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Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Ok, we’re going in cold here.  Fact: Lack of sleep shortens your life.  Yes, this is 100% fact, yet most of us are so ‘busy’ chasing that career, life goal and cramming everything in, that sleep hits the bottom of the list as a priority.  We know it’s not as ‘sexy’ as all of those quick fixes out there for reaching your optimal health, body, ideal weight…..blah blah blah that we are fed. So, we have teamed up with Life Armour's founder Marishka and Dr Christie Lewis to convince you of the huge benefits of putting your sleep first (or at least a high priority!) Marishka, can you intro yourself and tell us about Life Armour. Hi, I’m Marishka, founder of life armour 100% natural nutritional supplements. I launched life armour to address the impact stress has on our health and wellbeing, as I saw this first hand and could also see the impact in so many people around me. We live in a 24/7 world where we are expected to be “on” all the time. We are not designed for this, we need to take time out and give both our mind and body a chance to rest and recover.  When I tried to shop for supplements for myself I found it trickier than a science exam! I couldn't pronounce the ingredients on the pack let alone know what they did for me. The more I researched I was shocked that quality was not always a given.  I thought I could do better and so life armour was born.  Our 100% natural vegan friendly formulations are specifically designed to address the impact stress has on our bodies, from sleep and energy to stress, anxiety and brain fog.    Q1. Why is sleep so important? In a culture where we are always on, sleep is the time when our body can restore itself, allowing for growth and development. There is overwhelming scientific proof, with more emerging all the time that quality sleep can positively impact Mood| Motivation| Judgement| Energy | Memory | Immunity | Improved Concentration  The NHS estimates sleep deprivation is costing them £40 bn a year.  As a nation, we are chronically sleep-deprived. A normal sleep is considered 7-9 hours a night but almost 50% of us are getting less than 6 hours. Chronic sleep deprivation is associated with increased oxidative stress which can lead to hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. In addition, sleep deprivation can affect our hunger hormones, lowering our appetite suppressor, leptin, and increasing our hunger hormone, ghrelin. This has been associated with an increased risk of obesity. Furthermore, chronic sleep deprivation has been associated with reduced cognitive performance, higher levels of anxiety and higher levels of depression.  After several years of research, it is evident that chronic sleep deprivation has profound and widespread effects on our health.   Q2. Can sleep affect your fitness and exercise?  Yes. When you have less energy and motivation it’s more likely you will skip the training or class you had planned.  In fact, if you push through the fatigue you will gain more energy from training as exercise releases endorphins, a chemical that helps to lower stress hormones and brighten up your mood.  Pushing yourself to go for that gym class can be hard, but will leave you with a sense of achievement that will last all day.    Q3. What about sleep and diet?  Think about how you feel and what you eat after a good night's sleep compared to a late night and early start. Do you reach for more caffeine to get you through the day? Eat bigger portions and crave a sugar and carb hit?  You are not alone. As a lack of sleep impacts energy and clarity, many people often go for the easiest, most convenient option. Whether that be an extra latte to get through the afternoon or grabbing a take away instead of cooking fresh.  As a one-off, of course, this is fine, but if it becomes a habit you will see the impact on your energy, possibly your weight and overall fitness levels.    Q4. How much sleep do we need, does it vary from person to person?  The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person. Guidelines are that adults require 7-9 hours per night.  It’s good to get in the habit of getting this amount of sleep on a regular basis.  Evidence has actually shown that you can’t make up or repair the damage done to your body during the days you didn’t get enough sleep   Q5. Can we have too much sleep? It is suggested that sleeping more than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night may lead to chronic health problems, however the evidence is lacking. If you are regularly oversleeping and still feeling unrefreshed, it is worth questioning whether there is an underlying physical or mental health problem which may need exploring with your GP.   Q6. What if you don’t feel tired in the evening, but cannot get up in the morning, (we hear this a lot) Why is that? Are you taking your phone to bed with you and scrolling before you fall off to sleep? Or watching something? Did you know that the blue light from our smart phones emits the same wavelength of light as the morning sun? This confuses the body’s circadian rhythm (ie internal body clock)  as to what time it is and can negatively impact the quality of sleep. Engaging with social media before bed has also been shown to have a detrimental impact on your quality of sleep.  The reason that blue light is so problematic is that it has a short wavelength that affects levels of melatonin (our sleep hormone) more than any other wavelength does. Normally, the pineal gland in the brain begins to release melatonin a couple of hours before bedtime, reaching its peak in the middle of the night. When people read on a blue light-emitting device in the evening, melatonin production is reduced which can lead to problems falling asleep and less good quality REM sleep (when dreams occur), causing them to wake up feeling unrefreshed.   Q7. Do you have any tips for anyone who struggles to get off to sleep?  Create a dark environment as this signals to the body that it's time to go to sleep No phones (or chargers) in the bedroom Buy an alarm clock (try lumie body alarm clock) Switch off social media and phone use 90 minutes before bed (just give it a try and persist and it will soon become a habit) Avoid caffeine and alcohol (in moderation of course but it will impact the quality of your sleep) Try life armour drops of slumber Want to know more about the amazing things Marishka is doing at Life Armour, make sure you check out her website and socials and show her some love!  https://lifearmour.co.uk Insta : @lifearmournutrition She also has some fab blog articles too  Huge thanks to both Marishka and Dr Christie Lewis for such an amazing and helpful interview, we hope we have managed to convince you about the importance of sleep as part of your lifestyle!    Hey Babes, while you're here, we're launching a gym wear range very soon and we know your gonna love it! Get signed up for exclusive pre-launch access, hit the link