Hitting the snooze button multiple times each morning?
Feeling as if you’re never getting enough sleep?
This ones for you.
As kids, we were always told to go to bed at a certain time. Usually so we’d get enough sleep before school the next day. But now that we’re adults, we no longer give ourselves that same strict bedtime. I mean when was the last time you told yourself that you were going to go to bed at say 10pm every night. And stuck with it for more than a day or two. We’re adults, we do what we want. We get wrapped up in a TV show, a book, or if you’re cool, the NHL Stanley Cup.
Life happens. However, much like we plan our meals, nutrition, and training, we can plan our sleep schedule ahead of time by setting ourselves up with a bedtime routine. I dunno, maybe you start yourself off by reading Goodnight Moon to yourself. No judging.
By reading this, the hope is that you will look at sleep as something vital to a healthy lifestyle. No longer will you see it as undervalued and overlooked aspect to health and fitness. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all part of a healthy lifestyle. We tend to focus on exercise and nutrition and hope that will push us towards our goals. For the most part that would be a successful plan. However that is not always the case.
How much sleep does the typical adult get each night? Six maybe seven hours if we’re lucky. But lacking in this area has effects on everything from brain chemistry, to muscle regeneration, to hormonal balance. And that’s a no good situation. Just a short list of what’s to come should you continue on your path of poor sleep:
- Changes in eating habits
- Cortisol levels
- Decrease in Testosterone, Increase in Estrogen
- Loss of lean mass
- Heart Attack, Stroke
Hardly a list of ailments we want to develop. We all believe that we are immune to this, that we can just grind away and hustle hard all hours of the night. We all think we can get by on just a few hours, thinking coffee or Red Bull are the answer. However the more you miss sleep, the more this “sleep debt” accumulates and makes it harder and harder to pay back. The more nights you get less sleep, the greater the likelihood of those negative effects taking place.
There is hope.
The first thing you should do is to go sleep, duh. It is possible that you can catch up by stringing together a few nights of great, quality sleep. The more consistent you are with the amount of hours you sleep and the time in which you go to bed, the better.
Second, make sleep a priority. A priority in that it takes precedent over many of the things we get sidetracked by, like finishing a project, or the show on tv, or scrolling through Facebook. Set up a pattern, set up a plan for bed and you’ll find yourself more rested than before.
- Keep a relatively consistent bedtime and wake-time.
- Darkness- Keep your room dark. This tells your body it’s time for sleep.
- Set a comfortable temperature
- Eliminate computer/phone use when you’re approaching that set bedtime.
- Avoid drinking anything leading up to bedtime