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May 24

Hidden benefits of isolation…..improved sleep and diet. Week end Blog 22nd May 2020.

Since isolation started, for me that was 13th March, I have become aware that I have been sleeping much better, particularly with regards to not waking up to go to the loo and then finding myself wide awake at the dreaded 2 am and not being able to get back until the early hours.  I have been commenting on this to my husband and friends only recently and then today I read some interesting research coming out of the US which confirms my own observation.

I have blogged recently about being a convert to the FITBIT and one of the features of it is to be able to track your sleep and its through the use of this app that this interesting data has emerged.

During Pandemic, We’re Sleeping More, Better, Especially Younger People

On average, US Fitbit users posted 20 more minutes of sleep per night in April than they did the same month a year earlier, potentially due to the lack of work and school commutes, Fitbit data shows.  The changing sleep patterns began in March when stay-at-home orders started with people sleeping longer in April globally.

In addition, the April data shows we went to bed an average of 13 minutes later, which means we got up later, and one minute or more of deep sleep, which can benefit cellular rebuilding and repair, make you feel more refreshed, and strengthen your immune system.

Once your body gets the deep sleep it needs, you start going into REM (rapid eye movement) and light sleep. REM is very important for emotion regulation and memory. It’s also the peak of protein synthesis at the cellular level, which keeps many processes in the body working properly.

Deep sleep is the sleep stage that is all about the body. The thinking parts of the brain go quiet. Muscles relax. You’re not dreaming and your body is doing a lot of rebuilding and repairing. Deep sleep typically makes up 10 percent to 25 percent (depending on your age) of your sleep.

Your body recharges while you sleep, repairing and building tissue and muscle. Levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, fall during the evening. Getting a recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night also boosts immunity.

An extra 20 minutes may not seem like a lot, but for many people it may make the difference between insufficient sleep, and enough sleep needed for better functioning. This is especially true for the millions of people out there getting just a little bit less sleep than they need. Also, 20 minutes per night, averaged over a month of recording, equates to about 10 more hours of sleep in 30 days. “Even small amounts of sleep can add up,” says Michael Grandner, MD, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona in Tucson and a Fitbit sleep consultant.

This week has seen my experimenting with new recipies, 10 weeks in and only one take away and my go to recipies are getting a bit repetitive!  Also wanting to use up the food efficiently after all the once a week shop is stressful enough without having to go and buy more food in between.   I have taken to wearing my mask now and rubber gloves and using the Sainsburys SMARTSHOP app on my phone, which is definitely a new better way to shop, scan the item and put it your bag, go to the check out put the bar code on your phone to the self service till and pay…. easy and safer too.

I am not a vegetarian but I do often opt for vegetarian choices as I enjoy them, so I have been trying a few new recipies, my first was a Tuscan Bean Stew.  I often find when I try a new recipie that I don’t always have exactly the correct ingredients in but making it using  similar alternatives often works, as it did with this one.   The recipe called for 3 ingredients I didn’t have in; celeriac, borlotti beans and pearl barley, I know this seems like it could be 3 crucial ingredients but I decided (based on what I had in) to not use celeriac, to use butter beans in place of borlotti beans and in place of pearl barley  I used Arborio which is a type of rice for risotto.

The remaining ingredients (which I did have in) where; olive oil, garlic (I always use lazy garlic), 2 leeks, 2 carrots, rosemary (I used dried), 400g tinned tomatoes, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 600 ml vegetable stock and  200g curly kale.  Very simply heat the oil in a deep pan and add the (sliced) vegetables and fry off for 5 mins then add the stock and rice and tomato puree and simmer for 20 mins and serve with crusty bread.

It tasted lovely, easily fed us both and with plenty left over for lunch the next day, why not give it a try………..

Stay safe more next week.


tuscan stew 1tscan stew





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