Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Sleep better to lose fat?

Sleep is one of the most undervalued aspect of health. I have mentioned this umpteen times in my videos, posts (including my previous article on sleep and its significance on health).

The questions that I have been asked often is how do we improve the quality of sleep? How to fall asleep fast, stay asleep and wake up fresh?

Following a peaceful bedtime routine or rituals for sleep hygiene will help you getting there.

  1. Have a happy and peaceful day.
    Happy hormone – Serotonin is converted in to sleep hormone Melatonin at night. A happy , peaceful and active day is a pre-requisite for sound sleep.
  2. Have 20 min of Sun exposure in the morning or by noon
    Bright light from the Sun in morning or early noon will set our circadian/body clock. This will help us fall asleep naturally post sunset.
  3. Eat right.
    Remember the happy hormone Serotonin? 80% of that hormone is produced in our intestine. Hence eating right food at the right time will not only make us fit, but also help us sleep better.
  4. Workout at least 5 hours before bedtime.
    The core temperature and energy of our body will be high for 5 hours post workout. If the bedtime is within that time, we will struggle to fall asleep. Workout in the morning or early evening to get the sleep benefits of exercise.
  5. Have a nourishing light dinner
    Heavy party food, Friday night dinners etc are taxing for not only our intestines, but also our sleep. Post sunset, the body is ready to wind down and the metabolism slows down. Light nourishing dinner can be a combination of a grain with a lentil (rice and moong is the best) with some vegetables (not raw). Sambar rice, kanji payaru , roti dal sabji, khichdi, etc are some of the delicious, nourishing and light dinners.
  6. Use a home-made sleep aid if needed.

    Have a glass of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg powder, turmeric powder, sugar with some crushed cashews 60 min before bed.

    This is not needed on a regular basis, but is highly recommended after a tiring day of travel, if you are jet lagged or if you had a long stressful day . This is the most delicious and safest sleep aid. Cashews (most nuts) contain an amino acid called tryptophan which is needed to convert serotonin to melatonin. Nutmeg is also a mild sedative.

  7. Stay away from gadgets 60-30 minutes before bed.
    Some sleep experts also advocate staying away from gadgets 2 hours before bed. Artificial lights known as ‘blue light’ include light from lamps, devices like TV, Laptop, mobiles and other gadgets. The sleep hormone melatonin is produced only during darkness. Exposing ourselves to such gadgets and devices closer to bedtime will block the secretion of this hormone.
  8. Goto bed at the same time every day (including weekends)
    Nature and our body does not know the difference between weekends and weekdays. It works the same every day. Practicing sleep hygiene from Sunday to Thursday and derailing it on Friday and Saturday with night out or a late-night movie will only confuse and upset the biological clock. On weekends, go to bed within 90 minutes of normal weekday bedtime.
  9. Make bedroom a gadget free zone
    Bedroom is meant for two things – to unwind and sleep, and to make love.
    Laptop, TV, mobile phones and the numerous other gadgets should not enter bedroom. If you need an alarm, use an alarm clock (like how humans lived 20 years ago i.e. before mobile phones invaded us). An even better idea is to not use an alarm and wake up to natural light.
    If its winter where you live and day doesn’t break early, use a light alarm clock which will emit light to wake you up and not the irritating beep sound of the normal alarm clock.
  10. Practice positive affirmations before bed.
    Note down the top 3 or 5 positive things that happened during the day. This will help us have a more positive outlook towards life and secrete more happy hormones. This will also improve hormonal balance, conditions like Hypothyroid, PCOS , PMS and our brain chemistry.IMG-20190212-WA0009.jpeg
  11. Light up tea light candle in an essential oil diffuser with lavender+ rosemary essential oil
    Lavender and rosemary oil are excellent for calming. Use that in a tea light essential oil diffuser or mix a few drop of these in an oil wick lamp .
  12. Deep breathe and massage feet when on bed
    Massage the sole and toes of the feet with coconut oil( summer) or sesame oil(fall, winter). Even the thought of massaging the feet after a long day , feels so soothing. Mixing lavender or rosemary oil in the massage oil will help in relaxing . Deep breathe and you will not know when you fell asleep.Do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Let us know in comments.

Are you connected with us via Facebook? Here is our Facebook page where we post daily updates on health and fitness. 

Interested in losing fat and balancing  hormones sustainably? Check out our programs

 

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Reset Hormones In Just a Weekend?

Yes, it is totally possible to make or break your hormone balance over a weekend.

Hormones are chemical messengers that will tell your body and its organs to function in a specific way. When hormones go out of balance, we end up with issues like hypothyroidism, obesity,  PCOS, insomnia, Diabetes , endometriosis, low sperm count, fibroid. While treating these issues, doctors focus on the specific hormone that is causing the issue.  They do not treat the core issue of hormonal imbalance in the body. No hormone can carry out its function optimally without interacting with or influencing other  hormones .

What majority of people focus on are the major hormones namely:

  • Thyroid
  • Insulin
  • Estrogen(women) or Testoserone(men)
  • Progesterone

Some of the other hormones that often get neglected but are responsible for keeping us happy, calm, and energetic are

  • Serotonin – Happy hormone that stabilizes mood
  • Dopamine – Pleasure hormone responsible for motivation and focus
  • GABA – induces calm, sleep , reduces anxiety and fear .
  • Cortisol –stress hormone and affects insulin sensitivity and sleep
  • Melatonin –hormone responsible for sound sleep
  • Growth hormone – GH Improves muscles mass and heart health
  • DHEA – Fights fat accumulation and essential to produce sex hormones

 

Overlooking these lesser known hormones are also the reason for us becoming moody, having mood swings and low energy levels, suffering from depression , being unable to sleep well, and having high levels of stress.  These issues will not get better with medication for hormonal imbalances.

What does a weekend mean for many?

We have created a norm of struggling and stressing ourselves through the week and pushing ourselves just to relax over the weekend.

What most of us aim to do over the weekend is enjoy, relax, rejuvenate/energize ourselves for the week ahead. Many people do this by sleeping late, watching movies or television series late at night, binge eating, drinking alcoholic drinks, waking up late, eating out or ordering food from outside.

While we believe that doing all or some of the things listed above is what is bliss and relaxation, what we are actually doing is disrupting our  circadian /biological clock and thus the hormonal balance in our body.

Doing any of these, could also increase inflammation, toxins,  stress hormones, insulin resistance and interfere with the production of serotonin, melatonin, thyroid, DHEA, GABA and dopamine Progesterone in women and testosterone is men.

None 'GETS' time to workout. Those who do , 'MAKE' time to workout. (1).png

How can we make a weekend work towards our hormonal harmony?

Do what you really want the weekend to do to you – Relax, rejuvenate and energize.

Relax – By listening to your favourite music, by meditating, by having a full body massage and deep conditioning hair and skin  with herbal oil or any oil + essential oil of your choice. (Remember the weekly ceremonial oil bath that we used to have a few decades ago?) This will increase your serotonin, melatonin, GABA , reduce cortisol and ofcourse improve your skin and hair.

Rejuvenate – By sleeping on time, waking up by sunrise and getting a morning workout, be it a beach run or a hike will set your circadian clock. This will increase your dopamine, serotonin , insulin sensitivity and also help you detox.

Energize – Nourish your body and soul , with home-made food and family. Cook and eat as a family,  meet and spend time with real people (in person not via Whatsapp or Messenger)

Doing these will also help us in calming down and  improving energy levels, sleep , productivity , fat burn and metabolism.

Spending weekends like this often will make you enjoy life, and also weekdays , so you don’t have Monday morning blues

Are you connected with us via Facebook? Here is our Facebook page where we post daily updates on health and fitness. 

Interested in losing fat and balancing  hormones sustainably? Check out our programs

How do you spend your weekends? Let us know in comments

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How do gadgets affect your child’s health?

Is too much screen time affecting your kid’s health and kitchen?

In the recent times, the term ‘screen time’ has become popular among parents. It is defined as the time spent in front of a screen such as television, tablets, phone and other electronic gadgets.

With the rates of childhood obesity, juvenile hypertension and other childhood diseases reaching a high, parents of this generation need to ask themselves the question, ‘What is the reason behind these?’

There are three critical factors that shape a child’s health

  1. Nutrition
  2. Activity levels
  3. Sleep

 

How could something as simple as watching Television, tablets and phone interfere with these critical factors mentioned above?

 

Nutrition

Nutrition not only implies eating healthy food, but also eating it in the right proportion. Children are intuitive eaters, meaning they tend to be more in touch with their body and hunger cues compared to adults. However, they lose this ability, to know how much should they eat when they are distracted with devices or when their plate is filled with processed food.

There was a time when parents or grandparents used to carry the child and tell them stories and play with them while feeding them. Today’s harsh reality is that we see parents feeding their children while the latter are watching television/tablet/phone. In order to ensure their children eat faster and with minimum fuss, parents allow them to watch cartoons or play games on television and hand-held devices. As children don’t realise what and how much they eat, they are more likely to have digestive and metabolic problems by their early teens.

With food industry and media targeting parents and children with their well-planned advertising campaigns, consuming food marketed by them as healthy is very common. Further, with celebrities endorsing such products it makes the children happy and proud to consume these. It doesn’t take much effort to fill children’s lunch/snack box with the latest products launched in the market as it’s easy and less time-consuming. While we fill our kitchen shelves, with products of Standard American Diet (SAD) we should ask ourselves the question: Is there anything unhealthy/bad about these?

Most of these products contain hydrogenated fat (they type that clogs the arteries), artificial flavours and colours, thickening agents and preservatives. These are known carcinogens and harmful to the body’s metabolism and are linked to issues such as ADHD, Autism, and depression.  Apart from these, they also contain other toxic chemicals, MSG(mono sodium glutamate) and high amounts of sugar & salt, to increase the shelf life and it’s taste.

Dr. David Kessler in his book, ‘The end of overeating’ says that consuming foods with high amounts of sugar and salt causes a change in the taste buds and brain’s chemistry. Subsequently, naturally sweet /normal home food will not please the tongue. This explains why children who are exposed to such junk food want to snack only on those , and never try real fruits, vegetables or fresh homemade food.

Pro Tip – In order to ensure your children eat right, be the change and the role model. When parents start eating healthy and fresh food, it will inspire and motivate the younger ones to try those. Involve the younger ones in grocery shopping , cooking and avoid bribing them with gadgets or food.

Activity Levels

It is recommended that children up to the age of 21 should have physical activity of 60-90 minutes per day. With the ever-increasing pressure and study load from our education system, children don’t get enough time to play outside. Moreover, with whatever little time is left for play, children are getting addicted to gadgets and sit on the playground playing video games, watching videos or using social networking sites. As their device usage increases, their activity, social interaction, and attention span reduces considerably.

pablo (83).png

Little do we realise the effect of devices on their brain and behaviour. Several studies have already pointed out that there is a delay in cognitive development in children who are exposed to too much electronic media. Additionally, since their skull is not as hard as that of adults, the radiations from mobile/tablet/gadgets can easily penetrate their skull and cause damages in their brain.

Pro Tip – Give them your attention and not a gadget. Let children play real games and not video games. This will not only improve their fitness, immunity, attention span and social skills, but will also ensure their brain develops faster.

Sleep

Both the issues detailed above creates a third issue. The chemicals and sugar in the junk food keeps the brain excited and lack of physical activity compounds it by not making the body tired enough to sleep. As a result, children don’t sleep on time, which disrupts their sleep cycle. Parents again give children gadgets or turn on television to calm them down or make them sleep. Though this sounds like a great idea, it only does the opposite.

The light emitted by these devices are largely from blue light spectrum which is outside human visibility spectrum. The blue light doesn’t let pineal gland secrete the sleep hormone – melatonin and interferes with the circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. Good quality sleep is a non-negotiable factor for immunity, physical and cognitive growth in children.

Pro Tip – Create a healthy sleep routine and stick to it. Avoid gadgets an hour before bed time and remove the television from the bedroom. Use this time to connect with family. Either coach your child to sleep by themselves or sing lullabies & read stories to them to make them sleep.

As parents earn more, and spend less time with the children, they compensate it with things like processed food, gadgets, and other indoor game consoles. Though these things keep children engaged, we often forget their real need and negative effect of these conveniences.

Word of advice

  • The family that cooks and eats together, stays together.
  • Educate your child on better food choices so they don’t get swayed by advertisements.
  • Real games and physical activity for about 60-90 minutes a day.
  • Give them your time, love and attention, not gadgets
  • No gadgets an hour before bed.

One of the best ways to show care and love to your children is to make fresh homemade food and spend quality time with them. This will improve their immunity, metabolism and mental health which will equip them to be fit and sound for a whole life.

 

This article was originally written for  the online magazine ‘Complete wellbeing’.

If you liked  this post , share it with your friends too.

Interested in sustainable weight loss through lifestyle changes and not crash diets? Check out our programs.