We all know how important sleep is for your overall health. But did you also know that a lack of sleep could cause weight gain?
How much sleep is enough?
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– #360FIT: To Detox or Not To Detox (and what does it all even mean?)
The optimal amount of sleep that we should be getting is 7.5 hours of unbroken, quality shut eye. Some people may need more due to exercising at intense level, however most healthy adults can live on between 6-8 hours, without any issues.
I need to emphasize how important it is that the sleep is deep and unbroken. This is to ensure that not only your immune system regenerates itself but also that your entire body goes into rest and repair mode. There are so many reasons that this can become tricky, as you may need food or drink in the middle of the night, needing the toilet or having a topic on your mind such as work or loved ones.
Without the adequate amount of sleep, your hormones get deregulated and therefore cause havoc with your brain. For example, Leptin is your appetite hormone, which tells your brain when you’re hungry. If you don’t get enough sleep, your Leptin hormone increases, and therefore will tell you that you need to eat more, when really there’s no need.
There’s also the hormone Ghrelin, which as you’re eating, will tell you when you’re full. Lack of sleep suppresses this hormone, thus delaying this message, therefore causing you to continue to eat.
By striving to get a good night’s sleep every night, this will help you with your weight control goals and to not give you mixed messages to eat unnecessarily.
What else will a lack of sleep do?
1. Impairs attention, alertness and concentration
2. Can cause risk of heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes
3. Increase in depression
4. Ages skin
What can I do to improve my sleep?
How many of us go to bed and stare at our phones, computers or ipads? The majority of us I say, which is one of the issues. These devises give off blue light and frequencies that keep our brain wired. So when it’s time for our bodies to rest, our mind is still active on our emails, to-do lists or Facebook. Instead, why not read a book? You will find that you drop off to sleep much easier and calmer. Other measures you can put in place could be:
1. To go to sleep at the same time every day: this gets your body and mind into a routine and will help you to fall asleep easier
2. Ensure your room is as dark as possible: this will help with your sleep hormone that is melatonin. Switch off any small lights that appear in your room also, as it has been proven that even the smallest disruption to the dark can affect your sleeping levels.
3. Try a white noise application: if you live in a noisy neighborhood or there is a party going on in your building, try downloading a white noise app on your phone. This will play out the soothing sounds of the sea, or the rainforest, or a fire crackling for example. The goal is to focus your hearing onto the sounds which will then mask the noises that are keeping you awake.
Matthew Graham is the GM of Talise Fitness Emirates Towers
Detox. Brunch. Not two words that we normally associate with each other, or at least not together (a detox after a brunch, sure). For this reason exactly we were intrigued by the newly launched healthy detox brunch at Fashion TV Café in Dubai.
Served every Saturday from 12pm till 5pm, the brunch promised a mouth-watering three-course meal paired with a fresh detox juice. We’re in!
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Given the restaurant’s location along Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, a stone’s throw from the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, we thought parking would be tricky, but we were pleasantly surprised to see they offer valet parking for their customers. This comes at a cost of 20Dhs though, so as an alternative guests can easily find parking either right next to the Pavilion or there is underground parking available which will bring you straight to the entrance, both of which come at no cost.
Given that we were nearing ‘hangry’ territory, the first look at the menu excited us; each course had a choice of two meals and this did not look like a brunch that would leave us hungry. Plus the dishes sounded healthy and refreshing – perfect for a hot summer’s day.
Things kicked off with a refreshing Melon and Coconut Milk Shot and marinated feta cheese with olives and fresh mint, followed by some cold detox blends: the Berry Breakfast Antioxidants(raspberries, almond milk, honey, frozen banana, flaxseeds and ginger) was a real winner, as was the Super Green Detox blend.
For the entree, we opted for the flavourful Feta and Raspberry Couscous Salad (not quinoa as was stated on the menu – typo! – and which we wished it was due to the extra health points quinoa has over couscous) with mesclun, almonds and a drizzling of sweet apricot dressing. It is a perfect summer salad and could have been enough for a main, so come with an empty stomach!
The actual main, a delicious Grilled Salmon with Mango Coriander Salsa served with a baked mushroom croquette and cucumber and radish salad with avocado puree, was the perfect follow up and oh-so-tasty. As an alternative, the Seared Chicken Breast with a Honey Pomegranate Glaze accompanied with a quinoa salad and grilled watermelon sounded pretty good as well.
We were pretty full by this point but absolutely had to try the Poached Peach with Cashew Carameland creamed cottage cheese – the best sauce we have tasted in a long time! The desert was nothing short of amazing, while the other option – toasted granola with yoghurt and fresh fruits – is perfect if you want to finish on a refreshing note.
If you opt to not have a smoothie, you can finish with a hot organic tea (either one or the other is included in the price). Any other drinks other than this will cost you extra, including water.
Overall, we found the brunch healthy with good quality ingredients, extremely tasty and very satisfying. We’d argue the word “detox” is slightly misused since there was quite a few ingredients you probably wouldn’t eat if you were trying to ‘detox’, but take this word lightly and you’ll come away feeling extremely satisfied.
It is definitely worth a try, and it might just be the best Dubai brunch you have!
Where: Fashion TV Café, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard
When: Saturdays, 12pm – 5pm
Our senses can alert us to danger, but they can also enhance our life experiences and improve our health.
This week we look at our sense of touch and how this can promote feelings of wellbeing.
Sense of Touch
There is a spa in every hotel in the UAE. For some, a massage of some sort is a regular part of the week.
While it has many health benefits, the pleasure of being touched or touching is undeniable.
I remember many years ago, people were asked to take their dogs to old people’s homes as stroking these pets can lower your blood pressure, helps your body release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of stress hormones (unless you don’t like animals of course).
The animal also enjoys being stroked. When my son was young, baby massage classes were very popular. A study at Miami University showed that massage therapy reduces pain in pregnant women and alleviates prenatal depression – in the women and their partners.
Studies have also shown that autistic children who usually dislike being touched, loved being massaged by a parent or therapist.
Tiffany Field, a leader in the field of touch, found that pre-term newborns who received just three 15-minute sessions of touch therapy each day for five-10 days gained 47 per cent more weight than premature infants who’d received standard medical treatment.
Touch is the earliest sense to develop in the fetus. Many animals don’t develop their other senses for some time after birth, but they all have a heightened sense of touch.
Primates spend as much as 20 per cent of their day grooming each other. Studies now show that touching Alzheimer’s patients can have huge effects on helping them to relax, make emotional connections with others, and reduce their symptoms of depression.
Neurologist Shekar Raman, MD, in Richmond, Virginia explains: “A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward center in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy.
"And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others — on even the smallest physical level — the happier you’ll be.”
Natural killer cells are the front line of the immune system, destroying cancer cells, viral cells and bacterial cells.
In studies of women with breast cancer, cortisol levels tend to be high, but natural killer (NK) cells are down. In a study, women with breast cancer were given 30-minute massages three times a week for five weeks.
At the end of the study, the women had lower depression and hostility levels and increased levels of serotonin, dopamine, NK cells and lymphocytes, which would suggest that their immune systems were stronger.
A pat on the back, an arm around the shoulder, a hug or even a hand-shake can make all the difference to our mood in an uplifting, positive way and if we are happy, we will be healthier. So go ahead and share a little of that human touch.