27 – Sleep
We all know that getting enough sleep is a very good thing, but what goes on during sleep that is so beneficial? Today we’ll jump right into it and name off just a few of the benefits of a great night’s sleep:
- Sleep activates the release of human growth hormone (HGH), an essential player in cellular regeneration.
- Sleep can enhance your memory function and creative problem-solving skills the next day.
- A good night’s rest will help boost your athletic performance, including speed, agility and overall energy levels.
- Sleep will boost your immune system, leaving you less vulnerable to illness.
- Sleep can leave you more resilient to daily stress, something we can all benefit from.
- Sleep can help you see the positives in your daily interactions, making you a happier person.
- Last but not least, you oxidize the most fat during sleep. If you are looking to shed a little fat, make sleep a priority!
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to gain from getting into bed just a little bit sooner each night.
I think it’s always important to remind ourselves WHY we are doing something. If you are struggling to get to bed sooner, remind yourself of some of the benefits that make sense to you. It is also good to think about the impact of getting more sleep is going to have on those you care about.
- Are you a more attentive parent?
- Are you a more compassionate friend?
- Do you have a longer fuse?
- Are you more present?
- Do you enjoy life more, which in turn makes everyone around you happier?
Pick a couple of these benefits that really resonate with you and write them on a sticky note to place near your bed. That way at night when you pick up your phone to do some mindless surfing, you will be reminded of what truly is important. Maybe this will help you unplug a little bit more at night and get into a healthier routine!
Your Sleep Routine
We are going to dig deeper into the most common activities people do to signal their body that it is time for bed. Pick and choose those that resonate with you and try them out. You don’t need to try them all, but try out a couple and keep tweaking them until you find a routine that works for you.
No Electronics for One Hour Before Bed
We mentioned this before, but it is so important that we have to reiterate it again. Our bodies are used to winding down when the sun goes down. Computers, TVs, phones and tablet screens stimulate the brain, acting like the sun to keep us awake. This brain stimulation can keep us up at night telling our body to stay awake.
By un-plugging at night, you ensure both your mind and body are in a proper sleep state and are not being over stimulated. If you must use your computer after the sun sets, you can change your display settings on your device to “night time” mode, which will dim and change the colour of the screen so it’s easier on the eyes.
Use Your Bed Only For Sleeping
Try not to study or eat in your bed. This should be a place that as soon as you lay down, your body knows exactly what it should do. Doing too many activities in your bed can confuse your brain and keep it guessing. Remember, your body loves routines.
Go to Bed and Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day
Like we just said, your body loves routines. If you are someone who gets up at 6:00am during the week but sleeps in until 11:00am on the weekend, you are messing with your body’s natural clock. As tough as it may seem, try to wake up early even on the weekends. Of course, there will be that occasional weekend where you are up much later than normal but try to stick to a strict bedtime and wake time as much as possible. You’ll be surprised by how much more you can get done by sticking to this normal schedule.
Take a Shower Before Bed
Sometimes there is nothing more soothing than a nice bath or shower. It will calm you down and relax you right before bed time. This can also act as a trigger for your body that it is bedtime. It can associate an evening shower with going to sleep, helping you get into a deeper sleep quicker.
Keep the temperature warm, not really hot, this will allow the body to cool better when you get out, signaling sleep.
Perform some light stretching or soft tissue work, especially after a warm shower. Again, this type of activity will relax your body and can be very beneficial to your overall health. Make sure this is not aggressive stretching but nice gentle movements.
Brain Dump – *at the end of your work day!!
This final tip is one not enough people take advantage of but can be a game changer if you struggle falling asleep. Get a notebook and at the end of your work day, write down everything that is going through your mind. We call this a brain dump. It doesn’t matter what you write, just get it out!
It might be an email you have to write in the next day or an errand you have to run. Maybe some thoughts from a meeting you had earlier in the day are still on your mind. If you don’t get these out of your head, they will be running through your mind all night, keeping you awake. And if you do this right before bed, it’s likely that your mind will still be running through it. Get it out on paper well before bedtime and forget about it!
There, you have it!
A whole list of great tips and activities to get you started creating your own bedtime routine.
Pick ONE, just one, to do tonight.
The real key to all of this is find what works for you and DO IT.
Everyone always asks, “What is the best sleep ritual?” or “What is the best type of exercise?”
Answer: The one that you will do!
This answer drives people crazy because they are expecting a “secret” that nobody else knows about to help achieve their goals. The secret is, there is no secret, just consistently doing the little things. That is why we believe in creating healthy habits and finding things that you can do every day.