Get The Rest You Need At Night! Sleep and Healthy Eating: Practical Habits For Professionals - #2

Why Sleep Is Important… And How To Get It.

Sleep is one of those things many of us sacrifice; yet sleep is critical for us to stay sharp and for our bodies and minds to repair our mental, physical and emotional well-being.

About 2% of us need less than 8 hours sleep each day for optimal performance… so chances are you’re with me in the 98% group.

This blog is part two of a three part collaborative series in which you get two trainers/coaches and public speakers for the price of one. I have co-written this blog again with my friend Bruce Mayhew, a professional communication coach who owns Bruce Mayhew Consulting ( In it we explore ‘Why sleep is important,’ with Bruce and ‘How and what to eat at night to promote a great sleep,’ with me. 

Although it takes effort to implement healthy lifestyle habits for yourself and/or for the people on your team, the return on investment is tremendous.

 How Far Can We Push Ourselves Before We Break? 

Like most things, our bodies AND minds will allow us to compromise our sleep/repair cycle for a short while… but eventually our bodies (and minds), need to be cared for. Put differently.

  1. Most of us can walk 8-10 kilometers.
  2. Some of us can speed-walk or run 8-10 kilometers.
  3. Almost nobody can run 8-10 kilometers every day with 4-6 hours sleep (the 2% mentioned above).

While some pressure helps us reach new goals, the constant pressure many of us are under… or put our staff under is not beneficial, especially when we sacrifice our sleep. This constant pressure is a major reason why our society is seeing epidemic numbers of:

  1. Unhappy, anxious employees
  2. Unhappy partners / parents
  3. Weigh/physical health issues
  4. Burn-out
  5. Depression
  6. Absenteeism / disengagement
  7. Increased social costs
  8. Increased insurance costs
  9. More pressure being put on partners and / or co-workers

Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

When we get 8 hours sleep we are able to think creativity and strategically. In the morning we are also much less irritable and short-tempered (all good for a productive career).

And yet most business people, police officers, construction workers, stay-home parents, students of all ages are pushing ourselves – perhaps beyond our long-term capacity. 

Rest Improves Memory.

A recent study mentioned online in Scientific American states that Memory Improves with Sleep.

Sleep Isn’t Our Only Option

Rest can include meditating – sleeping or otherwise relaxing / daydreaming. In fact, 20 minutes of deep meditation or hypnosis has the same benefit as an hour of sleep!

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California and her co-authors believe that when we rest or sleep, our brains are still at work – but working on good things like sorting through the pervious day’s experiences and problems. For example – have you ever woken with the perfect answer to a challenge you were struggling with the previous day?

How To Get More Sleep

At least an hour before bedtime, start winding down, turn off electronics and go for a walk, read a book, or even have a conversation with someone. Or, do something constructive yet relaxing, such as an art or craft.  TV/Video/Computers keep you wired up, so you can’t sleep.

Most millionaires and billionaires get on average 8 hours sleep a night.

In terms of eating, eat a balanced dinner – which includes a vegetable, a protein (chicken, fish, turkey, etc.), and a healthy fat (i.e. olive oil dressing on your veggies/salad, an avocado, olives, etc). This will give your body everything it needs to repair and regenerate from the day. It will also help prevent sugar/carbohydrate cravings late at night, which if you indulge, will often keep you up, or wake you up during the night. Often a high-carbohydrate dinner, like a plate of pasta with nothing else, will often make you hungry or have sweet cravings an hour or so later.

If you do feel yourself getting a bit hungry later in the evening, eat something small. Going to bed hungry may keep you up, or wake you up in the middle of the night! People are often afraid of eating in the evening due to weight concerns, but as long as it is something light, (like something I have suggested below), it’s actually beneficial.  Especially if it keeps you from waking up ( in the middle of the night.

Healthy evening snack options include a small bowl of oatmeal, an egg, a low sugar/low carb protein and greens shake (I like LOVE by Purium!), or a small handful of almonds. Avoid caffeine, starchy carbohydrates, junk food, or fruit, as they may keep you awake. Also, try to have your evening snack at least an hour and a half before bedtime to let your blood sugar levels return to normal. Check out the LOVE shake below, and ask me how to get it if you are interested!


If you work all day, don't work at night – after a full day of work, decisions, stresses and reports, our brains need a break – too many of us are constantly preoccupied with work all day… and all night… and that impacts our ability to sleep, rest and repair our body and mind. 

Although it takes effort to implement healthy lifestyle habits for yourself and/or for the people on your team, the return on investment is tremendous.

Our bodies and our minds need rest to be at our best.