Enough Sleep Rachel McGuinness

What You Need To know About Getting Enough Sleep

enough sleepWhen I don’t get enough sleep I go into overwhelm at a moment’s notice. I make endless lists and start tasks.  But seldom finish them as I can’t concentrate!

No amount of make up and fake tan is going to compensate for my pallid and dull complexion.   Even my favourite ‘go to outfit’ doesn’t look right. Why? Simple if I don’t feel fabulous on the inside I’ll struggle to look and feel right on the outside.

Thankfully this is now a rare occurrence since I left the corporate world. Stress and long haul travel were both major factors that contributed to my lack and poor quality of sleep.   But I count myself lucky, as it turns out 75% of us don’t get enough quality sleep.

enough sleep make up

I asked sleep expert, Rachel McGuinness to give me some insights and some tips on how much is enough sleep and how we improve the quality of our sleep.

How Much Sleep Do We Need?

RMcG: Humans are biologically hard wired to need between 7 and 9 hours quality sleep a night. Only 25% of us actually achieve that, most of us ‘survive’ on only 5 to 6 hours sleep.

The odd bad night’s sleep may mean we feel a bit out of sorts the following day and we may look drained with bags appearing under our eyes.

But insufficient quality sleep on a long-term basis can mean we’re at risk of serious long-term consequences.

What Do You Mean By Quality Sleep?

RMcG: Basically the measure of a good night’s sleep is that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

While the current thinking is that we need between 7-9 hours sleep per night, everybody is different.   When we sleep our bodies go through different stages of sleep in cycles.

However, the general consensus is that ideally we need 20% of our time asleep to be classified as deep sleep or ‘maintenance mode’.

enough sleep

What Happens When We Sleep?

RMcG: When we sleep properly, our bodies go into a maintenance mode.

Just like a computer; the screen saver is on, but there’s a lot going on in the background!

The body resets its systems and does its updates. The brain processes all the events of the day and puts memories into storage.

Most importantly, your body is repairing cells, muscles and tissues and cleans up the dangerous free radicals that have built up.

The brain and lymphatic tissues flush out the build-up of decaying cells and toxins and regulates and resets our blood pressure, hormones, metabolism and appetite.

So Insufficient Sleep Can Have A Serious Impact On Our Body?

RMcG: Sleep deprivation can lead to higher blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease and strokes.  You are also at risk of weight gain and type 2 Diabetes.

It’s likely you will wake up feeling tired, grouchy and hungry.  This is because not getting enough sleep plays havoc with the hormones and biochemicals that tell our brain we’ve had enough to eat and supress our appetite.

enough sleep coffee and cake

If you do not get enough sleep your body also releases higher levels of insulin. This means we store more fat and are at risk of developing type 2 Diabetes.

This means we are tempted to reach for carbs and sugar for a quick fix of energy. This is a fast release of energy and you’re likely to come crashing back down, needing another fix.

A lack of quality sleep can also suppress our immune system. This means we’re more at risk or becoming ill as our antibodies are suppressed. We can also take longer to recover from illness.

What Happens To Our Skin When We Don’t Have Enough Sleep?

RMcG: Your skin will also suffer. Your body won’t have been able to clean out all the toxins or balance its hydration.

Consequently you can end up with dry skin, puffy eyes and wrinkles. Let alone those unsightly bags under your eyes.

Sleep deprivation can also reduce your skin’s natural bounce and glow. This happens because our blood flow is decreased. This can increase the risk of redness and breakouts. You may develop acne and other dermatological problems.

If you do not get enough sleep the repair process of your skin will slow down. The result being that you will look older. The term beauty sleep is more than just a Colloquialism!

enough sleep skincare

If We Don’t Have Enough Sleep Can This Impact Our Brain?

RMcG: Absolutely.

Not having enough sleep will leave us feeling sluggish and our concentration suffers. Over a longer period of time not getting enough sleep can lead to depression. It also stifles our creativity.

As you know if you’re feeling sluggish and out of sorts this will impact the way you feel about yourself.

If you don’t feel great on the inside no amount of make up and your favourite outfit is going to make you feel fabulous about yourself. This in turn can affect your self-confidence.

Not getting enough sleep can also be downright dangerous. If our ability to think clearly is impacted just think what this does to our driving!

Lack of a good night’s sleep will also see you regularly hitting the ‘snooze button’ for a few more minutes in bed making you wake up later than you should.

You’ll be in a mad rush against time. Consequently you will probably skip a good breakfast, and skimp on your daily skin routine, makeup and hair!

The chances are you’ll throw on the first thing you find in your wardrobe. That’s not the best way to step out of the house in the morning!


How Do We Make It Easier To Get Enough Sleep?

RMcG: To get a good night’s sleep you need to follow these easy to implement tips:

  • Switch off your tech an hour before bed – the blue light makes your body think it’s daytime and will keep you awake and wired.
  • Make sure your bedroom is relaxing, cool and airy.
  • Cut down on stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
  • Do something relaxing before bedtime – TV thrillers and stressful news programmes will stop your brain switching off.
  • Get into a regular bedtime and wake up time, even at weekends to ensure you get your 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep.

enough sleep and quality sleep

About Rachel McGuinness

Rachel is a health and well being expert who inspires, educates and motivates busy professional people who want to get healthy, but don’t have time to work it out for themselves.

She focuses on two areas essential for optimum health and survival – eating smart and sleeping well. She helps her clients to:

  • Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start their day
  • Have loads more energy
  • Lose weight healthily and maintain it
  • Look incredible
  • Feel amazing

Enough Sleep Rachel McGuinness

Contact details: rachel@zestlifestyle.com     www.zestlifestyle.com     07880 557976

Facebook and Twitter: @zestlifestyle Instagram: @zestylady Linked In: Rachel McGuinness

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Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Philippa Taylor: Simple Ways To Feel Fab

This week I’m delighted to welcome Philippa Taylor as my guest blogger.  Philippa is one of the happiest most cheerful women I know.  She genuinely has a great big grin on her face every time I see her! I asked if she would share her secrets!  Philippa told me that there were no secrets just a few simple ways to feel fab!

Philippa Taylor Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Have You Binned Your Resolutions Yet?

Traditionally January is the month to make resolutions (most of which will be binned by the end of the month).  We are also deluged with endless ‘new year new you’ articles in the media.

Personal development is something which should, in my opinion, be part of your everyday life and not just for January.  Do you want to boost your wellbeing in the long term?  Then follow some simple ways to feel fab rather than making wholesale changes to your lifestyle.

Simple Ways To Feel Fab Starts With Self-Care

Part of personal development is recognising that you need to look after yourself properly first.  It’s no accident that you’re advised to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others on a plane!

Put together a range of simple ways to feel fab.  You’ll create your own wellbeing routine made up of easy-to-follow healthy habits.  These might include:  daily exercise, spending time with good friends, eating well and sleeping enough.

As a working mum  I don’t have the headspace or the time to follow elaborate wellbeing plans.  I look for simple life hacks  which will have a significant impact on my daily life.  These hacks must enable me to get as much out of life as I used to decades ago!

For those of us who are of a certain vintage, we may find our levels of wellbeing have declined over time.  If your to-do list doesn’t shrink at the rate it once did, chances are your wellbeing levels need a boost. A recent survey says that Brits believe that you stop being young at 35 and start being old at 58.  This is not a huge window of time to be middle-aged! We all age at vastly different rates.  Some people are much older or younger than their biological age.

Wherever you are on this spectrum, there are a number of simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now:

1. Sleep

According to research by the Sleep Council, nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night. Jason Ellis, Professor in Psychology at Northumbria University and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research has these simple tips for better sleep:

  • Check that your pillow hasn’t reached its sell-by date and still gives your head and neck the support you need.
  • Test your pillow by holding it out longways in front of you. If you’ve got pillow droop, buy a new one!
  • If you can’t sleep, try a taxing task such as counting backwards from 1,000 rather than counting sheep
  • Turn off all your electronics so there isn’t any blue light in the room.
  • Don’t have a clock facing you when you’re in bed or you’re likely to clock watch
  • Leave at least two hours between exercising or having a bath and going to bed so that you have a chance to cool down which will aid sleeping
  • Regulate your liquid intake before bedtime so that you avoid nocturnal bathroom visits
  • Choose your mattress carefully – you spend a third of your life in bed so take care and time when selecting a new one

simple ways to feel fab

2. Exercise

Find the activity that you love and you’ll never exercise a day in your life.

Take a moment and think about the things you love. Are you sociable and enjoy being amongst people? Activities with a strong social element like Nordic walking, running clubs and Bootcamp would likely appeal to you.

Prefer something a bit more dance-related? Zumba, Jazzercise, Ceroc, Ballroom or Hip-Hop classes would be straight up your street. Fancy something quieter? Pilates, yoga or stretch classes would fit the bill.

exercise improves self-esteem

3. Treats

Simple ways to feel fab when you want to treat yourself include a bath with your favourite book, a glass of wine and some candles.  Or why not enjoy a long walk in the countryside?  Invite good friends over for a nutritious and healthy supper.

There’s no need to spend lots of money on pampering or expensive evenings out when small treats will give you the life-affirming lift you need.

4. Health

Private healthcare companies offer pricey medical assessments.  But most of the time the lifestyle and diet advice you end up with is just common sense.

Keep up to date with important medical appointments.  Do not skip appointments for: a smear test, breast screening, eye test or dental hygienist appointment.  Speaking to your doctor if you feel run down, are simple ways to feel fab and stay healthy.

5. Your Body 

Stop yo-yo dieting by taking control of what you eat. Keep an honest food diary for a week, writing down everything that you eat and drink. By the end of it you should be able to see where you’re wasting those calories. A study shows that the ages at which we are most susceptible to putting on weight start at 38 for women and 44 for men so it makes sense to monitor your calorie intake to still enjoy a little, not a lot, of what you fancy!

Simple Ways To Feel Fab

6. Anti-Ageing

Have you ever cut open an apple and seen it go brown? The apple’s oxidised after being exposed to oxygen in the air, causing a rapid increase in its ageing process. Oxidative stress occurs in humans with every breath we take.  When we breathe we take in oxygen which creates free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body).

Antioxidants are chemicals that help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. In modern times it is argued that the effects of oxidative stress have never been greater as we live in increasingly polluted environments, live stressful lifestyles and medicines/prescription drugs are widely used.

As we age, our bodies naturally produce fewer antioxidants to neutralise the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals damage cells so, over time, whatever organ those cells belong to isn’t going to function quite as well as it should. For example, collagen gets weaker and as a result, your skin gets more wrinkles. A simple way to feel fab is to lower your oxidative stress levels by taking take one Protandim tablet every day, which is clinically proven to trigger the cells in your body to naturally increase the production of antioxidants. Better sleep, better energy levels and better recovery are the most commonly reported benefits of taking Protandim.

simple ways to feel fab

7. Wellbeing Review

I’d like to share an exercise with you that may help you evaluate which areas of your wellbeing would benefit from a 2017 reboot. I’d like you to choose a year which, with 20:20 hindsight, saw you
at being at your wellbeing peak: perhaps it was the year you got married, went travelling or were successful in something you enjoyed doing?

Got one? Good. Mine is 1999 when I was 38. I was representing GB in dragon boating so was as fit as a butcher’s dog, working in a PR agency in a role I loved, and looking forward to getting married the following year. Or I could have chosen 1983 when I was 22. I was in my second year at Uni and was enjoying reading for most of the day (I did an English degree!), rowing for my college and partying more than I ever had before, or since come to think of it!

Take a few minutes and jot down some notes on how you felt then. Leave the list and go back to it another time and complete the Now column.

The simple ways to feel fab which you can put in place now to boost your wellbeing may jump off the page at you or you may want to ask a friend/wellbeing expert for some advice. The most important thing is that you recognise which areas of your life need a boost and then action the simple ways to feel fab on a daily/weekly basis.

wellbeing review

Summary Simple Ways To Feel Fab

Finally although I can’t turn the clock back for you, I hope that this simple exercise has highlighted some areas of your life which you can revisit. Furthermore if you keep it simple you stand a chance of sticking with it.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to check out more simple ways to feel fab, please visit my blog with guest posts from a great selection of experts (including Carol of course!) and my website.  You can also find me on social media:


Twitter: @feelfabdirect

Facebook: @ProtandimGlobalFeelFabDirect




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