When you’re contemplating how to optimize your physical fitness, you might not give much thought to sleep, but it’s actually an integral aspect of healthy behavior. When you prioritize sleeping well, you are less likely to make poor food choices and you have the energy you need to make your small group training classes at Fit in New England. If you’re a troubled sleeper, here are some pro tips for better sleep.
Go to Sleep When You’re Sleepy
This might seem obvious, but many people either go to bed before they’re tired or stay up even though they are exhausted. The key is to find the middle ground between these options. If you hit the hay before you are ready to sleep, you will sit in bed and stare at the ceiling, your mind racing. You want your brain to associate your bed with sleep, so you want to spend as little time as possible not sleeping when you’re in bed. On the flip side, once you start to feel sleepy, don’t stay up to watch one last episode of your favorite TV show. Seize the opportunity and rest your weary head on your pillow once you’re feeling ready to sleep.
One of the best ways you can have better sleep hygiene is through consistency. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, allowing at least seven hours of sleep at night. In addition, you want to establish a relaxing bedtime routine. This will help your brain know that it’s time to sleep and to let go of the day. What will work for you will vary, but some things you can incorporate include a sleep meditation, some yoga poses, aromatherapy, or a bubble bath.
Turn Away from the Screens
Phones, televisions, computers, and tablets are among the worst offenders of sleep disruption. Screens release blue light, which delay the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Melatonin dysfunction makes it much more difficult to get the proper amount of sleep. Make it a rule not to use anything with a screen a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to bed.
Always Be Prepared
Mornings can be hectic, but they are a lot better when you’re properly prepared. Take some time before you go to bed to lay out the clothes you will wear, pack up your gym bag and lunch, and have everything ready for you when you get up. A great way to be prepared for the day ahead is to prepare all of your meals in advance. If possible, take a couple of hours on Sunday to prep foods, from lunches you can take to work to dinners you can easily pop in the microwave when you get home in the evening. Something as simple as chopping up some veggies or making a marinade or two can streamline your process of making dinner during the week, freeing up your time and making it easier to have time to rest and relax before bed.
Don’t Drink Alcohol Before Bed
You might think that knocking back a couple of glasses of wine will help your sleep, but this is actually not wise. You might feel sleepy after a nightcap or two and find that you can fall asleep more quickly. However, people who consume alcohol before bed experience less REM sleep, which is essential for rest. The takeaway message: drinking before bed means you wake up more often, sleep lighter, and feel less rested.
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