Quality sleep is undervalued in our society
Sleep seems to go to the back burner when other obligations fill up our time. Someone once even told me that they considered sleep was a waste of time…wow. As a trainer, I cannot emphasize the importance of quality sleep. We all have some “bad” weeks or months (new baby, overtime at work, etc), but rest is a necessity in everyone’s life.
Why is quality sleep important?
- Sleep is the mind and body’s way of RECOVERING.
- Regular sleep deprivation negatively affects many aspects of life: work, cognitive performance, patience, relationships, workouts, and even appetite.
- Regular sleep deprivation is associated with higher risk of diabetes, stroke, depression, heart disease, and kidney disease.
- Plenty of quality sleep will aid in weight loss efforts. This is for several reasons: cravings for sugar decrease significantly, the body can recover from exercise faster, energy levels are much better, and spirits/attitude is better. And most importantly with quality sleep, hormones are favorable for weight loss.
- Plenty of sleep will make you look more youthful. Less bags and dark circles under eyes, skin looks healthier, even less wrinkles.
Here’s how to get quality sleep
- First and foremost, make it a PRIORITY. Does this seem hard because people are demanding of your time? Then start using the word NO. Having self-respect will feel great!
- Stick to a sleep and wake schedule, as best you can. This will help you develop a good sleep pattern, which the body likes : )
- Limit caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
- Create a room ideal for sleeping. Dark, cool, quiet, and comfortable.
- Do not take long naps. This can cause insomnia at bedtime.
- Exercise during the day, rather than later in the evening. Vigorous exercise can produce hormones that can keep you awake.
- Have a quality mattress and pillow.
- Engage in relaxation before bed. Some ideas are meditation, soft music, yoga, and visualization of sleeping.
- Dim the lights, and TURN OFF DEVICES WITH SCREENS (TV, computer, phone) an hour or more before bedtime.
- Eat some quality carbs at dinner, this activates sleepy hormones. However, don’t overeat, this can cause insomnia.
- Get more natural sunlight. Exposure to fluorescent lights, especially at nighttime, throws off the body’s biological clock.
- Try using white noise if you must sleep while others in your household are up.
- Keep your pets off the bed! Not only is this much cleaner and allergy symptoms may improve, but pets walking all over you does not allow you to get any deep rest.
- Lastly, try to ween yourself off of sleep medications (with doctor’s supervision and approval.) Many sleep meds inhibit deep sleep brain waves, so even if you were technically in bed for 8-9 hours, you wake up groggy and tired.
You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after giving your body sleep it needs and deserves on a regular basis!