SleepTalk with Wakefit: In Conversation With Holistic Health Coach Manasa Rajan

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“The quality of our sleep determines our metabolism, our adrenal response, our appetite, how stressed our body feels and ultimately our weight!”

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This month, Manasa Rajan, a nationally and internationally loved holistic health coach who does everything health at cure.fit, shares some of her wellness secrets with Wakefit. Talking about her journey of becoming a holistic health coach, Manasa says that it was a natural transition from a personal health journey to a life and career choice. “Now of course, the understanding of this deeper connection between our food choices and health drives all areas of my work, even in the Food Design process at Eat.fit”, she adds. 

Speaking of her personal philosophy of living a holistic life and how a good night’s sleep features right on top, Manasa says, “Sleep is something I never take for granted, it is always a priority. I plan my workouts around how rested I am.” She even limits her caffeine intake and makes sure to meditate more whenever her sleep is disturbed.  

The connection between sleep and food isn’t skin-deep. Acknowledging the same, Manasa says that the quality of sleep we get plays a big role in determining our metabolism, our adrenal response, our appetite, how stressed our body feels, and ultimately, our weight. 

Snacking before bed is usually frowned upon as a bad sleep practice because it prevents the body from focusing on cellular recovery and regeneration. To avoid the craving and ensure that the last meal of the day is taken at least two to three hours before bed, Manasa suggests that you treat yourself to sufficient whole sources of carbohydrates at dinner. Her suggestions include, sweet potatoes, lentils, brown rice, and carrots. These foods will get your body ready for the deep sleep phase. Foods that one should completely avoid before bedtime, especially if you are struggling with sleep, include sugary foods, caffeine and alcohol. Manasa says that while the first two tend to come in the way of falling asleep, alcohol is the culprit that disrupts the deep restorative sleep phase. 

The main problem area when it comes to bad food habits that Manasa has noticed is the overly processed foods with refined sugar and chemicals that are present in people’s diet, and about which they aren’t even fully aware of. She tells us that most of the conversation around food is so calorie-centred that the quality of food is not even considered by people, which is the most damaging, as it impacts health. 

While coaching people, the most common sleep complaint that Manasa comes across is stress-related sleep problems. Sleep habits that push one’s bedtime to early morning hours, such as late work or bingeing on a series, can look innocent but can have detrimental effects on your health. Circadian rhythm and sleep are important for other factors like hormones, metabolism, reducing inflammation etc. in the body. So, creating a ‘sleep hygiene’ around bedtime and moving the bedtime a bit earlier is her constant advice. 

At Wakefit, we swear by the idea that a good sleep environment is crucial for good sleep, and that has been the guiding force behind every product that we create. Simple sleep hygiene practices that Manasa follows are keeping the room dark with no night lamps and keeping it cool with an open window to allow in fresh air. She also makes sure that she avoids screens at least an hour before bedtime. She tells us that she loves sipping on warm herbal tea in order to wind down and get herself ready for bed. You can try it too. All you need to do is take a few mint leaves or pounded lemongrass stalk, and steep it in warm water. Manasa shares that this tea hydrates her and also helps her calm down, which is why it is her comforting sleep ritual before bed. 

With COVID-19 being a new reality, improving one’s immunity has become more crucial than ever before. Shedding light on it, Manasa advises prioritizing restful sleep of seven to nine hours a day. Get some time in the sun daily, every morning after waking up, for your circadian rhythm and for absorbing vitamin D, she adds. Her other suggestion is to exercise outdoors or at your home where sunlight can find you. Sipping some spice tea that has cloves, peppercorns, grated ginger, turmeric and fennel seeds in it can give protective anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Keep topping the drink with warm water, and drink it through the day, she says. This tea also helps with improving digestion and absorption of nutrients. 

Manasa has been a health coach for almost a decade now. Talking about the attitude and awareness of people regarding wellness in India, she says, “There has been a progressive shift in the understanding of health and an increased expectation of the quality of life & wellness. This means a shift in focus, from weight to disease prevention, fitness, energy, immunity, hormonal balance & much more!” 

Quick-fire questions!

  1. What is your favourite thing to do before bed? 

Put some essential oil in a diffuser and stretch before I am ready to sleep.

  1. What is that one tip everyone wants from a wellness coach? 

How to lose a few kilos…

  1. What do you do when you are not feeling motivated enough to work out? 

I stretch and do some yoga moves that feel good.

You can find Manasa Rajan spilling her health secrets here

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