike in glucose will quickly come crashing down. This leaves us more tired than we were before and affecting our energy levels negatively. So our sugar consumption should definitely be monitored and reduced to help keep manage our energy levels.
And finally reducing stress is key to maintaining our energy levels – stress also spikes our cortisol levels which affects our quality of sleep. So practising mindfulness e.g. a daily meditation practice, walking in nature and yoga are all key tips to help keep the mind relaxed and calm helping manage our energy levels and keep our creative juices flowing.
Another wonderful way to destress and boost energy levels is to escape from it all and attend one of my yoga, meditation & nutrition retreats, I have 3 coming up in London (Hackney), Kent & Ibiza. More info here: www.healthymays.com/retreats.
If you’d like more Healthy Mays nutrition, lifestyle or yoga tips get in touch to book in for a 1-1 consultation. I can offer 10% the first consultation for anyone who reads this article and gets in touch: www.healthymays.com.