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When was the last time you had great quality sleep? When was the last time you woke up feeling rested? If you can't remember, this blog post is for you! Sleep is important in many ways, and this has been shown over and over again. Lack of it can be very hard to make up for later. Did you know you can't "catch up on sleep"? Studies have shown that most people put "sleep" much lower on their list of priorities than "diet" and "exercise."
Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night at least. Everyone is different so you may require as little as 6 or as much as 9 hours of sleep. But make sure it's QUALITY sleep. Quality sleep leads to a much better day as you are fully recovered and can better concentrate.
In this blog post, I talk about sleep and how it helps your body, mind, and spirit heal, recover, and feel like new again. I am giving you tips and plans that you can use to improve the quality of your sleep.
There are many things you can do to improve your sleep. Here are a few tips:
Stick to a schedule
Even on the weekends, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps set your body's clock and makes it easier to fall asleep at night. I know that the weekends are for catching up with family and friends or a good Netflix show, but as we get older, sleep becomes more important. So don't be afraid to be "boring", if boring means looking out for yourself.
Create a sleep-conducive environment
Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool. Use comfortable bedding and pillows, and invest in a good mattress. There are some fabrics that I simply can't stand, so I avoid those when looking for sheets. My bedroom can't be too hot or too cold, otherwise either I can't fall asleep or can't stay asleep. How do you like your room temperature at night?
I also just switched to using these pillowcases and I love them because they don't get too hot. I also use this eye mask that has Bluetooth speakers to it - they are a game changer! And finally, I invested on a body pillow which helps me sleep better. Don't ask me why - it just does and I will not questions this logic.
Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol
These substances can disrupt your sleep, so try to avoid them, especially in the evening. Sometimes I need a bit of energy later in the day but I do not drink caffeine. If I do give in, I will not be able to sleep that night. My cut-off time for caffeine is no later than 1 pm. Try to figure out your cut-off that way you are mindful of your caffeine intake and don't accidentally keep yourself up all night. As far as nicotine or alcohol, I don't consume these, but if you do, try doing the same thing as with the coffee.
Limit screen time before bed
Melatonin, a hormone that helps control sleep, can be stopped from being made by the blue light that phones, tablets, and computers give off. Try to stay away from screens at least an hour before you go to bed. If you want to go an extra step, wear blue light filter glasses if you have to work later in the evening or if you spend time on your phone. If you don't want to wear the glasses, most if not all devices have a feature that allows you to limit or reduce the blue light.
Relax before bed
Develop a pre-sleep routine to help you relax before bed. This could include activities such as reading, meditating, or listening to calming music. You can also do some night-time Yoga to get your body to relax. Taking a hot shower or bath helps get you relaxed as well. I am crazy about lavender so I've been using this Calming Lavender Jergens Lotion. This works like a charm when I am trying to relax.
Regular exercise can help you sleep better as long as you finish your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. I like to do my workout in the morning or afternoon. But sometimes there is no time early in the day so I have to do an evening workout. I do notice that I get restless legs and excess energy so I try to avoid evening workouts. Of course, everyone is different, so experiment with this one. If you notice that you do get restless or energized, avoid exercising close to bedtime.
Avoid eating heavy meals or drinking too much before bed. A light snack is fine, but a heavy meal can make it harder to fall asleep. If you get hungry right before bed, hey, it happens sometimes then pay attention to your eating schedule during the day. Maybe you have been skipping meals or maybe you are eating too many hours apart. In any case, eating before bed can make you feel bloated, cause heartburn, acid reflux or cause intestinal distress.
Consider using white noise
Something that can help you sleep better as it can mask noise that might wake you up is white noise. The Bluetooth eye mask I have comes with white noise. I love listening to the forest one, for some reason it helps me relax and fall asleep faster.
Use Mindful Techniques
Consider mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization and progressive muscle relaxation can also help you wind down at night. When I have a particularly hard time falling asleep I turn to meditation. I start by laying in a comfortable position on my back. Then I work from my toes up to my head relaxing each part of my body with every breath.
Just a word of caution, it may take some time to see the effects of these changes, so be patient and persistent in implementing them. Have patience with yourself. If you try these tips and still have trouble sleeping, you may want to consult a doctor or a sleep specialist to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Hope this helps!
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As a passionate personal trainer, women's fitness specialist, life coach, and nutrition coach, I am dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals. With years of experience in the fitness industry, I am committed to empowering and guiding you on your journey toward a healthier, happier you. Let's work together to unlock your full potential and create a sustainable, balanced approach to fitness, nutrition, and overall well-being. Get ready to transform your life!