By Joanne Sgro
When celebrity nutritionist and fitness expert JJ Virgin consults with clients, one of the first questions she asks is "How are you sleeping?" Virgin said, "Sleep comes first and you need seven to nine hours of it, not only for energy but also for weight loss and reduced stress."
She stated that the sign of a restful night's sleep is to wake up without an alarm clock. But hold on! Don't throw that alarm clock away.
Virgin said to use your alarm clock instead to remind you to "power down" and get ready for bed. And by power down, she means all electronics as well, reminding us of what we already know. Starting on an email or project before bed will only hinder us from having a restful night, which is essential to reduce stress. She said, losing sleep causes a detrimental cycle to your health. "It creates a big, big stress on body, stress cuts your sleep back, zaps your nutrients and zaps your energy."
If you do not think you are getting enough sleep on your own, then Virgin suggested trying the Zeo sleep trainer to help you figure out the quality of your sleep. According to myzeo.com, "Sleep is key to health, wellness, cell growth, memory formation, mental agility, physical performance, peace of mind - you name it and sleep can improve it." Zeo products range from $99-$149.
Virgin recommended limiting your alcohol and caffeine consumption because this can interfere with sleep. If you need caffeine to prop you up, chances are you're not getting enough sleep. And while a glass of wine may seem to relax you, it can also act as a stimulant and affect your sleep.
A study last year out of Japan from the Akita University School of Medicine underscored her assessment. Researcher Yohei Sagawa was featured on ScienceDaily.com saying, "Although the first half of sleep after alcohol intake looks good on the EEG, the result of the assessment regarding the autonomic nerve system shows that drinking leads to insomnia rather than good sleep."
Virgin also emphasized the importance of exercise and a healthy diet to help you sleep better. She advised looking at the quality of your diet which could have a major impact on your cortisol levels. Stress also raises cortisol levels, hence causing another detrimental cycle to your health. Virgin said, "If you're eating high refined high fat diet, this raises stress hormones and poor sleep raises stress hormones."
Virgin said that these foods can cause an inflammatory response by our digestive system, which can result in what she refers to as a leaky gut. Virgin said that proper nutrition can help alleviate stress and combat that inflammatory response.
Her anti-inflammatory diet is the subject of her latest book "The Virgin Diet," set to be released in November, 2012. Look for more articles featuring JJ Virgin as well as a live chat with the celebrity nutritionist and fitness expert in October.
"Fast and Lasting Fat Loss - JJVirgin.com." JJ Virgin. Web 25 Sept. 2012.
"Science of Sleep - Myzeo.com." Myzeo Sleep Trainer. Web 25 Sept. 2012.
"Alcohol Interferes With the Restorative Functions of Sleep - ScienceDaily.com." Science Daily. Web 25 Sept. 2012.
Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training.
Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com/ She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.
Reviewed September 26, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
By Joanne Sgro