Fitness Camp Suggestions for Better Sleep
By Unite Fitness Retreat Nutritionist, Brooke Bouwhuis
Balancing hectic schedules, meetings, work, kids, dog, working out, cooking, dishes and laundry – it’s a struggle to stay ahead of the daily battle. When we don’t sleep well it only makes it worse!
Lack of sleep messes with hormones and cause us to crave sugar and increase how hungry we feel. Step one to seeing success with weight loss – get enough sleep. Many things can affect how well we sleep.
Here are 8 ideas to consider in order to optimize your sleep so you can optimize you.
- Sleep apnea is a serious condition where you quit breathing as you sleep. Sometimes dozens of time per night. You lack oxygen and wake up exhausted day after day. Consider asking your doctor if this is something you are affected with, there are solutions to this problem and CPAP masks have come a long way in the last 10 years!
- Strive for a regular sleep schedule. We are beings who love rhythm. Creating a sleep rhythm where you go to bed and wake up +/- 20 minutes each day is tough (especially on weekends) but effective.
- Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Experiment on yourself and see what works best for your body. See how many hours is ideal to help you feel like you can crush it all day long.
- Creating an environment that is quiet, peaceful, cool and dark – ideal descriptors for being comfortable while you are recharging for another day. The more restful your environment the easier it will be to rest.
- Limit your screen time in the evening. Make a rule that there will be no screens 1-2 hours before bed. Screens from computers, phones and the television emit blue light which trigger your brain to stay and play rather than switch to sleep mode. Further, consider buying a pair of blue light filtering glasses (orange lenses) to reduce the blue light in your environment.
- If your mind starts to race as you need to be sleeping, consider journaling. Putting the pen to paper to organize your thoughts, feelings and schedule for the next day can help calm your mind allowing you the ability to relax.
- Aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender and chamomile are known for fighting stress and help you wind down when it’s time to sleep. Use them in a diffuser or with a carrier oil applied to the skin.
- Some people find a little help with the dietary supplement melatonin. Melatonin is a natural chemical secreted by the brain – it increases when it’s dark. Take the lowest dose of melatonin you can to get you to sleep – it’s probably 3mg even though you can buy a 10 mg bottle at Walmart. I love the combination of melatonin and theanine (an amino acid that promotes relaxation) you can find 3mg melatonin + theanine on amazon.
- When was your last boost of caffeine? Caffeine can be a culprit that keeps you up depending on how you metabolize it. Slow metabolizers should be done with coffee after breakfast and everyone else should probably call it good by lunch. This allows the caffeine to break down in time for you to hit the hay.
- Meditation – You’ll learn about this at our fitness camp-We LOVE using apps like Calm or Headspace to do guided relaxation meditations before bed. You will be surprised how effective it is when you can’t even get through a 10 minute meditation without falling asleep. I suppose that’s the point though.
- Each morning there is something you can do to help you get to sleep at night. Harness the power of the sun. Be outside in the sunshine – at least 20 minutes a day and especially early in the morning. The sunshine triggers chemicals in your brain that are important in regulating your sleep cycle.
Sleep is complex, and we certainly feel it when we don’t get enough. Try a few of these suggestions if you are struggling with getting to sleep each night and see what works best for you.