How to Sleep Well: 9 Steps To a Successful Night’s Sleep
You work hard at staying fit, but something’s still missing and you don’t know what it is.
You do know you’re tired.
You’re worn out.
And you need sleep.
But you still stay up late to finish projects and get up early to work out (because you know the benefits of a morning fitness routine).
Yet, did you know sleeping habits like that are sabotaging your fitness goals?
Your Sleep Bank Is Depleted
Sleeping is the start of your day. Not the end. A good night’s rest fills your body’s account so that it can run in the black. But, staying up late depletes your sleep account and your body starts to run in the negative. And running in the red is more damaging than just trying to stay awake.
Interrupting your body’s natural flow causes more than sleep deprivation. When your circadian rhythm (your body clock) is out of sync, your body produces more glucose in response to decreased insulin levels caused by your disrupted internal clock. Maintaining this physiological scene sets up your body for diseases like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
You know you’re not sleeping enough, but are you sleeping well when you do sleep?
The way you get to sleep at night is one of the problems behind your not sleeping well when you do sleep. Health and fitness is not about just exercising and eating right. It’s also about sleeping right. If you’re not sleeping well, the rest becomes very difficult.
Fix your sleep issues with good sleep habits and more than just your energy will increase. Your productivity in the gym will too.
A Great Sleep Routine
You’ve got a great fitness routine, but now you need a great sleeping routine to make it better.
Putting your sleep on autopilot will set you up for success in the gym, at work, in life, and in health. Setting up a schedule and a pattern that puts your brain in to sleep mode each night will make hitting that autopilot button easier.
9 Steps To a Successful Night’s Sleep
Follow these steps today and reset your body clock to its natural rhythm and get the best sleep possible – tonight.
1. Eat the right foods
Eating the wrong foods can interfere with your digestive system and insulin levels. Skip the pizza, pasta, and ice cream too close to bed time.
Eat the right foods to get enough of the hormones and substances that it needs to relax and prepare for an effective sleep:
Grapes – the only fruit known to contain melatonin, a sleep regulating hormone
Oatmeal – the carbs in it help release serotonin, the feel-good hormone that decreases stress levels
Warm milk – contains the amino acid tryptophan which induces sleep and the warming soothes the body
2. Exercise daily
Exertion is necessary for sleep quality. Participants in a Northwestern University’s sleep study found that their quality of sleep went from poor to good when they exercised for 2-20 minute aerobic sessions four days per week at an exertion rate at 75% of their target heart rate.
Engage in an aerobic activity that you enjoy at least 4 times per week
Maintain 75% of your THR to exert your body
3. Set your schedule
You schedule your workouts, schedule your sleep time the same way.
Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night. Determine what your optimum sleep need is and make sure you’re going to bed at an hour that will allow for that amount of sleep every night.
Tension causes interrupted sleep patterns that result in poor quality sleep. Relax before bed to help your mind rid itself of nervous energy. Stay away from triggers you know cause you mental stress like the news, high energy friends, high maintenance family members. If you have people like this in your life, interact with them early in the day, rather than at night before you sleep.
Practice meditation. If you’re not meditating, you should be. It’s the ultimate relaxer for your mind. It allows you to focus your mind and your breath bringing an overall sense of relaxation to all the muscles in your body and your brain.
For an effective meditation session:
- Sit in a quiet location
- Assume a comfortable position
- Focus on a mantra (specifically chosen words to help calm your mind), your breath, or an object
- Release judgments (let your thoughts come and go without judging them or yourself based on them)
5. Keep electronics out of the bedroom
Constant emission of lights from electronics in the bedroom disturbs your circadian rhythm making the body believe it’s not dark out and that it isn’t time to sleep. The body then stops producing melatonin and resting well is impaired.
Restrict tablet, laptop and smartphone use to other rooms.
Cover the lights of clocks in your room.
6. Exercise your lungs and ease your mind
Doing breathing exercises at night before bed or during your meditation session greatly increases your chance of a great night’s zzz’s.
Dr.Khalsa finds that the yoga pose Bridge is the best way to get in the breaths you need.
- Lie on your back, knees bent at a 90 degree angle
- Lift your hips and arch into your shoulders
- Interlace your fingers under your back and press your arms into the floor
- Hold the pose for 10-15 long, slow breaths
Or you could try Dr. Naiman’s exercise:
- Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your teeth
- Exhale deeply
- Close your mouth and inhale for 4 counts
- Hold it for 7 counts
- Release it for 8 counts
- Repeat three times
7. Feng shui your bedroom
Eastern feng shui suggests that organizing your bedroom in a fashion that promotes serenity is the best way to rest. Your surroundings affect your mental state: When your room is calming, your mind will be, too.
Position your bed on a solid wall without plumbing behind it
Out of the flow of traffic
8. Foster relationships
Socialization is part of releasing tension. When you hang out with friends, your mind wanders, relaxes and lets you release the tension of the day.
Hang out with people that make you smile every day.
9. Be comfortable
You’ve tried to sleep on uncomfortable mattresses and pillows before. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get to sleep on a surface that your body wasn’t happy on. If you find you’re waking up with pain or that you’re tossing and turning at night, take a look at your mattress and pillow.
Find a mattress and pillow that suit your comfort levels.
There are your 9 steps to a successful sleep for a successful day – sleep well!
Which steps are you already taking to help you sleep at night?