We can be exercising and eating well and pursuing a healthy lifestyle and simultaneously sabotaging ourselves without realizing it every single day if we are minimizing or neglecting a healthy sleep routine.
On September 26, 2016, Catherine Spannagel and Andrea Byrne gave an interesting talk at FitClub South to provide basic sleep advice, namely, how to fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and when to seek medical advice. There’s no one approach that will work for everyone, but keep reading and find something that can help you prioritize better sleep.
Falling Asleep More Easily
For those of us that have trouble falling asleep at night, Catherine and Andrea advise planning for bedtime earlier in your day. Getting an adequate amount of cardio, sunlight, and social activity not only benefit your mood throughout the day, but will also prepare your body and mind for a more restful sleep at the end of your day. Eliminating naps and managing stress throughout the day also result in falling asleep more quickly. Manage or finish any stressful projects you may have early in the day, rather than right before bed time, to prevent the stress from impacting your ability to wind down and fall asleep.
Later in the evening, continue to prioritize sleep by eating a healthy, nutrient rich dinner early in the evening. If you need a snack before bed, make it a light snack of complex carbohydrates, and eliminate substances that may disrupt your sleep, including caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. Begin to limit your liquid intake two hours before bed so you can sleep through the night. Tracking your food on a phone app or computer program may help you identify the nutrients missing from your diet that may assist in sleep.
If you find that after twenty minutes in bed you are unable to fall asleep easily, get out of bed and engage in a relaxing activity like journaling, drawing, or stretching. When you feel tired, return to your bed and try again to fall asleep.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
We know bedtime routines are essential for young children, but we often sacrifice our own bedtime routines for the sake of accomplishing more during the evening. Bedtime routines are as effective for adults as children, and should not be neglected. Turn off television, computer, and cell phone screens early in the evening before bed. Ensure that your bedroom is free from distractions, clutter, and light, and try a relaxing activity like a hot bath prior to bed. Relaxing before bed with a book, meditation, or gentle stretching signals your mind and body that it’s time to prepare for sleep.
Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve followed the advice above but find that you still have difficulty sleeping seven to nine hours each night, you should consult your medical professional. You should also consult your medical professional if you do not feel well rested after at least seven hours of sleep, snore loudly, wake up excessively throughout the night, or find that managing your emotions is difficult.
Your FitClub professionals are great resources to address any health or fitness related questions you may have! What’s your key to sleep success?