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Why do I wake up tired? PT Rachael Attard shares her tips for getting a better night’s sleep

A top personal trainer has shared her advice for waking up refreshed to those who still feel tired after sleeping for seven or more hours each night.

Rachael Attard, from Sydney, said there are things people can do during the day and before going to bed to ensure they get a good night’s rest. 

In a post to Instagram, the nutritionist revealed the health impacts of not getting enough sleep from weight gain to depression and anxiety and even a low libido. 

Personal trainer, Rachael Attard (pictured), has revealed her top three tips for those who wake up feeling tired after seven or more hours sleep

The Sydney nutritionist revealed the health impacts of not getting enough sleep from weight gain to depression and anxiety and even a low libido (stock image)

The Sydney nutritionist revealed the health impacts of not getting enough sleep from weight gain to depression and anxiety and even a low libido (stock image)

Rachel said a third of adults are sleep deprived which can be ‘stressful’ on the body. 

‘High stress causes high cortisol (and eventually low cortisol if the stress goes on long enough),’ she wrote.

‘Your body will always prioritise cortisol over sex and thyroid hormone, so these hormones will also suffer.’

The imbalance of cortisol and sex and thyroid hormones, Rachael said, can lead to consequences including weight gain, feeling hungrier and eating more, fatigue, depression and anxiety, and a low libido. 

Personal trainer Rachael Attard’s thee tips for getting better sleep 

1. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day

  • Don’t eat within two hours of going to bed
  • Ensure your room in dark and cool
  •  Avoid screens and bright lights two hours before bed
  • Get 10 minutes of natural sunlight upon waking 

2. Prioritise daily movement 

  • Resistance training
  • Walking
  • Restorative forms such as yoga and stretching 

3. Optimise your diet

  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine 
  • No caffeine after 10am
  • Reduce sugar
  • Eat high protein and fat 
Rachael recommended prioritising daily movement by going on walks, practising 'restorative forms' such as yoga and stretching and doing resistance training

Rachael recommended prioritising daily movement by going on walks, practising ‘restorative forms’ such as yoga and stretching and doing resistance training

Citing Matthew Walker’s book Why We Sleep, Rachel said regularly getting less than six hours sleep can also cause insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, a weakened immune system, increased risk of some cancers or Alzheimer’s and depression and anxiety.

The fitness guru offered her three ‘simple’ tips for getting a better night’s sleep starting with going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. 

She said not to go to bed within two hours of eating and to make sure the bedroom is ‘dark and cool’.

Optimising your diet by reducing caffeine, alcohol and sugar as well as eating high protein and fats can help you feel more rested

Optimising your diet by reducing caffeine, alcohol and sugar as well as eating high protein and fats can help you feel more rested

Because light inhibits melatonin, the hormone that helps control seep patterns, avoiding screens and bright lights two hours before bed is also a good idea.

Eight health impacts caused by sleep deprivation  

  1. Weight gain
  2. Feeling hungrier and eating more
  3. Fatigue
  4. Depression and anxiety
  5. Low libido
  6. Further sleep issues
  7. Thyroid conditions
  8. Other hormone imbalances

Source: rachael_attard/Instagram 

10 minutes of natural sunlight as you wake up in the morning can trigger the body into feeling more alert.

Rachel’s second tip is to prioritise daily movement by going on walks, practising ‘restorative forms’ such as yoga and stretching and doing resistance training. 

Optimising your diet by reducing caffeine, alcohol and sugar can help you feel more rested. 

Rachael also said not to consume caffeine after 10am and to eat high protein foods and fats. 

She admitted she didn’t get enough sleep in the week previous and her new goal is to sleep for eight hours each night. 

This isn’t the first time Rachael has waxed lyrical about the benefits of a good night’s sleep. 

She listed having eight hours of quality sleep in her five top tips to re-balance your hormones in order to have your healthiest year yet. 

In her work Rachael has experienced ‘every type of hormone imbalance under the sun’. 

What she has learned from this work is that your lifestyle makes ‘all the difference’.

‘No amount of supplements are going to work if you don’t address your lifestyle,’ Rachael posted on Instagram.

Previously Rachael listed having eight hours of quality shut-eye in her five top tips to re-balance your hormones in order to have your healthiest year yet

 Previously Rachael listed having eight hours of quality shut-eye in her five top tips to re-balance your hormones in order to have your healthiest year yet

1. Get eight hours of quality sleep 

The first thing Rachael said is key for re-balancing your hormones is focusing on getting good quality shut-eye as many nights as possible.

The personal trainer recommends eight hours, but said anywhere between seven and nine should allow your body to restore lost muscle fibres and replenish itself for the day ahead.

‘A lack of sleep leads to increased snacking and a slower metabolism,’ Rachael said.

‘But worse than this, it has a direct impact on two weight loss hormones: ghrelin and leptin.

‘Ghrelin sends signals to the brain, telling us when it’s time to eat. Leptin tells the brain that you’re full. 

‘When we’re sleep deprived, the body produces more ghrelin and less leptin. As a result, we might eat more than we should because we will feel hungrier.’  

The PT recommends setting a sleep schedule and switching off from technology at a similar time every night to make sure you get the required shut-eye.

You could also take a warm shower about an hour before bed to get in the mood for sleep and sip on a chamomile tea to calm your central nervous system. 

Rachael listed the signs of a healthy gut including eating any food without feeling gassy, bloating or having issues with bowels movements

Rachael () listed the signs of a healthy gut including eating any food without feeling gassy, bloating or having issues with bowels movements

2. Work on your gut health

The second thing Rachael said you should think about if you want to re-balance your hormones is your gut health.

Rachael listed the signs of a healthy gut including eating any food without feeling gassy, bloating or having issues with bowels movements.

The PT recommends taking probiotics and supplements for good gut health but said the quality of the products matter. 

‘To find a good probiotic, I recommended one with at least 10 strains of bacteria, at least 30 billion CFU (or more) and one that has the number and letters posted after each probiotic strain,’ she said. 

She also said it’s key to make sure you get some down time, ‘even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day’ as well as finding something to calm you don’t if you’re feeling stressed. 

Rachael said consuming less sugar will automatically put your hormones in better shape, and she recommends cutting sugar from each meal one by one

Rachael said consuming less sugar will automatically put your hormones in better shape, and she recommends cutting sugar from each meal one by one

3. Eat less sugar

In a similar vein to working on your gut health, Rachael said consuming less sugar will automatically put your hormones in better shape. 

She aims for as little processed sugar as possible, and instead only has sugar via fruit – which is a more natural alternative.

‘The easiest way to cut out sugar is to make an effort each week to cut out the sugar from one meal at a time,’ Rachael said.

‘For example, if you usually eat cereal for breakfast, have a healthy smoothie, oats or a piece of whole meal toast with an omelette. Keep your other meals the same as usual and just implement these changes one by one.’

The PT said that by doing things this way, you will slowly and gradually cut out the sugar, until you reach a point when you don’t even notice you’re no longer eating it.

Rachael recommends people with imbalanced hormones flood their diets with healthy fats - which can be found in avocado, extra Virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish

Rachael recommends people with imbalanced hormones flood their diets with healthy fats – which can be found in avocado, extra Virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish

4. Eat more healthy fat

Instead of sugar, Rachael recommends that people with imbalanced hormones flood their diets with healthy fats – which can be found in the likes of avocado, extra Virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds and oily fish.

‘Good fats are essential for numerous health reasons, such as cell growth, hormone production and making the absorption of some vitamins (A, D, E & K) possible,’ Rachael said.

‘Good fats are also an excellent energy source, that leaves you feeling satiated for an extended period of time.’

5. Reduce stress

Finally – and most importantly – Rachael said the main key to rebalancing your hormones is reducing your overall stress load, and the stress on your body.

‘Stress isn’t just mental,’ she said.

‘There are lots of other factors that are stressful on your body – including being constantly busy and not having any down time, overtraining, binge eating, travel, emotional issues, being a perfectionist and having gut issues.’

The shocking impact of stress revealed 

1. WEIGHT GAIN: The first thing Rachael noticed with her adrenal fatigue was weight gain. ‘For your body to lose weight or just maintain a healthy weight, your hormones need to be optimal,’ she said. ‘In times of stress, your body produces high amounts of cortisol, which causes your body to store fat.’

2. WATER RETENTION: Closely linked to weight gain is water retention. ‘When stressed, your body loses electrolytes,’ Rachael said. ‘An imbalance of these causes water retention.’ When combined with high levels of inflammation, she said you are likely to be ‘extremely puffy’. 

3. HYPOTHYROIDISM: Rachael explained that the stress hormones (especially cortisol) are produced by your adrenal glands, and your body needs adrenal hormones for survival. Because it can survive without your other hormones, it will prioritise cortisol. As a result, all your other hormones will suffer, including thyroid, sex hormones, insulin and leptin. All of this leads to weight gain.

4. GUT HEALTH: Finally, stress impacts your gut microbiome, and poor gut health has a huge impact on your adrenals. Taking charge of your gut health will help with overall stress hugely.

Source: Rachael Attard 



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