Let’s talk about sleep, shall we?
There are many ways to get fitter and improve your health and wellness. However, sleep is one of the most important things you can do to prioritize your health. When you sleep well, there are many physiological and cognitive things that happen. Your muscles repair from all your activities and, in turn, get stronger. It is also believed that your brain flushes out toxins when you sleep, which is super important. If we are working hard during the day, whether on our brains or bodies, if we don’t get enough sleep we may not be getting the full benefit of all our hard work.
Here are some of our best tips on how you can sleep better based on our own experiences:
1) Start a morning routine and try to stay consistent with it.
Your body has its own clock and we sleep better when we keep it as consistent as possible each day. Often times we want to use weekends to catch up on sleep but this may not be the best option. This can actually mess up your clock and make it much harder to get back to your sleep cycle. Set your alarm and get up within 15 minutes of time every single day.
2) Turn off your phone at least 90 minutes before you go to bed.
Not only for the blue light, which I will talk about next, but also for the effects it has on your nervous system. We have an autonomic nervous system, which means it automatically starts things in our body by what we see or feel without us having to do anything consciously. When we look at our phone, companies have created apps and notifications in such a way that it excites our nervous system and becomes addictive to us. Most of the time our phone will put us in the excited state and inhibit us from sleeping well afterward.
3) Wear blue blocker glasses.
Blue light is all around us and you will begin to hear more and more about this as time goes on. On the iPhone, there is a function called night shift that actually takes away that blue light. There are many other sources of blue light in your house like your tv and computer to name a few. When we are exposed to blue light, our body suppresses melatonin. This is a hormone in charge of maintaining your sleep cycles and is sensitive to the light our body is exposed to. Blue blocker glasses can minimize the negative effects blue light has on your sleep. You can also check out the app Flux or other blue-blocking apps for your phone, laptop, tablet, or computer. You can schedule these apps to automatically turn down the blue light on your devices at specific times based on when you usually go to bed.
4) Write what you are thankful for on a piece of paper.
Our minds can be the biggest obstacle when it comes to sleep. We like to stress about things that happened in the day or things that may happen tomorrow. Ever been lying in bed unable to turn off our brain? We all have. If we shift our perspective and write good things down, we will put our body into a more relaxed state and provide it with a better opportunity to sleep.
5) Breath 10 minutes before you go to bed.
We mentioned the autonomic nervous system earlier and now we want to tell you how you can actually guide what automatically happens in your body if that makes sense? There are two parts of your autonomic nervous system, (1) fight or flight and (2)rest and digest. If you imagine what your breathing is like in these two situations we are going to give to you, you will have a better understanding of how your breathing can play a role in sleep.
Scenario #1– You are hiking in the mountains and you walk around the corner and are 10 feet from a bear, what happens to your breathing? Fast and high up in your chest… your body is preparing itself to run or fight, and it did it without you thinking about it.
Scenario #2- You’re on the beach on vacation, you have a drink in your hand and no stressors around you. You hear the calming sounds of waves in front of you. What is your breathing doing now? Most likely it is slow and low in your diaphragm. Your body is repairing itself and in a relaxed state.
If you mimic that low and slow breathing, you will, in turn, be telling your body to rest and digest. This means that what usually automatically happens is now happening under your control. Simple box breathing works well. i.e. 5 sec in-5 sec hold- 5 sec out-5 sec hold.
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