Is your sleep routing affecting weight loss?

I hesitate talking about the need for sleep and bedtime routines because we are still heavy in the midst of nighttime wakings, babies in the bed, etc etc. If you are still waking up 2+ times a night to feed a baby/give a pacifier/ or calm a night terror, this post is probably not for you! Just stay the course and know the day will come that you’ll be able to sleep again. At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

However, if you have reached a time in your life where the possibility of a good night sleep is available and for whatever reason you aren’t taking it, here are a few reasons why you may want to change that.

Your cells repair themselves more rapidly at nighttime. The body produces higher levels of human growth hormone, which promotes cellular renewal, and your digestive system gets a break. So when you skip out on this, you are skipping these crucial processes.

Have you ever woken up from a short night’s sleep feeling starved? Research shows that sleep deprivation leads to increases in grehlin, the hunger hormone, and decreases in leptin, the hormone that tells the brain, ‘I’m full,” hence, less sleep equals more overeating.

Experts generally recommend 7-8 hours of sleep for healthy adults.

Some tips I have found helpful to getting a good night’s sleep include:

1. A little light stretching before you hit the sack can help put your mind at ease, steady your breath, and reduce muscle tension without revving up your heart rate. Stretching stimulates the release of hormones that relax the body.  Click here for some of my favorite stretches you can do before bedtime.

2. Setting a regular bedtime and wake time will get you into a good-sleep rhythm. At least on week nights, try to stick to a similar bedtime and rise time each day. Your body is very good at sticking to a routine and learning to adapt to your patterns.

3. Turn off the electronics an hour before you go to bed.  Stop sitting in front of your computer or TV or cell phone. They are too stimulating to the brain and interfere with your sleep.  Ever wake up in the middle of a dream that incorporated a bunch of random people’s facebook posts you had seen just before falling asleep? Wild!

4. Keep the room dark.  Our bodies need darkness for production of melatonin, the important sleep hormone.  Again, if you still have the baby monitor glued to your night stand, this post is probably not for you yet! But I’ve realized by now, I will hear my baby cry if he needs me and that static and flashing lights of the monitor does interfere with a good night’s sleep.  I even recommend turning your cell phones over so the notifications won’t disturb your sleep.

5. Cut back on the afternoon coffee. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant with a typical half-life of seven hours, which means that half of it is still coursing through your veins seven hours later. So you’re not crazy, that late afternoon pick-me-up really is keeping you up.

6. Exercise also tremendously helps improve quality of sleep. I’m not suggesting exercise right before bed, but rather at some point during the day try to fit in 30 minutes – 1 hour of exercise.

Hope some of these tips can help you get a better night’s sleep, and better results with your weight loss journey.

How many hours of sleep do you get on average?

Have a great week,

Featured Recipe

Classic Egg Salad

I had all good intentions of suggesting you make egg salad with the leftover died Easter eggs! Upon peeling these glittery beauties, I thought I could just rinse off any glitter that was left on the eggs. But then once I peeled off all the shells, I realized some of the die had gone into the egg and it wasn’t coming off with water!!! So I’m not suggesting reusing the kids Easter art projects. It was a good idea in my head, but I think you better just boil some more eggs for this recipe.

2 hard boiled eggs
1 Tbsp diced celery
½ tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup pickle relish
Dash of paprika and salt and pepper

Coarsely chop the hard boiled eggs and place in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Place on bread with lettuce and tomato.


The best choice for the healthiest eggs is organic- it ensures good conditions and diet for the laying hens and no antibiotic use.

Self Myofascial Release

“OUCH.”  “What the??”  “This hurts!!”

These are all common responses I hear from someone the first time they try self myofascial release. (SMR)

foam roller

No, this isn’t one of my toddler’s toys, and it’s not a noodle for the swimming pool. This is a foam roller, found at most sporting goods stores for around $20-$40.  I have found that utilizing stretching alone is not always enough to release muscle tightness, especially when I am doing a lot of running.  Regular use of a foam roller releases trigger points and helps to reestablish proper movement patterns.  Foam rolling offers many of the same benefits as a sports massage, including reduced inflammation, scar tissue and joint stress, as well as improved circulation and improved flexibility.

Our bodies learn to compensate for what we throw at them every day, but we can exceed our ability to recover via too many intense workouts, poor posture, and other lifestyle factors.

Our fascial network is a system of fascia and connecting ligaments, tendons, organ bags, and muscle envelopes that provide movement and stability to our bodies.  Fascia is a loose connective tissue, with a woven appearance.  In young people, fascial fibers are two-directional, both vertical and horizontal.  As we age, the fascial architecture becomes more multidirectional. Fibers lose their elasticity, flatten out and can stick to one another.  Eventually they can become matted together.

Effective myofascial release work combines pressure and movement to rehydrate and “unstick” the collagen fibers. By using a foam roller, you can perform self myofascial release (SMR). Place the foam roller under sections of the body and slowly roll across the area to help release myofascial tissue below the skin. The key is applying just enough pressure so that the muscle remains pliable, and to make slow and controlled movements. When you find areas that are tight or painful, pause for several seconds, breathe deeply, and relax.  When our muscles are taken care of properly we can experience improved flexibility, mobility, and better overall daily performance.

Never roll over a bone or a joint, and avoid your neck and lower back.

My favorite area to foam roll is the IT band. It hurts like heck, but doing this regularly has truly helped me to avoid painful runner’s knee. Have you tried foam rolling?  How has it helped you? I’d love to hear.

Have a great week,

inhale exhale

Featured Recipe

Easy Salsa

I love to keep a batch of this on hand in the fridge. Add to your eggs at breakfast, as a snack with carrot sticks, or as a topping for chicken or fish at dinner.

1, 14 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
1, 4 ounce can chopped green chilies (found next to the taco kits)
1/2 cup sliced scallions (white and green parts)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

Place all the ingredients except the chopped tomatoes in a blender and process until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped tomatoes.  Enjoy!

Stretches for the Desk Job

We all know that job related stress can take a toll on our health, but there is also another contributor to health problems if not careful: sitting. Sitting for extended periods of time can contribute to tightness in the hips, neck, chest, and pain and discomfort in the shoulders and lower back. Luckily, there are things you can do to help counteract the damage that sitting does to your body.

Look at how you are sitting as you read this. Are your shoulders rolled forward with your neck protruding out? Have you gotten up for a 2 minute break to walk around and move your legs today? The body is meant to be in movement, it was not designed to sit for eight hours a day.

Here are 5 of my favorite stretches you can do on your own to help undo some of the damage of sitting all day. Take 5 minutes when you get home this evening and give them a try.

Downward dog
With hands outstretched in front and you, lift your hips and ground your feet into the floor. Press your fingers into the floor and point them forward, and hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. This stretch helps reduce tension in the shoulders, and relaxes the neck, as well as stretching the backs of your legs.
Downward dog
From the downward dog stretch, step your right foot forward between your palms keeping your hands on the floor. Lower your left knee down to the floor. For a deeper stretch release your elbows to the floor as well.  Hold  the stretch here and relax your breath encouraging your hips to sink lower into the stretch.
Lizard part 1Lizard part 2
Cat cow
This combination of a stretch helps to open up the back and stretch the spine. Start with hands and knees on the floor in a tabletop position with a neutral spine. On the inhale, round the spine and curve up into your cat pose. On the exhale, arch the back and lift the chest to come into a cow pose. Repeat three to five times, focusing on the breath.
Happy Baby
This stretch helps open the hips and groins.  The hip joints can get stiff from extended periods of time sitting. Lie down on your back, draw the knees into your chest and grab your feet from the inside, pulling them down so the knees extend on either side of your torso. Try to bring the hips down to the floor. Breathe deeply and rock gently side to side for about 30 seconds.
Happy Baby
Doorframe chest stretch
When you spend a lot of time hunched over at your desk or in front of the computer, tightness in your chest muscles can keep your shoulders pulled forward, exacerbating chest and back pain. Stretching your chest can help loosen and lengthen these tight muscles. Simply stand in a door frame with your arms holding on to the wall. Lean your weight forward. You should feel a stretch across your chest muscles and under your armpit. Move your arms up and down along the door frame to increase the stretch and to stretch different areas of the chest. Hold for several breaths and release.

Have a great week,

Featured Snack

Frozen Grapes and Pears

Freezing juicy grapes and pears transforms their texture, turning them in to frosty treats.  You’ll also chew them more slowly. This is a great snack idea for the little ones who always seem to want ice cream, regardless the time of day or year!

Simply place seedless grapes and peeled and chopped pears onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. (At least one hour)

frozen fruit