SHAPING UP

Sleep is so important for your physical and mental health.

Monday, 13th July 2020, 9:31 am
Updated Monday, 13th July 2020, 9:31 am
Graham's runs through his top tips to ensure a great night's sleep.

In fact, it’s just as important as healthy eating and exercise.

A good night’s sleep can:

Reduce stressImprove your memoryLower blood pressureKeeps your immune system strongReduce risk of diabetesImprove your moodImprove attention and concentrationKeep your heart healthySpeed up recoveryControl hunger cravings

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But, unfortunately most people don’t get enough quality sleep, so here are 12 tips to help improve your sleep:

Don't Consume Caffeine Late in the DayCaffeine can significantly worsen sleep quality, especially if you drink a lot in the late afternoon or evening.

Reduce Irregular or Long Daytime NapsWhile short power naps have been proven beneficial, long or irregular napping during the day can negatively affect your sleep because it can confuse your internal body clock, meaning you may struggle to sleep at night.

Be ConsistentBeing consistent with your sleep times can help in sleep quality in the long-term. Try to get into a regular sleep cycle, especially on the weekends.

Don't Drink AlcoholDrinking alcohol at night can have a negative effect on your sleep and hormones. Alcohol is also known to cause or increase the symptoms of sleep apnoea, snoring and disrupted sleep patterns.

Create A Relaxing Bedroom EnvironmentTry to optimise your bedroom environment by eliminating external light and noise and making it a generally relaxing environment. Keep phones, TV’s, laptops out!

Set Your Bedroom TemperatureBody and bedroom temperature can also huge impact on sleep quality. Test different temperatures to find out which is most comfortable for you. I find 20°C is the best for me.

Don't Eat Late in the EveningConsuming a large meal before bed can lead to poor sleep and hormone disruption.

Relax and Clear Your Mind in the EveningRelaxation techniques before bed can help improve sleep quality! There’s a brilliant app called ‘calm’. It teaches you breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, you can play calming music/sounds, listen to stories, and there’s a 10-minute ‘daily calm’ session to help you unwind before bed. Check it out! I also enjoy yoga for relaxation. It’s no coincidence that I always sleep well on a Monday night after my yoga session.

Take a Relaxing Bath or ShowerA warm bath, shower or foot bath before bed can help you relax and improve your sleep quality.

Get a Comfortable Bed, Mattress and PillowSome people wonder why they always sleep better in a hotel.Well, apart from the relaxing environment, bed quality can also have an effect.Your bed, mattress and pillow can greatly impact sleep quality and joint or back pain. Try to buy a high-quality mattress and bedding every 5–8 years.

Exercise Regularly, But Not Before BedExercise is one of the best science-backed ways to improve your sleep and health.It can enhance all aspects of sleep, and has been used to reduce symptoms of insomnia.Regular exercise is one of the best ways to ensure a good night's sleep, but try to avoid exercise too close to bed time.

Don't Drink Any Liquids Before BedDrinking large amounts of liquids before bed can lead to trips to the bathroom during the night, therefore interrupting your sleep.Although hydration is really important, it’s best to consume your water earlier in the day and reduce your intake in the late evening.

Mini Sweet Potato Pie Tartlets

SERVES: 6

TOTAL TIME: 60 Minutes

CALORIES PER PORTION: 442

INGREDIENTS:

225g sweet potato, peeled and chopped 2 medium bananas

3 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

55g pecan nuts, chopped (keep 6 for garnish) For the crust:

255g almond flour

75g date, pitted

3 tsp extra virgin coconut oil 60ml lukewarm water

INSTRUCTIONS

Begin by boiling the sweet potato for about 20 minutes or until soft and set aside. Also, preheat the oven to 180oC/350°F/Gas 4.

To make the crust, add the dates and water to a blender and blend until you get a smooth mixture. Add the blended dates, along with all the other ingredients for the crust to a medium size bowl and mix everything together really well.

Divide the dough and add it to the pie tartlets, bake for 10 minutes, until slightly golden brown.

Add banana and vanilla extract to a blender and blend until smooth. Add to a bowl and mix through the chopped pecans, ground cinnamon and boiled sweet potato. Fill the tartlets with the mixture and top with the pecan nuts you kept for garnish.

Bake the tartlets on 160oC/320°F/Gas 3, for 20 more minutes.

Let them cool down completely before you serve it.

30/20/10 WORKOUT

This workout consists of ten, 1 minute blocks; 30 seconds cardio exercise, 20 seconds legs exercise and 10 seconds upper body exercise. The aim is to perform the exercises for 10 minutes without rest.

Before you start the workout go to the East Coast Fitness Facebook page and watch the short demo video.

30 seconds HIGH KNEES

20 seconds SQUATS

10 seconds PRESS UPS

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