Today in our Ultimate Human Series we are talking all about sleep. We are not going to deep dive into the nitty gritty about sleep, more of a 20 thousand foot view of why sleep is so important, and how to get more of it.
Is This Your Nighttime Routine?
You are a go-getter or you’re trying to be. You wake up, have a rock solid morning routine but sometimes the day gets the best of you. By the time you get home you wish it was bedtime, but there’s still homework to do and dinner to make. You make healthy food and spend time with your family. Truth is you’re exhausted and you’re doing your best. You’re running around crazy, finally put the kids to bed, put on your favorite detective series and zone out in front of the TV. You then realized you’ve done it again and it’s midnight and you’ve not even started getting ready for bed. You brush your teeth while you put the detective show on in the bedroom, throw the laundry that was on the bed, on the floor. After your teeth are brushed you climb into bed, TV on, scroll through all the trash on FB. Look over to your partner and share some “can you believe that” news and by now it’s 1 AM and you’re still awake. Sound familiar?
7-9 Hours Minimum
If you don’t take sleep seriously how do you expect to do it? Studies show that getting less than 5 hours of sleep for around 5 nights can lead to being pre diabetic. Your body stops doing it’s job because you haven’t let it sleep. There are a host of other things that sleep effects, diet, mood and your muscles ability to recover from the butt kicking you went through at the Noon class that day. You need a nighttime routine.
First things first, if your bedroom looks like a college dorm it’s time to fix up that space! You have to have a bedroom you actually like to be in. Get some art, buy a headboard, put the laundry away and make it a place you want to go to at night. And take the TV off the wall and sell it. Yes you heard me, get it out of your room! The bedroom is for two things and two things only, sleep and sex. That’s it, from this point forward that’s all you are using that space for. Make it a place you want to go to, for both of those things!
We hear so much about a morning routine but what about a nighttime routine? If yours looks like the scenario above is it any wonder you can’t sleep at night? You have to give the end of the day as much attention as you do the beginning of the day. The number one thing you can do to set yourself up for a good night of sleep, shut off the screens an hour before bed. Yes I hear you saying you can’t, that’s like telling me you can lose weight eating pizza every day. Countless studies talk about the effects of blue light on your sleep. Shut The Screen Off, good talk. In the video below, I share my nighttime routine and how to set one up for you, that will work for you.
Now go fix up your bedroom, pour yourself a hot cup of tea and read a book. It’s time to start your nighttime routine.
Sara Mozingo is the Owner, head coach, and programing wizard at CrossFit Icehouse. When she’s not developing rep schemes and diving into the nerdery she enjoys hanging out in nature hiking trails or climbing rocks with her side-kick Mr. Mosely.
Sleep makes us feel better.
Whether it is a good nights’ sleep or a nap throughout the day, sleeping improves our mood and refreshes our energy. Getting enough sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and there are a host of benefits to our hearts, minds, weight, and more.
Below are five health benefits of getting adequate sleep and why we should strive to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Sharpens our brain function. During the day we are constantly overstimulated with thoughts and information that we don’t have time to properly store new memories. Sleep lets our brains catch up on that process, so we are better able to receive and retrieve information.
- Boosts our mood. Along with not properly storing information during the day, we also do not properly process our emotions. Being overwhelmed and on-the-go during the day doesn’t leave us much room to sit and think about how we are feeling at a given moment. Sleeping gives us the down time to recognize what we are feeling and react appropriately. A good nights’ sleep can help us bounce back from a bad day, improve our outlook on a situation, and leave us better prepared to face the accompanying challenges.
- Healthier heart. When we sleep our blood pressure decreases and this gives our hearts and blood vessels time to rest a bit. The longer we are awake the longer our blood pressure is elevated. Chronic high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, including stroke.
- Increased athletic performance and weight control. Proper sleep sets us up for physical performance. During the time we are sleeping our muscles have the chance to recover and repair. Sleep also heightens our motivation and gives us the energy to perform better. Sleep deprivation messes with our hunger hormones– leptin and ghrelin– which control our appetite. When these are out of balance we have a harder time saying no to unhealthy foods and when we are tired we have a harder time getting up to exercise. These go hand in hand with weight gain.
- Regulates blood sugar. During the deep part of our sleep, our blood glucose level drops. Lack of sleep and not spending enough time in a deep sleep means that we don’t get that drop in blood sugar. This drop in blood sugar is important to reset our hunger hormones and let our bodies fast to clear excess sugars and digest our food from the night before completely. As we all know, consistently elevated blood sugar leads to metabolic diseases, such as Type II Diabetes.
Here are a few tips to help you sleep better at night and ensure you get adequate rest:
- Establish a night-time routine. Wash your face and brush your teeth prior to bed. Allow your body and mind to wind down sending signals that it is getting close to bedtime (i.e. read a book, listen to soothing music). Go to bed at a set time each night and stick to it.
- Keep electronics out of bed. Easier said than done, but the blue light produced from electronic screens suppresses the body’s natural ability to produce melatonin, an important hormone for sleep.
- Set up your sleeping space for optimal rest. Invest in a mattress pad or silk sheets. Turn on a fan or noisemaker to block out any sounds. Make your room as dark as possible. Associate your sleeping space with a sense of tranquility.
- Avoid caffeine in the afternoon. The effects of caffeine can take six to eight hours to wear off, so make sure you aren’t drinking caffeinated beverages that amount of time prior to when you go to sleep.
Sleep is so important, so make sure you take the time to make it a priority. Your body will thank you for it!