Find it challenging to get to sleep at night?
If there’s one thing I don’t skimp on it’s definitely SLEEP! Sleep makes me feel like a million bucks giving me all-day energy, leaving me feeling focused and motivated, as well as making it easier to make healthy choices throughout the day.
Unfortunately, trouble sleeping is one of the top complaints that I hear from my clients and friends. With family, work, and technology (yeah I’m talking about those late night TV shows) keeping us from getting to bed at a decent hour or from getting the deep sleep our bodies so need, a full nights sleep may seem like an impossible task. If that sounds like you then keep reading…
HERE’S WHAT SKIMPING ON SLEEP DOES TO YOUR MIND AND BODY
First, you may be wondering why it’s sooooo important to get those zzz’s in. Here’s why…
Lack of sleep can impact almost any and every aspect of your life…even without you noticing.
Have you ever had a disagreement with a spouse or co-worker that you blew out of proportion?
Have you ever missed your turn while driving, because you were spacing out?
Have you ever forgot about an important deadline?
This all could be due to lack of sleep.
According to Dr Mercola, lack of sleep dampens your ability to think clearly. It can lead to trouble processing information or making decisions. Additionally, it kicks your emotions into high gear.
Yikes! That may be why you’ve been so on edge lately.
Lack of sleep isn’t just about feeling tired the next day. Sleep effects your mental, physical and emotional well-being.
And it keeps getting better. Lack of sleep has been shown to have the same effects on your immune system as physical stress or illness! So if you keep getting sick, your lack of sleep could be another culprit.
Sleep is also often overlooked as an important piece of the fat loss equation. However, sleep is vital to boosting your metabolism and regulating hormones that increase fat burning. Lack of sleep leads to cravings, lack of fullness, and increased hunger.
Yes, that lack of sleep very well could be why you just can’t seem to put the cookie down!
So, if you want a healthier mind and slimmer body be sure to get those 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
7 TIPS TO BETTER SLEEP
There are many reason why people are sleep deprived. Maybe, your mind is racing, maybe you get physically restless, or maybe you fall asleep and wake up in the middle of the night and can’t seem to fall back to sleep.
And I get it…it’s NOT fun and can be very frustrating.
So that’s why I wanted to share with you some of my top sleep tips to help you get those zzz’s so you can feel better and more quickly reach your goals.
1) Create a Bedtime Ritual
Create a ritual that you can implement each night to wind down. This may include:
- We set alarms to wake us up, why not set one to go to sleep? Set an alarm 30-60 minutes before it’s time to go to bed. When it goes off stop what you’re doing and get ready for bed, no excuses.
- Allow your mind and body to unwind. Find some relaxing activities you enjoy that allow you to relax and get your mind off your daily stresses. This could be reading, journaling, or taking a relaxing bath.
- Avoid electronic devices. Put away all the distracting technology. Stop streaming Netflix, turn off the television, close the laptops and put away the smart phones. More on why this is so important in the next tip 😉
- Focus on positive thoughts before bed. You’ll fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed. An easy way to do this is to make a list of all the things you are thankful for. Not only will you sleep better but you’ll also be in a better mood.
2) Avoid Light Especially From Electronics
It’s best to avoid using lighted technology 30-60 minutes before bed. However, I understand we live in the 21st century, and even I am guilty of reading on my kindle before bed or unwinding with a good episode of Grimm, the Vampire Diaries, or the Big Bang Theory.
IF YOU MUST use lighted technology before bed there are few tricks that I’ve found to be super helpful:
These super cool orange goggles block out the rays that keep your body from producing melatonin naturally. I use them about an hour before bed each night and they TOTALLY work! I encourage you to join me in the fun. You can get a pair HERE and we can be goggle buddies. What do you say?
Ok, so if you can’t muster up the courage to give the goggles a try, you could also download a software that reduces blue light like f.lux (justgetflux.com). Now I honestly JUST found out about this so I haven’t had a chance to experiment with it yet, but it does sound rather promising.
F.lux adjust the lighting on your computer to reflect the time of day. It is not as effective as avoid lighted technology all together or the orange goggles, but is definitely helpful and better than nothing at all.
If you give it a try I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Now in addition to limiting light BEFORE bed, it’s also to minimize any lights while sleeping. This means closing the doors, getting black out curtains, covering your alarm clock, or covering anything else that is creating light in your bedroom. Our bodies continue to produce melatonin throughout the night, allowing us to get better sleep, and even the smallest bit of light can interfere with your bodies natural ability to do so.
Still can’t get it dark enough? Try a sleep mask!
3) Get Those Crazy Thoughts Out of Your Head
Often people cannot fall asleep because their minds are racing with all the things that they need to do or they wake up in the middle of the night in a panic. Keeping a journal on your night stand will allow you to jot down everything that’s running through your mind. This will tell your brain you don’t have to remember it anymore and will actually help you fall asleep faster.
4) Get Moving
As a fitness coach, I have to include exercise as one of my favorites here!
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep In America survey, those who regularly participated in vigorous exercise reported getting the best sleep. The key here is consistency so make sure you have a plan of action to get those workouts in 3-5 times throughout the week.
And it doesn’t have to be long. Getting up and moving several times a week, even just for a quick 15-20 minute workout, can help improve the quality of your sleep as well as help you fall asleep faster.
5) Rise & Shine
Did you know that getting a little sunshine when you first wake up will not only make you feel more awake, but it will also help you fall asleep at night? Light helps to regulate our biological clocks and keep us running on track.
According to research, our bodies are most responsive to sunlight between 6am and 8:30am. So grab your morning cup of coffee or newspaper and spend a few minutes outside on the porch each morning listening to the birds chirp and feeling that warm sun on your face.
6) Watch What You Eat Before Bed
Eating too close to bed can actually make it more difficult to fall asleep. Your body isn’t meant to be digesting a big meal when trying to fall asleep. So try eating dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed and if you MUST eat try a light meal.
This includes limiting alcohol in the evenings too!
7) What About Those Naps?
While a power nap can help restore energy levels in some people, it can cause others to have a hard time sleeping at night so always be sure to listen to your body.
I know personally I have to stick to a very short (20 minute) power nap before 3 pm. Longer naps leave me feeling tired and groggy and taking naps later in the day make it difficult for me to fall asleep.
If you do want to give a nap a try, it’s likely best to keep it short (10-30 minutes) and to take it in the mid-afternoon to keep it from interfering with your nighttime sleep. Listen to your body when it comes to napping or simply try getting to bed a little earlier if naps really aren’t your thing.
Now it’s time to take action!
I am challenging you to implement 1-2 tips from above and get those 7-8 hours of sleep each night for the next 7 days.