Yes, that means looking after ‘numero uno’ – YOU!
Our guest blogger this month, sleep specialist Rachel McGuinness of Wake Up with Zest, talks about maintaining the single most important dimension of your personal brand…your health! Rachel starts off by answering the question “what is ‘zest’?”:
“Zest is all about your health. Your health is the biggest asset you have and of course affects everything about you – your energy and vitality, your mind set, your skin, your posture, your ability to focus and make decisions, so I guess we can say your health is pretty important!
So how do you get healthy? Sleep!
Get your sleep right and the rest follows. Not having enough quality shut eye can impact on you physically, mentally and emotionally. Your resolve goes out the window, especially your motivation to eat healthily or get off your backside and do some exercise! One of the things that knocks your sleep off kilter is stress. It’s all very well to say ‘stress less’, but getting your stress levels under control is essential for your health.
Why do we need our beauty sleep?
It’s when our:
- brain does its back up, consolidates memories and detoxes
- cells, tissues and muscles are repaired
- free radicals are cleaned up
- blood pressure, metabolism, hormones and appetite are regulated
If we don’t get enough we increase our risk of:
- high blood pressure
- heart failure/disease
- type 2 diabetes
- neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia
So how do you get a good night’s sleep?
It actually starts when you wake up! What you do during the day contributes to whether or not you’re going to have a good night’s sleep. If your sleep isn’t in good shape and you want to get it back on track, you have to start somewhere. It may take a bit of effort, but it will be worth it in the end.
First of all you need to work out how much sleep you need and set a consistent “go to sleep time” and “wake up time”.
So how do you work out how much sleep you need?
The amount of sleep you need is the amount that leaves you feeling refreshed in the morning, so try not to get caught up in having to have eight hours, we are all different. Some people feel fine on just six hours and others need nine.
Start the day with a ten-minute meditation
Use an app like Daily Calm or Headspace if you want something with prompts. Meditation is such a beautiful calm way to start the day, so that you’re ready to take on what life throws at you be it good or bad; it is also helps reduce stress.
Do some exercise
Just 10 minutes is enough, which means you don’t have to slog your guts out down at the gym. Try and incorporate the three ‘S’s’ during the week – Strength, Sweat and Stretch. 10-minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are brilliant for this. Just go online and google 10 minute workouts or stretch/yoga sessions, there are a plethora of them out there to suit all kinds of fitness levels.
Skipping breakfast is NOT an option. Eating breakfast will make your metabolism more efficient. Make sure it’s protein based to keep you full until lunchtime. Have something like eggs, yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy), cheese, seeds, full fat milk with porridge (avoid sugary cereals and low fat products).
On your commute
Whether you’re driving or using public transport, switch off the news which is quite frankly pretty depressing at the moment and listen to podcasts or motivational books.
Make sure you’re drinking enough water or decaffeinated teas to keep your body hydrated, stop you thinking you’re hungry and reaching out for the carbs. This will make sure your body fat burns and again, keeps your metabolism ticking along nicely.
Keep active during the day
Humans are designed to move and not sit on their backsides all day. Make a point of getting up and walking around every 25 minutes – try and get the whole office into it, may be doing a few squats, wall press ups, or run up and down a few flights of stairs. Have ‘walk and talk’ meetings or if there are more than three of you, have 30 minute standing meetings, you will be sure to whizz through agendas in super quick time. This will keep your energy levels up during the day.
Take a lunch break
Don’t eat lunch at your desk, get outside, go for a walk and get your fix of vitamin D and day light. If you’re not sat next to a window, it’s important to get out in the light as your body clock is light sensitive and needs to know it’s still daytime. Try and avoid carb based lunches such as sandwiches, baguettes and jacket potatoes, like breakfast have some protein – meat, fish, seafood, poultry, cheese (dairy or non-dairy), nuts, beans and pulses together some veg or salad with a piece of fruit.
Before you leave work
Get your to-do lists done for the next day.
Cut the sleep thieves
Stop drinking coffee, caffeinated tea, colas or energy drinks after lunch as the caffeine can remain in your system for six hours and can disrupt your sleep.
Eating large or spicy meals before bedtime will disrupt your sleep and probably give you acid reflux! Keep it light and keep it early. If alcohol doesn’t disrupt your sleep, you can still have a small glass of wine with your meal.
Using alcohol to numb your senses to go to sleep isn’t such a good idea. It may send you to sleep, but more often than not, you wake up in the night dehydrated and wanting to go to the loo. Alcohol also disrupts your REM sleep which an essential part of your night’s sleep.
Wind down before sleep time
This should be around 60 – 90 minutes. Switch off the TV, switch off your tech, add anything that needs adding to your do lists, write in your journal, get things tidied up, do your ablutions, read for a bit (book, magazine or e-reader with the screen turned right down) and then it’s lights out, snuggle down and drift off into the land of nod.”
Making sure you get your beauty sleep will help your personal brand ‘wake up with zest’! If you struggle with your sleep and need some help to fall in love with bedtime again, Rachel’s contact details are below.