How to Sleep Better
Written by: Caroline Ofenstein
If you try to move your body daily and have a workout routine you enjoy, chances are you’ve also thought about what you’re eating. Maybe you have nutrition goals you set for yourself and even track your food. But what about tracking your sleep? Do you make sure you get at least seven hours of Z’s each night?
I bet you’ve felt the effects of a poor night’s sleep at some point your life, which include grogginess, lack of energy and motivation, extra hunger, mental fog, and the list goes on. Sleep can have a major impact on your workouts, your hormones, body composition, and your overall health.
Without proper sleep, your immune system doesn’t have enough time to recover and heal injuries and your hormones, like glucose and cortisol, aren’t regulated efficiently. This leads to poor recovery, feeling fatigued, and overeating. Not to mention crankiness.
Our bodies need sleep to recharge and without adequate sleep (7-10 hours for most people) we increase our risk for diabetes, obesity, hypertension and other health issues. The good news is that more and more research is being done on sleep and the results have helped us come up with the below tips to get you that extra beauty rest!
Let's get to some tips, shall we?
#1 Create a sleep schedule
Give yourself a goal of hours of sleep each night and make sure your bedtime will allow you to reach that number. Create a nighttime routine to help you wind down and go to bed at a similar time every night. Don't forget to power down electronics at least 1-hour before going to bed.
If you use your phone as an alarm clock, stop! Purchase a cheap alarm clock ASAP from a local store and set it to wake you up at the same time every single day. Remember, if you win the morning, you win the day! Plus, waking up at the same time every day will put your body to sleep much faster at the end of it.
#2 Eat early & healthy!
Try to eat your last meal two hours before you want to go to sleep and don't forget to skip the booze. The sugars in alcohol and some foods spike your insulin levels and can disrupt your sleep rhythms. Not to mention, your body needs at least several hours to fully digest the nutrients you are putting into it. If you eat and go to sleep immediately not only will you have interrupted REM sleep, but your body will convert most of the food immediately into fat storages.
Give yourself time to digest properly before going to bed.
#3 Cut back on caffeine
If you are one of those people that needs an afternoon coffee, take a look at your diet and try to cut out any caffeine later in the day. Chances are that something you ate is causing your afternoon slump. Tackle your nutrition and then ditch the extra stimulants. Having the proper amount of sleep every night (and eating healthy) will leave you with a lasting amount of energy during the day. That 2:30 slump won't be there if you got enough sleep the night before.
Try adding lemon squeezes to your water instead of having another cup of coffee. Natural stimulants like lemon water, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan sea salt and more have been known to boost energy levels without the addition of caffeine.
#4 Power down electronics
Put down your phone, computer, Netflix, etc. before bed. The blue light emitted from electronics interferes with melatonin production and body temperature, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep. Try picking up a good ol’ paperback book instead of scrolling through Instagram. You will learn more from reading a book rather than scrolling through hundreds of images. Enlighten the mind, not your retinas before bedtime.
Put these tips and tricks into practice and see if you can increase your sleep hours! Improved energy levels, immune function, and workout recovery are awaiting you in the morning :) And of course, let us know what you think down in the comment section!
Caroline Ofenstein, CFL1, Pn1