Detox Your Sleep

Government guidelines recommend adults have between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night but how many of us actually get that much shut eye? Daily stresses whether they be work, family or money related can have a huge impact on our bodies and minds and often leave us unable to sleep when we need it most.

How does lack of sleep effect your body?

The below, but not limited to, are some of the effects a lack of sleep has on the body.

  • Your Immunity – Do you constantly feel ill and fatigued and pick up every cold in the office? Sleep deprivation can kick your immunity out of sync leaving you susceptible to infections
  • Weight Gain – Your bodies stock of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full, diminishes with lack of sleep all the while your body increases its level of the hormone Ghrelin which stimulates hunger. Studies have shown that this is evident in people who have less that 7 hours sleep per night. So ladies and gentleman, in the run up to Summer make sure that sleep plays just as an important part to your health kick as your diet and fitness. What better reason for a weekend lie in?  *Refer to my previous post on how sleep can help you detox
  • Messes with your mood – Given that a single sleepless night can make you irritable and moody the following day, it’s not surprising that chronic sleep deprivation may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety
  • Can contribute to Type 2 Diabetes – Studies have suggested that people who usually sleep less than 5 hours a night have an increased risk of having or developing diabetes. – It seems that missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes by changing the way the body processes glucose – the high-energy carbohydrate that cells use for fuel
  • Decreases sex drive – Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in sex, research shows. No one wants this so make sure you get that extra shut eye!

(Source – NHS)

How to catch up on lost sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, there’s only one way to compensate – getting more sleep.

It won’t happen with a single early night. If you’ve had months of restricted sleep, you’ll have built up a significant sleep debt, so expect recovery to take several weeks.

Starting on a weekend, try to add on an extra hour or two of sleep a night. The way to do this is to go to bed when you’re tired, and allow your body to wake you in the morning (no alarm clocks allowed!).

Expect to sleep for upwards of 10 hours a night at first. After a while, the amount of time you sleep will gradually decrease to a normal level.

There are lots of way you can detox your sleep and re-set your body clock

Caffeine – Switch to decaf coffee or better still, naturally caffeine free herbal teas like Peppermint tea in the afternoons or try Neals Yard Organic Night Time Tea. Caffeine that is drunk after 3pm can still be active in your body by bedtime leaving you unable to switch off and relax.

Blue Light Devices – The light in devices such as a mobile phones or tablet can make our brain believe it is still day time. This can have the same effect as caffeine in not allowing your brain to switch off. Try to avoid using up to two hours before bed.

Social Media and News outlets – Ever check your Facebook feed or read the news at 9pm and still find yourself scrolling through at 11pm? I am so guilty of this but it is a habit I am trying to curb. As with blue light devices it is important to limit your activity with social media. It is important to go to sleep with a clear mind.

Jot It Down – Is your mind throwing to-do list items at you and the worry that you’ll forget them by the morning is keeping you up? Keep a notepad by your bed to jot them down – don’t use your phone!

Noise and Light – You will always get your best sleep in a dark and quiet environment. If you live by a noisy and busy road try using some foam earplugs to block out the noise. If you can’t invest in black out blinds then a sleep mask is your new best friend. Try adding some drops of lavender oil to it.

Cool Down – Make sure your room is not too hot. If you’re too warm you’ll be restless throughout the night. Open a window to let the fresh and cool air in and swap the duvet for a sheet in the Summer months.

Mediation / White Noise Apps – When I’m struggling to drift off I use a meditation app. My favourite is Beditiations. It has a number of meditations including one for Insomniacs and one to helping you quit smoking. The aSleep app is particularly good for sleep sounds like white noise and rain, which is my favourite – hate by day, love by night!

Essential Oils and Pillow Sprays – I have a bit of a love affair with lavender. I pour copious amounts in to my evening bath with some Epsom salts and rub a Weleda lavender Oil in to my neck and shoulders when I need some extra relaxation. Try Neals Yard Remedy Roll On to help relax you at night by rolling on your pulse points and behind your ears. I am obsessed with This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, I am convinced it helps send me off in to deep sleep. I bought some for my mum and even she is a convert! 

Why not give all of the above a try for seven nights and keep track of your progress in a journal? I would love to hear how you get on, please feel free to email or comment your experience or any extra tips you may have for a restful nights sleep.

Sweet dreams xx


Detox Your Liver

 

This isn’t a juice diet or any other type of fad, quick fix diet, it’s a detox of your whole body and liver. Your liver is responsible for processing toxins in the body, so you’ll want to keep it working at its best. Sometimes diet or lifestyle can creep up on us and if that happens, a liver cleanse becomes necessary. With a cleanse, you’ll certainly get rid of all that toxic buildup but there are lots of other perks including:

  • Weight Loss – Your liver produces bile which the digestive system use to break down fat. And since liver cleansing promotes bile production, detoxing your liver might be just the place to start if you want to lose weight.
  • Immune System Support – Since the liver reduces toxins, among other things, cleansing your liver could even give your immune system a boost.
  • Boosts Energy – Some of the harmless byproducts the liver makes are actually nutrients the body will use. Whether from liver stones or too much toxic build up, some of those nutrients simply won’t make it back into the bloodstream. When that happens, your energy levels will likely drop, so liver cleansing will make you feel better because not only will you have all of your nutrients but also all of your energy.

WATER

Water is possibly the most valuable tool for detoxifying your body. The body’s most basic functions require water. Your body needs water to produce saliva, help with perspiration, and remove waste. So, as water is so essential for detoxing you should ensure you are getting at LEAST your 8 glasses per day. Remember to take in to account that this amount differs from person to person and depends on your height and weight. You should also ensure you up your intake if you are exercising. Not all liquids count. Alcohol and coffee are both diuretics so they will dehydrate you as you drink them. If you are planning on drinking either of these then you should aim to drink a glass of water for each glass of wine or cup of coffee to counteract the effects. Soft and sport drinks should be avoided too as these are both packed full of sugar. If you don’t like the taste of water on its own then here are a few ways to make it more interesting…

  • Hot water with Lemon – This combination has many benefits. As well as being a source of Vitamin C, it helps to flush out toxins from the body and aids digestion so it is a perfect addition to your morning routine.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – ACV has been proven to help weight loss and lower cholesterol if taken every day. You can add a spoonful of this to your lemon and water to really supercharge your mornings.
  • Mint tea – This is great for digestion and should be a staple drink for anyone with digestion problems like IBS.
  • Green tea –It is packed full of antioxidants and nutrients, just search the internet and you’ll find a whole load of benefits from preventing Cancer to aiding fat loss. If you can’t stomach the taste, add a slice of lemon or look for a Green/Herbal tea infusion.
  • Herbal teas – There are many fruity herbal teas available that may not have the benefits of green tea but they will help you get the hydration you need to detox successfully.

FOOD

We are what we eat and so it is important to feed our bodies with food which are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants with little or no processing at all times but especially during a detox. Make sure your plate has a good quality protein and plenty of vegetables which are varied in colour and organic where possible. Each vegetable contains different nutrients so it is important to get a good variety. When buying pre-packaged food items, look at the ingredients first. If Sugar or salt are one of the first three ingredients listed, put it down!

SMOOTHIES

Smoothies are an excellent way to get massive amounts of superfoods into your system without feeling like you’re a rabbit. You can blend up a bunch of baby spinach or kale along with some fruits like strawberries or blueberries and have a great tasting and nutritious shake that doesn’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. Stick to 80% veg and 20% fruits and add some extra nutrition such as Matcha powder, Spirulina and Chia Seeds. Why not prepare one the night before, throw in some oats and have as a breakfast on the run – after your hot water and lemon of course 😉

EXERCISE

Exercise can kickstart the natural detox process as it flushes out the lungs, and cleanses the skin as we work up a sweat. It also increases blood flow promoting better circulation to pump white blood cells through the body and help organs cleanse themselves effectively. You’ll also improve your fitness and help weight loss if that is your goal. Exercise doesn’t have to cost a penny, if you can’t afford the gym then take off to your nearest park for a run and some fresh air.

BATH TIME

Who doesn’t love a long, hot soak in the bath, especially in winter! You can detox whilst you bathe too. Sea salts are a great addition to any bath. They’re great for relaxing your muscles and pulling out toxins from your skin. A favourite of mine is Dead Sea Magik Bath Salts. I add a few drops of Lavender Oil if my bath is before bedtime to really help me relax. For even better results, try using a dry skin brush. Brush your skin in circular motions from your feet working up to your stomach. It not only helps to slough off dead skin cells and reveal a new layer of skin but it also helps your body to release toxins.

SLEEP

Your body cleanses itself while you sleep, with the liver doing a lot of its dirty work in the early morning hours. Pulling an all nighter, or even staying up to watch late night TV will put you in a position to miss out on the deeper sleep cycles that occur before midnight. Be sure to get up early as well, because you don’t want to sleep through the hours when your body naturally wants to purge itself of waste. Letting your bowel movement fester, or holding back your urine until later in the morning can lead to it being reabsorbed by the body. More on the benefits of sleep in my next blog.

SUPPLEMENTS

As well as the above, it is always a good idea to back up your detox with supplements.

  • Multi-Vitamins – A good quality multi-vitamin will help with your detox by supporting your organs and digestive system. My favourite is Wellwoman Plus, also available for men.
  • Vitamin C – Ensure you get a good dose of Vitamin C daily to help your immune system stay at its best.
  • Probiotics – Support your digestive system with a probiotic. They will fill your gut with good bacteria which will in turn help with digestion and give your immune system a boost.
  • Milk Thistle – This helps to maintain liver health and to protect it from the effects of toxins such as alcohol, a polluted environment or workplace, and a host of liver related diseases.

You can adopt all of the above suggestions in to your daily routine and continue to feel the benefits all year around, not just after an overindulgence at Christmas.

As this is my first blog post I would love to hear your feedback. Either use the contact form or email me at becky@becky-griffiths.com

*All of the above items are readily available in most big supermarkets, health food shops or online.
Look out for my next blog, Detox Your Sleep.