Sleep. The most overlooked factor in overall health. Getting some good Z’s is a major contributor that is typically undervalued, especially when it comes to weight loss. I have personally always had a love/hate relationship with sleep. I love a good night’s sleep, but I hate going to bed!
Often times playing volleyball abroad our practices would end late at night, leaving me full of adrenaline taking me hours to wind down. That second wind of energy that occurs after an exhausting long day is related to a higher cortisol level. Calories may be stored as fat when cortisol is at higher than normal levels. Cortisol levels begin torise around 10:30 11:00pm so head to bed before that for 7 hrs of shut eye.
Sleep allows for the restorative process to occur within the body. My schedule as a trainer has taught me to value of sleep on health and fitness. Training clients at 5:30am means I need to be functioning and fully awake! Now I crawl into bed around 8:30, asleep well before 10pm.
This did NOT come easy. I started to try different routines and created habits to ensure I get a good night's sleep. By creating habits that encourage restfulness, relaxation, and rest I have been able to get better sleep and maintain productivity throughout my day.
Here are 10 habits I have found key to getting amazing sleep
1 Get Moving!
Regular exercise can relieve insomnia and make for more restful sleep.
Participating in aerobic exercise 4 times a week is ideal.
2 Dim the Lights
I come home and turn on a lamp and light a candle. The body’s circadian rhythm
is controlled by a part of the brain that responds to light and darkness. Light
travels via the optic nerve to the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) signaling the
internal clock that you need to be awake or asleep. The SCN then sends signals
to parts of the brain that release hormones, regulate temperature, etc which can
make us feel more awake. Exposure to bright lights when it’s bedtime can delay
the release of melatonin that assists with our sleepiness.
3 Wash Off the Day
Relax mind and body. Showering after work gives me time to process the day,
decompress creating a transition period from work mode to chill mode.
Take time to sit down and eat dinner, push pause and be still. Share your day
with your family, converse. I rush through my meals during the day, squeezing in
snacks and lunch, dinner is my time to sit down and enjoy my food.
5 Prep for Tomorrow
Preparing my food for the following day means it’s ready to grab in the fridge in
the morning allowing for a longer nights sleep and one less thing to worry about.
6 Setting a Bedtime
Having a regular bedtime and wake time keeps that circadian rhythm within your
7 Make Your Bed
Pulling back the corner of my neatly made bed and crawling in! My routine for
getting a good night's sleep starts when I get out of bed in the morning! It’s like
you have a hotel maid.
8 Ban Devices in Bed
Blue light stimulation, caused by electronics, creates a block of melatonin which
signals sleep in the brain and body. Don't delay getting to that precious REM
9 Read a Book
If you aren’t feeling heavy in the eyelids yet, a good relaxing read transporting
you into a story, not real news or stressful reading. Skip the device reading, find
some old fashioned paperback reads.
10 Channel Your Inner Caveman
Let your bedroom be a cave, cool and dark. I sleep with an eye mask on
ensuring complete darkness.