My life has been a little crazy lately! My schedule is jam-packed with amazing clients who are improving their life one day at a time and one habit at a time. We opened our own fitness facility six months ago and we are growing fast. My kiddos are always busy doing everything under the sun. My hubby is navigating through the intricacies and excitement of a growing business and balancing regular life. Needless to say, I’m a busy human who juggles a lot! Not to mention that my health is still a huge priority and always will be.
A couple weeks ago I started noticing that I have been feeling less energy during the day. I played around with internal and external factors that may be contributing to my lack of energy. I’m a professional health, fitness and nutrition coach. It was simply a matter of making a few adjustments and staying mindful and aware of the improvements I felt.
So this got me thinking about how I coach others…
I coach this awesome woman who has had similar symptoms of fatigue. What did I tell her? Well, she works out at 5:00 am 6 days a week and juggles her own work/life responsibilities. She came to me because she was frustrated that she wasn’t losing weight. She had been religiously working out like this for over 2 years and hadn’t seen progress. So I challenged her thinking. I asked her to take it down to 4 days a week so she could get more sleep. We discussed ways to focus on her sleep rituals and get in whole foods all while educating her WHY this was so important. Two weeks later, she lost five pounds! Winning! She was shocked that working out less, getting more sleep and more food dropped the stubborn weight she had been desperate to lose.
She wasn’t getting enough sleep! Her body was constantly stressed and fatigued. Without adequate rest, you will fail at reaching your fitness and weight loss goals. Sorry guys but it’s the truth. Professional athletes don’t just focus on food and exercise! They focus on recovery, hydration and stress management to perform at their best. Do you think we are exempt because we are normal people? Nope!
So let me go back to my issue…
I decided to take a look at my sleep quantity and also my sleep quality. Long story short, I found that while I was getting “enough” sleep with my quantity, my sleep quality was lacking. How did I fix it?
I created a list of 10 strategies and settles on three of them to increase my sleep quality almost 20%. I feel SO much better and I challenge you to try some for yourself.
10 different ways to improve sleep quality and FEEL AMAZING!
- GET SOME SUN: Your body has a natural clock called your circadian rhythm. This affects your entire body including your brain and hormones. If you hormones aren’t balanced, all hell breaks lose in countless ways. By getting sunlight or even artificial light exposure, you can decrease your falling asleep time by up to 80% and improve sleep quality and duration.
- CUT THE CAFFEINE: Yeah, I get it. You like your coffee. I’m not asking you to cut it out of your life. Caffeine has a lot of great benefits such as increasing your focus, energy levels and sports performance. Although, it also has some adverse side effects in excessive quantities. Try to limit your caffeine intake late in the day as this can increase your sleep quality significantly. Grab a cup of decaf you need the “fix” after 2-3 pm.
- TRY A SUPPLEMENT: Different supplements or essential oils to help you relax in the evening. Melatonin is the classic pick for this task but there are others that can join the party. Ginko biloba is a natural sleep aid and stress reducer. Valerian root, glycine, zinc and magnesium are all helpful for sleep quality as well. My favorite? I love lavender! It has several other health benefits as well and smells amazing when diffused. Don’t go crazy though and use all of these at one time. Try one and see how it goes until you find the right one for you.
- SHUT OFF THE SCREENS: Blue light exposure in the evening makes your body and brain think that it’s daytime. So try to limit your use of screen time from phones, computers and other devices as much as possible for 90 minutes before bedtime. If this is extremely difficult for you, try wearing a pair blue light blocking glasses or download a blue light-blocking app for your devices.
- LIMIT YOUR ALCOHOL: Alcohol is known to cause symptoms of sleep apnea and other types of disrupted sleeping patterns. So if you are a wine drinker before bed because it “relaxes you.” Maybe try other strategies that may offer the same feelings of calm.
- TAKE A HOT SHOWER OR BATH: Increasing your core temperature before bed sends signals to the body that it’s time to relax and get ready for sleep. This helps you fall asleep faster and find deep sleep more effectively.
- CREATE A MAGICAL SLEEP ENVIRONMENT: Try to minimize noise, natural light and artificial light when winding down for bed. Maybe even go past that and take a look at how your room makes you FEEL. Is it a place of rest and relaxation? Is your bedroom a place of refuge and a sanctuary? Grab a new comforter or a pretty light fixture that has the ability to dim. Find items that make you happy and create a sense of joy and relaxation. Or maybe paint the walls a calming color that you love. I personally love a clean and organized bedroom. I love how our bedroom is decorated and I love how it feels every evening when I get ready for bed.
- COOL DOWN: While a heightened core body temperature is great for falling asleep, consider decreasing the temperature in your home and grab a heavier blanket to improve your sleep experience. I like my home set to 65 degrees when I sleep but I suggest you play with your temperature and takes notes on what feels best.
- CONSIDER YOUR FOOD AT NIGHT: I personally like to decrease my carbs at dinner to help me reduce the glucose in my blood. Glucose in the blood is travels around trying to be used as energy. If it’s not used, it’s stored in the liver or muscles. If those warehouses are full, it’s stored as fat. No thanks! With that being said, everyone is different. Some people do well to have a bedtime snack rich in protein and healthy fats while other do better sleeping on an empty stomach. Try both methods and decide what works best for your body.
- CONSIDER YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE: Exercise is one of the best ways to get a good night sleep but when performed in the evening, it can negatively affect your sleep. Exercise stimulates the body, increases alertness and secretes hormones such as epinephrine and adrenaline. While these benefits are amazing during the day when you need to be alert and feeling energized, it’s not ideal when you want to get a good nights sleep. Consider your workout schedule. Are you waking up early to get your workout in and therefore, sacrificing some much-needed sleep? Maybe you workout just a couple hours before bed and it’s keeping you up at night. Can you move things around a little bit?
What methods that worked best for me? I shut down my screen time completely for 90 minutes before bed, added lavender essential oils and a melatonin supplement. I exercise in the morning or afternoon, so that wasn’t a issue. I’m not a big consumer of alcohol or caffeine, so those were easy ones.
I hope this article inspires you to get a better night sleep tonight and going forward! I would love to hear from you and what strategy worked best! Need more help? Ask me!