13 02, 2016

4 Easy Ways to be a Healthier, More Energetic Mom

February 13th, 2016|Categories: Health|

A little while ago, I wrote an article about why it’s harder for tired moms to get in shape.  It all has to do with what happens to our hormone levels when we aren’t getting enough sleep. Our metabolism slows down when we’re tired, encouraging our body to store more calories, and we begin to crave sugary and fatty foods. On top of that, due to the biochemical changes that happen in the brain, we loose our ability to resist those cravings.

For a mom, this can seem a bit daunting knowing the odds are stacked against you. You want to get in shape, eat healthy to keep up with the demands of being a parent. But if your child is not sleeping well, you lack the energy to work out and the motivation to make healthy food choices.

You could spend a ton of money and time on the latest fad diet or membership to the gym, but given how tired you are, the thought of sticking to a strict set of rules, or exerting your body seems unfathomable.

But guess what? The solution to becoming a healthier , more energetic mom is actually much easier (and cheaper!) than this!

All you need to do is to get more sleep!

By doing so, not only do you help your child have a great start in life by being well-rested, but you are able to regain your energy, motivation, drive and determination to stay healthy. Your appetite hormones will begin to regulate themselves which help you to get back on track.

Sounds too good to be true?

It’s not!

Sleep is a wonderful thing! So let’s get you sleeping better and living healthier by starting with 4 easy steps.

How To Be A Healthier, More Energetic Mom

1. Create a Relaxing Routine
  • Once you have bathed, fed, sung to and put your child to sleep, have your own wind down ritual that may also include a hot bath, followed by some light reading.
  • Avoid using your phone or Ipad, watching TV 60-90 minutes before you want to be asleep. These electronic devices emit a blue-based light that interferes with our natural melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
  • Have the same relaxing pre-sleep routine each night for yourself which begins to cue your brain to kick start the sleep process.
 2. Have a Consistent Bedtime
  • While many young children need 11-12 hours of night sleep, adults need 7-9 hours at night. Count backwards from your natural wake up time and determine where your bedtime should be. If you naturally wake up at 6:00 am, place your bedtime between 9-11pm.
3. Sleep in a Soothing Environment
  • When we fall asleep, our core body temperature lowers. By keeping the room temperature comfortably cool, we help to mimic this process.
  • Dim the lights to help your brain release melatonin, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • In the initial process of sleep, the brain is still in a light state. If you are prone to being easily disturbed by external sounds, play white noise for yourself. This helps to blend varying sound frequencies together, rather than something suddenly jarring you awake.
  • Keep all electronics out of the bedroom, including TV and mobile devices so you’re not tempted to stay up late.
4. Get Solid Sleep
  • Studies tell us that disrupted night sleep is just as unhealthy as no sleep at all. The brain isn’t allowed to proceed through all the stages of a sleep cycle. This inhibits learning and memory, the flushing out of toxins, the restoring of muscles, bones, tissues as well as impeding the strengthening of your immune system to its maximum potential. Knowing this, it’s vital that we get as much deep, restorative sleep as possible so that we are healthy and the best parents possible for our kids.
  • Don’t eat heavy meals, drink alcohol or exercise right before bedtime as this can contribute to a disturbed night.
  • If your child is reason for your night wakings, then this may be an issue to address with proper sleep hygiene, routine restructuring and impendent sleep skills. (Too exhausted to know where to begin with helping your child? Then take advantage of Baby Sleep 101’s free Facebook Q and As each Wednesday night or sign up for your free copy of my sleep guide.)

Getting enough sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. When the above suggestions are implemented on a consistent basis, your body will thank you and begin to reward you will deep, relaxing and restorative sleep. In turn, your energy will return, giving you the motivation and perseverance to live a healthy life.

 

28 01, 2016

Getting in Shape; Why It’s Harder for Tired Moms

January 28th, 2016|Categories: Health, Nutrition|

Sound familiar?

You’re a mom who is exhausted. Even though your child isn’t a newborn anymore, they still wake up at night like one and it seems that only you can get them back to sleep. You wouldn’t mind it so much if there weren’t any repercussions. But lately you feel like you’re not parenting at your best.

You once had a ton of energy for your kids and you loved to exercise and eat healthy meals. You laughed, played, went outside with your baby.

But now, it seems like the vitality has been sucked out of you.

You want to get out to tot and parent classes, whip up fabulous family friendly meals and get back to running every day, but it’s just not happening. Instead it’s a revolving door of staying home during the day, getting up at night, convenience foods and take out.

Try as you might, you just can’t seem to get motivated to stick to a healthy routine.

Why is getting in shape harder when you’re tired? Here’s the science.

In short, you’re sleep deprived, leaving you tired and craving foods that are bad for you. The reasoning is due to how our appetite hormones; grehlin and leptin fluctuate when we’re tired.

Grehelin indicates hunger, signaling the need to eat, while leptin performs the opposite task. It signals to our brain that we are full or satisfied. It is also responsible for the body choosing to burn calories or storing them as fat to be used for energy later.

While asleep (adults need 7-9 hours each night), grehelin is decreased and leptin rises; telling the brain that our energy levels are good and we don’t need to burn calories.

However when sleep loss occurs, studies point to the opposite happening. Grehelin (remember it’s the hunger hormone) increases, leptin decreases, and we don’t feel satisfied.

Leptin also dictates when calories need to be burned and when more need to be stored. When we’re sleep deprived and leptin decreases, that tells the brain that the body doesn’t have enough calories, further motivating us to eat, while slowing our metabolism down in the process and storing more calories as fat.

Another reason why getting in shape is difficult when you’re tired, is the fact that sleep deprivation makes you prone to bad decisions. Your cognitive function in the frontal lobe is diminished where impulse control and decision making happens.

And as if all this information wasn’t bad enough, did you know that people who are short on sleep tend to seek “reward” foods such as those high in sugar and fat?This is because sleep deprivation causes changes in the reward seeking and addictive behavior section of the brain called the nucleus accumbens.

The more tired you are, the more “rewarding” foods you crave, while your ability to say no decreases.

What is tired mama to do?

Short answer is to get more sleep!

I know that can seem daunting with a child who is waking at night, so I will give you some easy steps in the next follow up article.

But for now, take heart knowing that there is a definite reason  for what is happening with your body and that there is hope!

If you are wanting some quick tips on how to start sleeping better, remember to join me on my Facebook page for the free, live Q and A events that happens weekly. If you want to know how to begin getting your child sleeping better so YOU can sleep better, download my free sleep guide.