Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep

Research has shown that getting less than 8 hours of sleep a night will not only result in reduced energy levels, but it can also have an impact on mental and emotional wellbeing (1). Our body and mind require sleep to reset and rejuvenate, it’s a key time for muscle and organ repair and our minds to rest. 

Poor sleep also affects our hunger hormones,  ghrelin and leptin. Tired bodies are constantly searching for more energy to keep them going, so our bodies look to food to supplement this. This causes the ramping up of our hunger hormone ghrelin, and reduces production of leptin (which signals our mind that we’re full) (2). So our food cravings and giving in to temptation can be amplified by our tiredness. 

There’s lots of factors that play a role in a good night’s sleep, but one thing we can do to help obtain a better night’s sleep is setting up a bedtime ritual. Having a bedtime routine with ‘wind down’ time both promote melatonin production (1).

The Fresh Start team’s sleep improving habits: 

Nadia’s bedtime must – Has a household rule to have no technology or LED white lights at least 1 hour before bedtime – this means no mobile, tv, laptop or tablet

Amber’s bedtime must – Having dinner at least 2 hours before bed, so her body doesn’t have to focus on digestion 

Emma’s bedtime must – Loves to have a calming cup of chamomile tea or a warm shower to slow her mind and body

Some of the ways we reduce our caffeine intake to aim for a better night’s sleep:

  1. Reduce the number of coffees – If you’re a 2+ coffee a day kind of person, why not try cut back just one of these? The one latest in the day could make the most difference to your sleep patterns 
  2. Decaf coffee – you still get to enjoy the coffee and the ritual, without the added caffeine 
  3. Herbal teas – peppermint, chamomile, lemongrass & ginger are some of our favourites. Green tea is another delicious herbal tea, but does contain lesser amounts of caffeine (which can be a great tool to wean off the caffeine!).
  4. Kombucha – try ordering a kombucha or soda water from a cafe rather than opting for a hot drink. This will be even easier as the weather warms up! 


1.Bartel, K, Richardson, C & Gradisar M 2018, Sleep and mental wellbeing: exploring the links, Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, Melbourne.
2. Taheri, S., Lin, L., Austin, D., Young, T., & Mignot, E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS medicine, 1(3), e62. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062

Meet the Nutritionist

Emma ‘Edamame’

Our in-house nutritionist Emma ‘Edamame’ was born and bred in mid Canterbury and has the health and wellbeing of Kiwis in mind at all times. As an NZ registered nutritionist (NZ Nutrition Society) with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Auckland, she makes sure we’re all getting our fresh dose of local veggies and our meals are full of nutritious substance – thanks for having our back Em (and our waistlines!). When it comes to New Zealand produce, Emma is a whizz, with fresh berries being her absolute fave. Intrigued to know what food this nutritionist couldn’t live without? Fresh fish and seafood, delivering on both flavour and nourishment. As well as ice cream, especially real fruit ice creams, in the summer time! Life’s all about a tasty balance, right?

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