Your sleep is just as crucial as your diet. The impact of a good night rest goes beyond merely feeling refreshed, it profoundly influences your overall health and well-begin.

Image for Balanced meals lead to better sleep

Balanced meals lead to better sleep

You know that high-sugar snacks and meals impact your glucose, but did you know that these same choices and an unsteady plate also impact your sleep? Alternatively, meals that prioritise protein and fats with just a modest amount of complex carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, and legumes) can help you sleep better. (1) And better sleep promotes better glucose management. In individuals with impaired glucose metabolism, the research points to a clear relationship between poor sleep leading to poor glucose management and poor glucose management leading to impaired sleep. (2) But with some simple changes, you can avoid the cycle. Eat a balanced lunch by filling ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with proteins, and ¼ with complex carbohydrates. Vegetable soup with a chicken-salad sandwich on wholemeal bread would be a great choice. As you track your glucose, notice how changing the sources and amounts of carbohydrates impacts you. And if your glucose is high, fill up on chicken salad and soup, skipping the bread. Focus on the protein For your evening meal, increase the protein proportion and reduce the complex carbohydrates. An evening meal that’s high in protein and healthy fats with a modest portion of complex carbs like whole grains, beans, and legumes can steady your glucose and improve your sleep quality. (1) Tonight, try one of these delicious ideas: A salad starter and a main dish of salmon, mixed vegetables and lentils An omelette with ham and mushrooms plus a side salad with avocado and seeds Grilled chicken breast with quinoa, roasted peppers, courgettes, and tomatoes

Image for How much sleep is enough for good health? What the research says

How much sleep is enough for good health? What the research says

Sleep is one of the most important pillars of overall health. Failing to get enough sleep has been linked to an increased risk for many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease and stroke, worse mental health, and more. (1) Additionally, poor sleep can have immediate effects on your metabolism, leading to higher glucose levels. In turn, higher glucose can lead to worse sleep, creating a vicious cycle. (2, 3) If you struggle to sleep, you may be wondering: How much sleep do adults actually need? Achieving quality sleep will improve your overall health, including managing your glucose and metabolism. Keep reading to learn about how much sleep is enough for good health. How much sleep is recommended for adults? The consensus by leading sleep experts is that adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, and these recommendations don’t change much as you age. (4) However, sleeping more than 9 hours a night may be helpful for certain individuals such as young adults, people who are recovering from sleep deprivation, and people dealing with sickness. (5) If you are struggling to get quality sleep, check out our tips on how to sleep better. Have you noticed that you may feel more “awake” after getting less sleep? This happens sometimes when you’re sleep deprived. Your brain is working overtime to compensate for the sleep you missed by pumping cortisol (the stress hormone) into your body to keep you more awake. Over time, this can lead to emotion regulation issues, decreased cognition, and increased inflammation. (6, 7) Cortisol also increases glucose. (8) Does it matter when I sleep? When you sleep also has an impact on the quality of your sleep. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule has been found to help regulate your circadian rhythm, which is your body’s “internal clock” that helps you get sleepy at night and feel more alert and awake during the day. (9) Night owls often experience poor sleep quality. Going to sleep before midnight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, whereas individuals who go to sleep after midnight have been found to have a higher risk of psychological disorders, diabetes, and an overall shorter lifespan. (10) However, squeezing in extra sleep with daytime naps may benefit your overall health, if you’re intentional about it and they’re short. Research has found that naps lasting between 15-30 minutes are the most beneficial and can help increase alertness without affecting your ability to fall asleep at bedtime. (11) Daytime naps can also help maintain brain health as you age. Habitual naps have been linked to larger total brain volume and better cognitive performance. (11, 12) Naps that are an hour or longer have been studied to have several negative effects on health. That’s because naps lasting longer than an hour cause your body to go into the deepest level of sleep, called slow-wave sleep. Waking from this can cause something called “sleep inertia” and disrupt your alertness and wakefulness once your nap ends. (13) One study found that older adults who regularly napped for an hour or longer were 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than participants who did not nap (or napped for less than an hour each day). (14) Nappers have also been studied to have an increased risk for high blood pressure and stroke compared to non-nappers. (15) How sleep impacts your metabolism Sleep plays a huge role in your metabolism. (16) A lack of sleep causes an increase in insulin resistance, which impacts hunger and feelings of fullness. (17) It’s also been linked to craving junk foods that are high in carbs and sugar (18) and can make it harder to lose weight. Insufficient sleep has also been shown to lead to poorer glucose control the following day (2) and poor glucose control can lead to poor sleep. (3) While long-term consequences could mean metabolic issues down the road, like type 2 diabetes, the lack of glucose control will also have short-term implications for things outside of sleep like your memory, focus, and mood. (19) In addition to its impact on metabolism, sleep affects practically every part of your body, including your heart health, circulatory system, immune system, respiratory system, memory, cognitive abilities, and more. (9) A final note from Lingo Sleep is one of the most important factors for good physical and mental health. Adults should aim to sleep 7 to 9 hours each night for the most health benefits. Catching up on sleep with naps that are 30 minutes or less may benefit health, while naps longer than 1 hour may have negative health effects. Using a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help you understand your habits and patterns and work towards limiting glucose spikes, which may also improve your sleep.   Lingo is not a medical device and not designed to treat or diagnose any disease or illness. If you have medical questions or concerns regarding your glucose, please contact your doctor.

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Image for Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

Say no to nightcaps for better glucose and sleep

A drink in the evening after a long day might make you feel relaxed, but behind the scenes, the effects vary between individuals and don’t typically result in a good night’s rest. Even a small amount of alcohol can reduce your sleep quality. (1) Alcohol dehydrates your body, and many drinks contain carbohydrates. Both these factors make it harder for your body to stabilise your glucose. The carbohydrates in the drink can spike your glucose, leading to a rapid drop in energy levels. This can cause restless and disrupted sleep, which means you’ll feel less refreshed the next day. Increased glucose can also cause more frequent urination during the night, which can further disrupt your sleep. Good sleep helps glucose control Better sleep means less cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body during the night. And lower cortisol helps your body stay steady while you sleep. Sleep is vital to recharging your mind and body. A healthier combination If you do have alcohol in the evening, have some unsalted nuts and water with your beverage. The protein and healthy fats in the nuts support steady glucose, and the water works to keep you hydrated.

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How to sleep better: Tips for falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest

It's no secret that a good night's sleep is vital for your overall health and wellbeing. The impact of sleep extends beyond simply feeling refreshed; our shuteye influences our energy levels, physical health, mood, and daily activities. Although there is no one-size-fits-all advice, there are things you can do to help improve your sleep. And, since everyone has different biological factors and lifestyles, it’s best to try a few different strategies. Although it’s a common misconception that getting more hours of sleep per night means you’re getting better sleep, that’s not always the case. The quality of sleep is paramount, and your habits throughout the day and in the evenings can have a major impact on the quality of sleep you’ll get. You may have heard of the term “sleep hygiene.” This term was coined in the early 1970s and is used to refer to a sleep routine or sleep habits that are conducive to promoting good quality sleep and daytime alertness (1). This guide is intended to empower you to try several different sleep hygiene methods to improve your sleep naturally as you build healthier routines and habits that work for you. Why getting a good night’s sleep is important Sleep can make a huge difference to your overall health and wellbeing, making it one of the most important things to optimise in any health journey. Think about a time when you were sleep deprived – it's likely you didn’t feel like exercising, didn’t make the healthiest food choices, and had trouble concentrating and staying focused. Effects of lack of sleep When you don’t get enough quality sleep, it can disrupt your body’s ability to regulate glucose and increase your chance of glucose spikes and dips (2).  Dysregulated glucose can lead to fluctuations in mood and energy (3), cravings for starchy foods, and an increased risk of overeating (4). These foods then further disrupt your glucose. And so, the cycle continues. Poor sleep can also result in a reduced ability to fend off illness (5). While these are the short-term effects of sleep deprivation, a lack of sleep can also have a long-term impact on your health and wellbeing. Long-term consequences of sleep disruption in otherwise healthy individuals include hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease, weight-related issues, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer (10, 11). Poor sleep has also been tied to an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease (12). 8 ways to improve your sleep Here are our tips to set yourself up for a successful night of sleep. 1. Wind down your caffeine intake Your meal or snack choices can have a significant impact on your sleep. You might be aware that you should avoid stimulants such as coffee, some teas, and dark chocolate before bed as the caffeine can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Everyone metabolises caffeine differently. One person may be fine with their third coffee later in the day, while another may not be OK with even one coffee in the morning. To ensure a peaceful night’s rest, try cutting out caffeine at least six hours before bed and switching to decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas in the afternoon and evening. 2. Learn how different meal choices affect you Your meal choices throughout the day, and particularly around dinner time, can lead to dysregulated glucose beyond typical glucose spikes. This can make it harder to fall asleep and also disturb sleep quality (5, 6). Prioritise protein, fats, and fibrous vegetables as you reduce the amount of carbs on your plate. This helps to maintain steady glucose levels. Personalised coaching, such as that provided through Lingo, can help guide you towards making better meal choices, help motivate you, and help keep you on track with this crucial element of your sleep health. 3. Create a relaxing sleep environment Make your bedroom a calm, comfortable space that promotes restful sleep. Consider things like comfortable bedding, blackout curtains or an eye mask, or a white noise machine to help create your perfect sleep environment. These seemingly small touches can make a big difference. Avoid unnecessary clutter, as this can create a chaotic environment, which is not conducive to relaxation. Try to avoid working in your bedroom, as your brain starts associating the space with productivity and stress rather than relaxation and rest. 4. Limit screens before bed The blue light emitted by screens can suppress production of the sleep hormone melatonin and interfere with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. So, it’s best to avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bed, or switch to audio-only content like podcasts (but make sure the topic is relaxing!). If you’re used to replying to emails or studying in the evening, this might require setting a hard deadline. If your schedule doesn't allow for that much time between screen and sleep, consider installing a blue light filter for your screen and/or investing in blue light-blocking glasses. An additional issue with screens is that the content you’re viewing can be very stimulating, thereby increasing brain activity even if you feel relaxed and comforted at the time. Try to avoid watching TV and movies, playing video games, and scrolling through social media right before bed. Instead, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or listen to music or a podcast. 5. Avoid alcohol later in your day It’s a common misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. However, while alcohol might help you fall asleep quicker, imbibing leads to a more restless and disrupted sleep, creating a greater likelihood of waking up during the night. Alcohol before bed can drive a reduction in REM sleep, the phase of sleep that is crucial for dreaming, memory consolidation, and emotional regulation. Look to replace your evening cocktail or glass of wine with one of the following: Herbal teas: chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm are all known for their natural calming properties. Golden milk (turmeric latte): blend milk with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and a touch of honey for a comforting drink with anti-inflammatory properties. 6. Practice relaxation techniques While prioritising sleep is important all the time, it’s essential when you’re feeling overwhelmed. When you’re overly stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol, also known as the “fight or flight” hormone. Too much cortisol can not only affect your glucose, but also disrupt your sleep patterns. High cortisol levels have been linked to insomnia, waking up during the night, and less sleep time overall (8). Although it may be hard to get the quality sleep you need when you’re stressed, take time to relax and wind down before bed. You’ll feel better the next day. Techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to ease your mind and reduce your stress levels before bed. A simple breath technique involves inhaling slowly for a count of four and exhaling smoothly for a count of four. 7. Write down your thoughts If you feel anxious or worried about the next day, take a few minutes to jot down your thoughts or worries on a notepad next to your bed. You may even find it useful to write down your top three priorities for the next day. This can help you clear your mind and unwind. It can also be comforting to make note of three things you are grateful for. This practice can help shift your stress and help you feel ready for sleep. 8. Follow a bedtime routine (sleep hygiene) A consistent bedtime routine can signal to your body that it's time to wind down and get ready for sleep. This can include things like taking a warm bath, reading a book, or some light stretching. It’s also a good idea to wake up around the same time every day and get exposure to natural sunlight within the first couple hours of waking up to set your circadian rhythm. Use these tips as inspiration to create a regular routine that can significantly improve your sleep quality. Even making one or two adjustments can have a positive impact on both your sleep and your glucose. A final note from Lingo Quality sleep is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. The relationship between sleep and glucose is powerful, and when disrupted, has a wide array of health consequences. It’s beneficial to work towards better sleep to support your mood, energy, immune health, and more (10). Achieving better sleep requires a personalised approach, and Lingo is here to support you at every step.

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What is the connection between sleep and weight loss?

Ever since you were a kid, you’ve probably heard how important sleep is. This wasn’t just your parents being a buzzkill — quality sleep supports physical and mental health and impacts your energy, mood, focus, metabolic health, and more. (1) Additionally, good sleep habits are connected to weight management. (2) If you’re looking to lose weight and curious how important sleep is, keep reading to discover why good sleep is a key piece of the puzzle and how it supports your metabolic health. Does sleeping help you lose weight? Sleep doesn’t cause weight loss per se, but it is a critical part of successful weight loss efforts. The optimal amount of sleep for adults varies from person to person, but in general, science says sleeping 7-9 hours per night is needed to support good health. (3) It’s clear that disrupted sleep patterns contribute to increased calorie intake, poorer food choices, and undesirable changes in metabolism and the hormones that regulate it. (2) Metabolic syndrome and obesity are also associated with disrupted sleep patterns; research shows adults who consistently sleep less than 6 hours per night weigh more and have a higher body mass index (BMI). (4) The underlying connection between sleep and weight loss centers around metabolism. Below, we explain the science and provide tips for optimizing sleep for your health goals. The sleep-metabolism-weight connection Circadian rhythm is your “internal clock” that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, but did you know it also affects many physiological processes including glucose and fat metabolism? (5) During the daytime when the sun is up and you’re awake, your metabolic rate is churning and kicks into high gear after each meal, which raises body temperature slightly. Conversely at night in order to sleep, your body temperature lowers, and since you’re in a post-absorptive state (meaning you haven’t eaten in a while), your metabolism isn’t revved up. If any part of this pattern is disrupted, such as staying awake for extended periods, sleeping less than 7 hours, being awake late into the night or overnight (e.g. shift work), or consuming food during nighttime hours, your circadian alignment will be thrown off. Your metabolism isn’t geared towards processing food efficiently at night when it should be sleeping. Eating late at night, especially sugary or carb-rich foods this time of night when cells are more insulin resistant, causes higher and more variable glucose levels, and storage of calories as fat. (6) Without adequate down time, normal restorative processes are disrupted, which over time can wreak havoc on your metabolic health and weight loss goals. How sleep can support weight loss Adequate sleep allows proper functioning of your appetite hormones. Short sleep duration increases ghrelin (hunger hormone) and decreases leptin (satiety hormone), (7) not the combo you need when you’re awake longer and have more opportunity to eat. Studies show it’s not vegetables and protein that you’ll reach for when you haven’t slept enough, but rather ultra-processed, calorie-dense foods. (8) A good night’s sleep promotes daytime energy levels, making you more likely to be energized to work out. Exercise helps with weight loss as it increases the number of calories you burn in a day, helping to create a negative energy balance and gradual weight loss over time. Strength training specifically helps build muscle, which burns more calories at rest. Sleep stages are important for rest and recovery from exercise, allowing your body to get stronger and improve body composition: build muscle and burn fat. The body’s natural production and secretion of growth hormone, which is responsible for supporting healthy muscle and burning fat, occurs just after sleep onset and continues to rise during the first 4 hours of sleep. This becomes blunted without enough sleep. (9) Even if over time your total body weight on the scale doesn’t change much, eating right, strength training, and adequate sleep can help you lean out and have favorable changes to your body composition. Sleep tips for your weight loss journey Aim to spend more time in bed than you hope to sleep. Not everyone dozes off as soon as their head hits the pillow. This means if you got into bed at 11 p.m. and woke up at 6 a.m., you probably weren’t asleep the full 7 hours. Consider keeping a sleep journal or using an app or wearable device that can paint a slightly more accurate picture of your actual sleep time. Documentation can help keep sleep time a priority and top of mind. Consistency is key. Social jetlag refers to sleep and wake times varying more than 2 hours day to day and is associated with greater weight gain over time. (10) In reality, you will stay up later some nights, but try not to make varying sleep and wake times greater than 2 hours a habit. Consistent mealtimes can help anchor this habit and provide stable energy and physiological cues that it’s time to be awake, eat, or rest and sleep. The body thrives on routine. Awake at night? Go low carb. Research suggests that shift workers who follow a low-carb, ketogenic diet may protect themselves against some of the adverse consequences of consuming calories at suboptimal circadian phases. (11) Restricting carbohydrate intake can help create a calorie deficit for weight loss, as well as reduce fasting and postprandial glucose, both of which are linked to numerous chronic diseases. Schedule an early dinnertime. Eating too close to bedtime, especially if it’s a particularly large or high-carb meal, can inhibit processes that help your body get to sleep and stay asleep. Early time-restricted eating, for example only eating meals between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., is a proven method to successfully reduce daily calorie intake to facilitate gradual weight loss over time. (12) Give yourself a caffeine curfew. If you need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, instead of reaching for coffee or an energy drink, try having a snack with protein and healthy fats. This choice not only supports stable glucose levels and sustained energy, but also promotes satiety, potentially aiding in portion control during dinner and helping you stay within your daily calorie budget. Limit alcohol. Alcohol has 7 calories per gram (in addition to calories in mixers), lowers inhibitions, and disrupts sleep quality — all things that can derail your weight loss goals. While you may have experienced that alcohol helps you fall asleep, it tanks sleep quality and reduces time in each sleep stage. Effects carry over to the next day when you’re feeling hungover and tend to reach for ultra-processed foods, which are high in added sugars, salt, and fat. All of this can derail your weight loss plan. A final note from Lingo When you’re putting in the extra effort with your nutrition and exercise to lose weight and keep it off, make sure you’re not overlooking sleep. Reaching your weight loss goals takes a holistic approach that considers many lifestyle factors including nutrition, exercise, stress, and sleep. Insights into your metabolism with a continuous glucose monitor like Lingo can help keep your diet and sleep habits on track.

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