You may, or may not know this, but sleep has a huge affect on weight loss and fitness. The ideal amount of sleep for weight loss is 7 hours. As you get older you need a bit less, but that is the optimal amount to keep your metabolism running well.
A lot of people react like I’m crazy when I say that, either that they NEVER get that much sleep, or that they could NEVER live off that little LOL!
You can live off that much sleep, if you get REAL sleep. I wanted to share with you my top tips for getting a great night’s sleep:
1) No Screens! This one is the one people fight me on the most, so I will list it first. Never have a TV in the bedroom, don’t work in bed, and do not play on your phone, or read your kindle in your dark room, at night. This is a huge one that affects way too many of us these days. Your bed is for sleeping, sex and reading paper books only lol! Not only does the screen avoidance help move past the over stimulation at night, but your brain will also know what it is supposed to be doing when it’s in bed, instead of being confused, and alert.
2) Do a Brain Dump or Journal before Bed. Keep a notepad, or notebook, nearby, and get all the stuff out of your head that is going to keep you up. This can be making you to do list for tomorrow, writing out a frustration with a partner, or coworker, or getting out creative ideas. You don’t have to worry about forgetting, ideas getting lost, or replaying a fight in your head. Just get it out, and it will all be there for you in the morning if you need it.
3) Move Your Body Regularly. Regularly as in every day, and as in the same time each day. Working out too late at night is not ideal, as that will actually keep you up. Make sure you have some wind down time afterwards. You will sleep better, and get a deeper sleep, if you have been been physically active. Our brain gets tired from using it all day at work, or with kids, etc, but the body needs to get tired out too! Brisk after dinner walks are a great place to start.
4) Watch Caffeine and Alcohol. These are on the opposite sides as far as effect goes, one being a stimulant, and the other a depressant, but they both upset your sleep. Keep caffeine to the early part of the day. You may not feel like it’s doing anything, but it is, so the later in the day you have it, the more it will mess with your sleep. Alcohol might seem like the perfect solution, because it makes you more sleepy, but it is temporary, and when it wears off, you will be taken right out of your deep sleep, and actually sleep worse than if you had skipped it all together.
5) Have a Routine. This means the same time every day, the same basic activities before hand, and so on. You might turn off your TV (which is NOT in your room :P) and then go brush your teeth, wash your face, set out your workout clothes for the next day, perhaps make your healthy lunch, and then settle into read a nice easy book (on real paper). Maybe you catch up with your spouse, but avoid task and chore type convos, nothing that is going to add to your list of worries. Just something you do every day, at the same time, to let your body know that bed is coming.
Any one of these will make a small difference for you, however doing all of them will greatly change your life. If this seems overwhelming, perhaps you can make one change per week, over the next 5 weeks, until you’re sleeping great and feeling good!
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