When I first opened the doors of Access Fitness Dublin I realised very quickly that I was far more productive between 6-9am than I was between 9pm and midnight.
Three years on and its rare not to find me in bed by 9pm. When I’m in the gym I’m generally up at 5:10am but even when I don’t have to it’s rare that I sleep past 5:30am.
Now I know I know after a long day’s work and you come home, cook a meal, make sure the kid’s homework is done and after they’re put to bed it’s the only time you get to ‘relax’.
RELAX!!!!!! What the hell do you do when you sleep? I absolutely adore my bed. I get excited about going to bed. To me waking up after a solid 8 hours sleep has to be one of the best feelings ever.
Today I want to give you points on why your 6.5 hours just isn’t enough and the damage it’s causing but I’m also going to share some of my bedtime routines with you.
Sleep! One of the best health remedies you won’t survive without. And it’s FREE!
Did you know…….
Study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity.
When it comes to our health, stress and sleep are nearly one and the same—and both can affect cardiovascular health.
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less sleep—six or fewer hours a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.
With regards to lack of sleep affecting your immune system. One preliminary study put the idea to the test. Researchers tracked over 150 people and monitored their sleep habits for two weeks. Then they exposed them to a cold virus.
People who got seven hours of sleep a night or less were almost three times as likely to get sick as the people who got at least eight hours of sleep a night.
Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or "practice" skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).
If you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too.
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass.
Children between the ages of 10 and 16 who have sleep disordered breathing, which includes snoring, sleep apnoea, and other types of interrupted breathing during sleep, are more likely to have problems with attention and learning, according to a 2010 study in the journal Sleep. This could lead to "significant functional impairment at school," the study authors wrote.
If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep.
A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.
Some bedtime habits to develop
Knock off your ceiling lights. Without going too in depth into circadian rhythm. With a light emitting (Blue light) overhead your body thinks it’s the middle of the day and will adjust your hormones accordingly (Primarily melatonin). Use low standing lamps or even better would be candle light.
Your electronic screens also emit ‘Blue Light’. Now as much as I’d love to say don’t watch TV or use the computer if it’s dark out let’s stay in the real world. For electronic devices and computers you can download Flu.x which will reduce the amount of blue light being emitted and you don’t even notice it after a couple minutes. For TV you can purchase ‘Blue Light Blocker Glasses’. These are just like sunglasses with amber lenses. You can pick them up on EBay for about €12. Now as silly as you may look watching TV with sunglasses on, I honestly found myself falling asleep almost instantly as soon as I put my head on the pillow. My kids also do this now just by choice. It started out just being a laugh but has now become the norm.
Set a bedtime! For those of you with children you probably remember training them into a routine. You’re no different. Don’t tell me you’re a night owl. You’re not, you just have bad habits. Yes you will spend nights staring at the ceiling but you’ll adapt. I recommend setting a bedtime and no matter what you’re doing just stop it and go to bed. Bring your time forward by 15 minutes each week until you’re getting your desired sleep.
Take ZMA’s (Zinc, Magnesium, and B6) or use Magnesium oil. People respond differently to this. I personally find the magnesium oil on the soles of my feet 30minutes before bed works better for me but I’ve plenty of clients that love the ZMA’s. Take them 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach and with water not milk.
Get black out blinds/curtains and remove all electronics from the bedroom. You want the room as dark as possible to aid your melatonin release. For an alarm clock just buy yourself a cheap little sports watch from Aldi or lidl. Best to charge the phones and tablets down in the kitchen and also turn off your Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi hovers around 2-3 feet off the floor which is also the average bed height. All these contribute to reducing Electro Magnetic Waves which is another known stress on the body.
Last one is one of my favourites. Daytime Naps. I love them but you have to be careful not to overdo it. Around lunch set your alarm for 30mins. If you get 5 or 20 minutes sleep in that time trust me it’s enough to get you through the rest of the day.