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Catching Some Zzzzz’s

sleepAs I was walking back from getting a Green Tea in my office this morning, I was inspired to do a post about sleep. It’s uber important for a healthy metabolism and lifestyle, and as busy women (and men) in work, school, family – sleep is often one of the first things to be trimmed.

I make a solid effort to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. I’m typically in bed between 9:30 and 10:00 and am up somewhere between 5:30 and 6:00. I love my duvet – it’s hard to get my outta that bed!

According to a CBS News article, a research team at the University of Chicago found that, “‘Sleep deprivation plays an important role in regulating our leptin levels and in controlling our appetite.” That’s in addition to the sluggish effect it plays on our metabolisms. When you aren’t sleeping enough, and you feel sluggish, guess what – so does your body!

When we sleep, our melatonin levels go UP! Which, in turn, fuels our metabolic rate.

In addition, there is also a strong correlation between BMI and sleep deprivation. The less sleep ya get, the more likely your BMI will be higher.

This is similar information a nutritionist told me over a decade ago. I was a teenager – so of course my clock was all kinds of off. Late nights – sleeping ‘til noon – you get the idea. She said I had to make a concerted effort to catch my zzz’s. And you know what? It helped!

Not only has increased sleep been shown to help metabolism, but also mood, sports endurance, and sex drive, according to the Sleep Foundation (which is coincidentally just a few blocks from my office).

Having trouble sleeping? Exercising late in the day or a eating later meal might be the culprits. I try to exercise right after work, at lunch or in the mornings – and call it quits by 7:30 max. The Sleep Foundation advises:

“Sleep experts recommend exercising at least three hours before bedtime, and the best time is usually late afternoon. Exercising at this time is beneficial because body temperature is related to sleep. Body temperatures rise during exercise and take as long as 6 hours to begin to drop. Because cooler body temperatures are associated with sleep onset, it’s important to allow the body time to cool off before sleep.”

Also, I really do try not to eat after 8:00. Not in the Oprah says I can’t even have a grape after 8:00 kind of way – just in the “I’m going to bed in two hours and I don’t want this to sit” kind of way.

Which is why last night we dined at 7:45 – cutting it close. Before I got home, I had Geoff whip up some of Bethenny Frankel’s Coconut Rice.

1 part jasmine rice, 1/2 water, 1/2 light coconut milk, dash of sugar, dash of salt, shredded coconut.

So what goes better with a little sweet than some spice? In a pan I did what I do best. Throw a bunch of stuff together and hope it turns out well!
bunch of stuff
In the mix:

Frozen Shrimp in a little EVOO
Frozen Peppers
Frozen Corn
1/3 Can Light Coconut Milk
Squirt of Sricacha
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
Dash of Salt
Spoonful of Almond Butter

All topped with some diced avocado for creaminess.

creaminess

Wow! It was risky, but it all worked so well together! Perfect blend of spice from the Sricacha, and sweet from the rice, polished off with that smoothness from the avocado.

Sricacha

I will definitely try to recreate this dish again! That’s the problem – when I don’t use recipes – it’s hard to get it just right again!

And while dining I sipped on a glass of pinot grigio. I also snacked on some TJ’s Vegetable Crackers but didn’t snap a photo.

TJ’s Vegetable Crackers

This morning was soooo stormy. Over this rain! A few days ago the news said we’d had 16 inches of rain since May. Guess that number’s gone up!

While listening to the rain on my window panes, I did a very original 🙂 breakfast. Half English Muffin with Almond Butter.

Half English Muffin with Almond Butter

Green Monster

Green Monster

How are your sleep habits? Are you a night owl, or an early bird? I am DEFINITELY an early bird!

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