Improving Sleep

Hey MARCH!

Wow. What an exciting time! Spring is quite on its way (um, hello 60’s yesterday!) and it’s that time of year where change and beauty is in the air– and I totally love it.

Do you all feel like life is just GOOD?! Ahhhh. I love living.

Oh, the VEGA Sport Giveaway winner is:

Congratulations Krystal!! And thank you to all of you for entering! I loved reading your ideas of how you refuel after your workouts–I gotta try some of them.

(Krystal, I will email you to get your info to the VEGA people so you can claim your prize! Woot!)

Sleep

You know what I totally don’t love, though? Not getting enough sleep. And not being able to fall asleep.

SLEEP is one of my favorite things to do. I know that sounds kind of bad, sad, really anti-social and boring, but it really is my favorite time. If I don’t have that time or don’t enjoy that activity enough, the rest of my life is SO not as awesome.

Here’s what happens when I don’t get enough sleep:

  • I am cranky
  • I am moody and emotional (okay, MORE so than usual)
  • I crave more sugar and chips (this is proven science too -it’s because our hormones get thrown off!)
  • I am more likely to be short and argumentative with my husband
  • My work suffers because I feel less motivated
  • My fitness game gets thrown off
  • I am a less motivating fitness instructor, trainer, and coach

WOW.

{all I want when I didn’t sleep. hah}

Now ya’all see why I need sleep?!! That is quite the lengthy list. And this is why my husband has no problem letting me crawl into bed at 9:30, even when he’s all gung-ho about watching a movie or hanging out 😉

Something I’ve noticed as well is this : if you want to truly UP your fitness game and SUCCEED, you have to be able to sleep well.

Seriously, with all this great talk of step outside your comfort zone and getting magic to happen with your fitness goals and body fat losses, there is a KEY component that you must have (and which frankly, many don’t consider as key): having consistent, quality sleep.

I’ve already mentioned that sleep works and that it is magical–with all the health benefits associated with getting and having enough sleep, but I’ve never adressed the idea of how to go about improving sleep!

Improving Sleep

Falling asleep quicker, staying asleep longer, and having better sleep are more likely to occur when you do the following things:

  • Power off all technology at least 1 hour before bedtime. This is a hard thing to do when we’re all practically lost without our gadgets, but this has been shown to aide in participants’ falling asleep times and overall sleep quality. So get those blogs read earlier on and those texts sent around dinner time instead!
  • Stretch the muscles and foam roll. This has improved my falling asleep time SO much. I am more relaxed when I climb into bed, and thus nod off wayyyy quicker than if I had just hopped into bed sore (I often am) and tight. So yoga-lovers and foam roller people (yah!!) unite. Now is your chance to shine!
  • Avoid TV, intense movies, and scary books right before bed. This may be proven scientifically somewhere (not sure), but I can attest to the fact that my sleep is crappier when I just read a mysterious or scary book, watched a violent or intense movie, or had the TV on before bed. If you’re not sleeping well, try avoiding those items!
  • Eating something with protein, a little healthy fats, and some complex carbs in the evening. Eating high fatty (heavy) or sugary foods right before bed is a disaster waiting to happen. Ever eaten a really heavy restaurant dinner and then not be able to fall asleep even though you feel tired? Yah, you can thank your digestive processes for that. The science is in and this is what’s best : mainly protein, some healthy fats (think 1 Tb nut butter), and possibly a little complex carbs. These foods (and the combination of them) are not overly heavy or high in simple sugars, but have a nice ratio that the body can work with. The body switches to burning fat in the sleep cycle, and you don’t want it burning unnecessary sugary carbs do ya?! Plus, the body has something to digest and the amino acids in some protein foods has been proven to aide in sleeping.
  • Avoid drinking too much water or sugary drinks right before bedtime. It will be difficult to fall and stay asleep if you’re constantly running to the bathroom! Learn from me, the queen of using the bathroom a lot : it is not worth it to chug water or tea before bed….being up all night taking trips to the potty are not on my top 10, that’s for sure! I try to stop drinking water about 1 hour before bed, and then I have a sip right before bed. I sleep much, much better when it’s not interrupted by potty breaks!
  • Lay off of the caffeine early on! This is a huge one for a lot of people. When I drink caffeine (I sometimes have a diet coke with lime-maybe 3 times per year), and when I do, I have to time it so it’s drunk before 2 p.m., or else I am a wild child at bedtime! (read: not fun). Try to stop the caffeine flow by 2 or 3 p.m. (if you’re bedtime is around 9 or 10 p.m.) Caffeine has been proven to cause difficulty in sleep patterns and as a huge interrupter of sleep. Plus, see above as to why drinking before bed is not a good choice….
  • Try to avoid high intense exercise right before bedtime. The jury is still out on this one, but for the most part, really high intense exercise right before bedtime is not ideal. But I’m talking like a half-hour to an hour before bedtime, not 5 or 6 in the evening. If you’ve had trouble sleeping and you’re a hardcore exerciser right before hopping into bed, you may want to revise that routine and see if that helps your sleep.
  • Sleep in a dark, quiet, cool room. This will help you stay asleep. Funny story: I can not sleep with ANY light. No phone lights, no computer lights, no blinking fire alarms, nada. But, I sleep reeeeaaalllllyyyy good. (Plus I try to turn down the heat before bed and I don’t live near a busy road). So yes, try those :)

I know that I am a much livelier person in the morning (and during the day) and don’t crash at 3 p.m. or crave candy bars at 4 p.m. WHEN I sleep well. It is amazing the difference when I don’t sleep well, however……

{source}

….and we’ll leave it at that 😉

Thankful Thursday

  1. I am grateful for answers to prayers! I am religious (as some of you know) and prayer is a HUGE thing to me. Gives me so much peace!
  2. I am thankful that I have awesome polka dot pajamas!
  3. I am grateful that I have an electric toothbrush-I love that thing.

What do YOU do to help you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep??! What can YOU not sleep with?! What are YOU thankful for today??!

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Comments

  1. I always go to bed a half an hour BEFORE I actually want to be sleeping. I pull out my kindle and read until my eyes won’t stay awake any longer!

  2. i usually don’t have trouble sleeping since i’m so wiped from the day. but the thing that helps me when i need a little extra relaxation? serenity! you got me hooked! :)

  3. I love my sleep. I need between 8-9 hours to feel good so I always try to make sure I’m going to bed a decent hour! With school and studying I don’t usually have a problem falling asleep haha

  4. I agree, getting enough sleep is so important! When I dont get enough sleep, I get cranky and have no motivation to do anything.

    My mom has been having trouble sleeping the last few weeks, so I’ll pass these tips on to her! Thanks for sharing. :)

  5. oh i hear ya on the crankiness, irritablity, and sugar cravings when i don’t get enough sleep! let’s just say my husband or my co-workers or my body does not enjoy me. ha! i’m definitely one of those people that needs a good night of sleep to function well. i’m all around a better person when i get a good night of sleep!

    today i am thankful for the beautiful snow outside. even though i’m ready for spring, it sure is pretty to look at!

  6. i love my sleep too, i feel best when i get a full 8 hours.

    I rarely have trouble getting to sleep..especially on the days that I have woken up at 5 am to go and workout..i have trouble staying up past 9 pm on those days. otherwise, honestly, my workouts keep me energetic during the day and then more then willing to get quickly to sleep when i need to. I only have issues if i’ve drank caffeine too close to bedtime 😉

    Today I am thankful for veggies…i am planning on having a good mix of them for dinner tonight :)

  7. I sleep about 4- 4 1/2 hrs a night and that’s optimum for me….
    I posted my thankful post on my blog earlier! it IS thankful thursday :)

  8. I need 7-8 hours! I’m a sleep junkie. I think I would sleep better if I didn’t have 2 little doggies pushing me around all night.

  9. Haha I’ve definitely mentioned a few times that sleep has been eluding me, but it’s been getting better! I try and stop snacking and drinking earlier, which has helped keep me from waking up in the middle of the night!

  10. I have a hard time falling asleep. When I REALLY can’t sleep I take Melatonin, which is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland. It helps me fall asleep naturally and stay asleep through the night. I wake up refreshed and happy!

    One thing my husband and I did when we moved was to NOT put the TV back in our bedroom. By making our room a place for sleep and sex only, our bodies know it’s shutdown time when we lay down. It works!!

  11. Your post is very timely- once again! I just posted that one of my March goals is to improve the quality of my sleep. I have no trouble falling asleep- it’s staying asleep that I sometimes struggle with. I read in Jackie Warner’s book that it can help to eat some cottage cheese before bedtime… ever heard that? And that the casein can help muscle repair while you sleep?
    My husband loves the room cold, but I freeze! I wear socks and long pants to bed year round.

  12. I am the QUEEN of drinking too much water before bed. When I don’t get enough in during the day, I drink a lot when I get home. Such a terrible idea. I’m up like eleventy billion times :(

  13. caroline says:

    usually I have no problems falling asleep. I need it very dark and slightly chilly.

  14. I feel like I do the majority of these, but naturally end up waking up anywhere between 4:30-5:30 every day! Then again, I DO go to bed at 9:30 8)

    And I love your tidbit on prayer! I don’t know what I’d do without it!

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