When you hear the term Nutritional Therapist what immediately goes through your mind?
Is it something like this, ‘’Oh no, I hope she doesn’t ask me about my weight or what I had for breakfast. If she asks, I better not tell her what I really had, she won’t approve, and I’ll be embarrassed. I better say I had a plate of spinach and broccoli with a hardboiled egg and a gluten free cracker’’.
Some people just blurt out how they need to lose 3 stone and explain why they haven’t yet got around to starting ‘that diet’ yet – or something along those lines. Another lady I know said she was extremely conscious about what was in her shopping trolley when we bumped into each other in the supermarket.
Here’s the thing...... not all nutritional therapists are that virtuous. Yes, I admit there are quite a few who are, but that’s not me. Before I started studying nutrition, I ate just about anything. These days I am a little more discerning but by no means obsessive about it....
Sleep part II touched upon the link between the lack of sleep and increased risk of disease. In this third part I wanted to discuss how changes in diet and lifestyle may help you achieve a better night’s sleep.
Some common factors affecting sleep quality
Energy drinks/ coffee/ tea/ dark chocolate (aka: caffeine)
High sugar diet/poor blood glucose control
Irregular meal timings/over eating
Artificial light exposure after sunset
Shift work/jet lag
Late night use of – computer, tablets, TV, mobile phones
Mental and physical stress – sympathetic dominance (fight or flight)
Having a good sleep hygiene routine may make a huge difference to obtaining a decent night’s sleep. What exactly does that mean? Basically, the things you do or don’t do to prepare to get you into sleep mode.
Temperature in the room you sleep should not be too hot or too cold, the darker and quieter the better and of course your bed should be c...
The efficiency of the body’s physiological processes during activity are directly affected by nutrition. For effective training and performance, the body requires macronutrients in the form of carbohydrates, protein and fat and equally important is the intake of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, found in vegetables and fruit).
Logically, as physical activity increases, energy requirement increases and it is important for individuals to be aware of what types of food, the timing of meals and how hydration works best for them within their fitness program.
Whether training for a marathon or enjoying a walk around the park, the body requires energy to do it. Our mitochondria are the places where our cells produce the energy for the body from the nutrients in the food we eat. Each of our cells has several hundred to over two thousand mitochondria inside of them, depending on their need for energy.
The brain, as well as the body, requires adequate rest to function well: achieving both NREM and REM is paramount.
After 16 hours of being awake the brain loses focus and cognitive performance is impacted. Long term mild sleep restriction impairs performance as much as going without sleep for 24 hours.
When it comes to learning, sleeping well before a learning activity increases the ability to make new memories and also sleeping well the night after learning allows the brain to better consolidate the memories. So, staying up all night to cram for an exam generally doesn’t benefit. Similarly, learning new skills such as sports or playing a musical instrument are enhanced by practice and sleep (1). Research on sleep and sport indicate that less than 8 hours sleep a night reduces performance and increases risk of injury (2) .
Poor sleep stimulates the production of adrenalin leading to the stimulation of inflammatory processes. Consistently achieving less than 6 hours sleep a...
We all need it. Try asking new parents about their sleep quality when a new baby arrives, I bet most of them will look at you through dreary eyes and a veiled smile. ‘Don’t worry we’ll catch up when baby gets into his/her routine’. This is a common misconception: sleep time can’t be regained once lost (1).
Sleep patterns have changed through history. People used to manage a good night’s sleep, today it is estimated 1 in 2 adults are getting less than 6 hours (1).
Sleep is so important for so many functions:
Appetite and weight control
Blood pressure control
Normal sleep comprises 90-minute cycles. Each cycle comprises two kinds of sleep: NREM sleep (non-rapid eye movement sleep); followed by REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Deep sleep happens towards the end of each cycle.
So briefly, the brain needs rest to repair adequat...