How Important is Sleep?
Not getting quality sleep is enough to get anyone off to a bad start. Sleep is so vital to our health, it’s our time to regenerate our body, and recharge. For so many though, falling asleep, staying asleep and getting quality sleep are all just day dreams. Grab your overnight gear and let’s see what good sleep is all about.
How Long Should I Sleep?
Maybe the age old question around sleep and maybe the root of the problem lies in how we ask the question. We are always seeking the minimum requirement, the minimum need. Well, we need to sleep as much as our body requires, depending on how much activity we do or don’t have, how restful the sleep is and how our body has been recovering.
The science tells us that between 7-9 hours is required for healthy adults.
What Happens When You Sleep
While we sleep our body repairs it’s tissues, our organs heal and our body restores itself. Important hormones like human growth hormone are released while we sleep. This hormone is our fountain of youth hormone responsible for the health of our hair, nails and skin. HGH also boost the production of muscle mass while increasing our metabolism and burning fat. Yeah, those are all good things. Not only does chronically under sleeping rob our body of the repair it needs but it causes a severe underproduction of healthy hormones throughout our lifetime. Our body is a finely tuned machine, like any prime race car every single part of the process is vital for performance and we cannot neglect this aspect.
How to Get a Good Night Sleep
Just like Ali said, the battle is won far before he steps under those lights. A good nights sleep comes from the prep that goes into it.
1 | Stay Active
We have to be active during the day, even if it’s walking. We need to use our body to burn up our fuel sources, to utilize our tissues. If we are not active, why does our body need to recharge? Start with a walking routine and build up your fitness routine as your health improves.
2 | Relax Before Bed
We live in a busy world in a busy time, but resting to come to battle fully prepared is of better use than using every ounce of willpower to barely swing your sword. Hang up your helmet soldier, for tomorrow lies ahead. We need to create a routine around mentally decompressing and unwinding for the day. We all will adopt different routines around this. I recommend to all, when the work is done, take a moment and reflect on what you have done today, at the very least be appreciative to be here on this earth, still living. If you choose to you may want to journal or write in ysour planner anything that needs to be done tomorrow, get work out of your mind and onto paper.
3 | Sleep Without Electronics
Keep electronics outside of the bedroom and attempt to avoid artificial lights for the hours leading up to bedtime. Blue light blockers are a great option here. These keep out the blue light that impact our circadian rhythms.
4 | Avoid Eating Before Bed
Avoid eating heavy meals close to bedtime. If you go to bed feeling like you just made your 3rd stop on Thanksgiving and rolling over would be an act of triumph, you aren’t going to sleep well. Plan for 3 hours pre bedtime as your latest dinner to allow most of your digestion to occur before you hit the sheets.
5 | Create a Dark Place
Create a dark dark sleeping space. This is ideal to get into deep sleep. Create a consistent bedtime as well. It’s ok if certain nights require different times but stay consistent and your body will adapt to the routine.
Create a Bedtime Routine
OK so you have probably heard a lot of those before and maybe you have even tried to enact them. Well here’s a few more from a different approach. What else can we prep or avoid to make falling asleep, getting good sleep and making life easier?
Create solid morning routines to support starting our days off non stressful. I’m aware that this part of your day is the farthest away from sleep, but stick with me. Imagine being in your car, while it’s going over 100 and trying to get something out of the back. Now a simple task is pretty hard and dangerous when things are going so fast. Well when our day starts like we are shot out of a bottle rocket, it rarely slows down. During your wind down time before bed, prep as much as you can for the following morning. Is the coffee ready? Have what you need for breakfast? Clothes ready? Make the morning as easy as possible. Try to remove as much thought as possible in the morning. When we start our days in the right headspace and in a parasympathetic state we have a better chance to stay there.
Getting good sleep is just as much about the right environment and all the above factors as it is about avoiding sleep disrupters. The things that jack up our hormones, the things that create inflammation and keep our organs busy are what really make it hard to sleep. If you are always stressed out your body is staying in fight or flight mode. You need to break these patterns during the day. At minimum, take 6 deep intentional breaths hourly. This will give you a bit of a re-centering and shift your body back to a parasympathetic state. It has been shown that six breaths is enough to lower your blood pressure.
Lose the Snooze Button
One of the most important factors for eliminating brain fog is....not hitting snooze. Yes, it’s time to cut the cord, rip off the band aid. You just can’t snooze. Our body sleeps in 2 four hour chunks, then it switches to 1 hour time blocks. When you hit snooze, your body wants to go back to sleep for a minimum of one hour. When your palm slams the snooze, your body tips back a chemical cocktail of sleep and this lovely little cocktail takes a whopping 4 hours to counteract. This is known as sleep inertia and it is 100 percent the reason that hitting the snooze has to be over.
If you're interested in learning more about sleep and other ways to improve your health, get in touch us at Fix Body Group today. From massage therapy to personal training, we can help you live a better and healthier life.