“I work out daily and I eat healthy, but I just can’t seem to lose weight.”
Is this your story? What I did not mention in the above statement is that this person stays up until 1am watching the TV until they fall asleep. Getting about 5 hours of restless sleep.
Yes, sleep is very important. If you want to play hard, you need to rest hard. We are not meant to go all the time. Just as we have active time, we need rest time to rejuvenate our body.
Getting enough sleep will control your appetite and cravings, help your body want to exercise, and you’ll be in a better mood. Yes, there are extreme times like having a baby or exams that will disrupt this pattern but it is temporary. It’s not going on 6 years of getting 4 to 5 hours of sleep. It will catch up with you because you are missing out on important body repair that happens during rest.
The ideal time to get to sleep is 10 to 10:30pm. During this time your body emits the highest levels of growth hormone and works on repairing your body. This happens until around midnight.
As you go deeper into your sleep cycle, your brain begins to repair from 2am to 4am. After that you can sleep a bit more a begin waking up. Ideally you want to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
Here are a few tips for a good night sleep.
1) Minimize the use of electronics before bed. The light emitted from these devices reduce the amount of melatonin your body makes. Less melatonin means harder time getting to sleep. Basically the light is mimicking daylight and your body will want to stay up. To make things better, charge these items in a different room all together. All the blinking lights and noises will keep you up.
2) Stay cool and dark. I love this time of the year for sleeping. You can have the window cracked open at night and your room stays cool and crisp. Keeping it dark works with tip number 1. Having a very dark room will help your body fall and stay asleep. Living in the city we have lights outside of our bedroom window. Wearing a sleep mask really helps. It’s great because it will fall off during the night, so I can begin to have the natural light come in my window to wake me up. Staying cool and keeping it dark will help you get to sleep and feel comfortable.
3) Exercise During the Day. You’ll sleep well if you exercise during the day. Play hard, rest hard. Your body will crave and want the sleep because it wants to repair from the physical movement. Just be careful. Some people are sensitive to exercising too late at night and it will keep them up. Know your body.
4) Caffeine Cut Off. Evening coffee and caffeinated beverages are not ideal for getting a good night’s sleep. The half life of 200mg caffeine is 5.7 hours. That means if you have a cup of coffee or diet coke (really not good) after dinner around 7pm, you’ll still have 100mg caffeine will be in your system until 12:45am. Enjoy a swiss water decaf coffee, sparkling water or herbal green tea instead.
5) Don’t Read or Watch the News. I’m not saying the news is not important. (But I have been on a news fast for the past 12 years) But you don’t need to watch it right before you go to bed. Many of the events featured on the news are very negative, disturbing and stressful. This also goes for very intense books, movies or television shows that can amp your body up because of the intense content. Instead read a relaxing book or magazine. Listen to a sound machine that emits nature or soothing sounds. The news will be there tomorrow, I promise. You won’t be missing out.