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Do you need less sleep as you get older? We asked the experts

Ever noticed that you need less sleep now than when you were in your teens or 20s? Until earlier this year, Strong Women contributor Alice Porter felt like a groggy mess without a full nine hours’ kip – but is now perfectly happy with two hours less. And it turns out that’s totally normal for someone in their mid-20s. 

So, why do our energy levels change as we move towards our 30s, and what does that mean for our rest and recovery? She investigates what our sleep needs tell us about our maturity levels.

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This simple activity can help relieve your period pains (and it doesn’t involve meds)
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Banish post-festival or holiday blues with this energising full-body workout

If you’ve just come back from a festival or holiday abroad, you’re probably feeling a little flat. There’s nothing more energy-sapping than returning home after a brief spell of swimming every day in the Med or dancing ‘til 3am. This workout, however, has been designed to banish those back-to-real-life blues once and for all. Trainer Janine George kicks things off with an explosive energiser circuit of high jumps and squat rotates to get the blood pumping and the body limber, before going into a full-body workout that’ll hit every muscle.

Not a Strong Women Training Club member yet? Sign up now for your free 14-day trial and get access to our library of strength training videos as well as more than 100 technique videos. You can also take advantage of exclusive discounts and offers, plus delve into in-depth articles with tips and advice from fitness experts.

WATCH THE FULL WORKOUT HERE

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In partnership with Yakult
This is what being stressed is doing to your gut and how to fix it

Did you know that your gut and your brain are in constant communication via something called the gut-brain axis? That line of communication means that when it comes to feelings of stress and anxiety, your gut can respond with symptoms like digestive issues and stomach pain. Equally, if you don’t feed your gut with a diverse range of microbiome-boosting foods, including fruits, vegetables, and legumes, you may start to feel the effects mentally. Brain fog anyone? 

When it comes to keeping the mental side of that axis in check, you can try proven stress-reducing techniques such as journaling, meditation, physical exercise and getting out and about in nature. As for your gut, try and aim for a plant-focused diet full of gut-loving fibres like vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and fermented foods. 

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The real reason why the start of every run can be so painful (even when you love running)
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Nadia Gilani, aka The Yoga Dissident, is a yoga teacher and author of The Yoga Manifesto

I always start the day with… quiet time, even if that means waking up at 6am and staring at the ceiling before I hurl myself onto my yoga mat. I have a decaf coffee as soon as I’m out of bed – I know that might sound pointless, but I used to be a nervous wreck until I quit caffeine last year. It’s changed my life for the better.

When I don’t feel like exercising, I… have to remind myself that I’ve never regretted a session. The hardest thing is showing up. I still argue with myself when I can’t face moving, but there’s nothing for it but to get that sports bra on and get cracking!

My go-to habit in times of stress or low energy is… a walk with purpose. It might be a walk listening to a podcast, walking to daydream or simply a quick mull around. My favourite thing in the world is lying on grass and gazing at the sky, feeling myself sinking heavier and heavier with every exhale, like the earth has got my back, so walking to a space I can do this is usually my go-to habit. Calm is usually restored when I get out of my head and into my body. 


Join us at the ASICS London 10K

On Sunday 10 July, Strong Women will have a dedicated wave at the iconic ASICS London 10K event, and we’d love you to be involved. Sign up now for the exclusive price of just £20 (RRP£49) – £5 of every ticket sold will be donated to Safe Spaces Now to help deliver educational programmes needed to inspire behavioural change.

JOIN THE STYLIST STRONG WOMEN WAVE

Fight inflammation with this walnut, roasted grape and ricotta sourdough toast

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a good old piece of toast – but we’re not talking about a scraping of Marmite on a tired bit of sliced bread. Not only is this walnut brittle, roasted grape and ricotta recipe an elevated take on the humble sourdough, but it’s also packed with plant-based omega-3 – a nutrient you can often struggle to get enough of if you don’t regularly eat fish.

Walnuts contain more omega-3 and other antioxidants than any other nut, and a single serving provides the recommended dose of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 you get from plants. Studies have found that each gram of ALA you eat a day can lower your risk of dying from heart disease by 10%, while the polyphenols in walnuts have also been proven to fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Your morning toast just got an upgrade.

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Image credits: Getty; Stylist; Nadia Gilani; ASICS London 10K, UN Women UK Safe Spaces Now, Limelight Sports Club; Louise Hagger
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