Is poor SLEEP impacting your success?

Sleep is often underrated, yet most of us who don’t sleep well, crave sleep! Why is that? If you aren’t making sleep a priority then you may be damaging your health more than you know.

A good quality night’s sleep will determine the quality of not only your health but your career and relationships. Poor quality sleep may also cause:

  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Overeating
  • Plateau or decline in athletic performance
  • Lack of concentration
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low mood and energy levels
  • Increase risk to heart disease, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes
  • Decreased immune system

It may be frustrating to some when they don’t even know the reason behind their poor quality sleep. Here’s a few tips on how to get the most out of your important down-time:

  1. ENVIRONMENT & TEMPERATURE:
    • Creating a cool, dark, quiet space to sleep is extremely important
    • COOL: the National Sleep Foundation recommends 15-20 degrees Celcius (60-67F) for optimal sleep.  Keep your room temperature cool and adjust blankets around it for comfort.
    • DARK: even small amounts of light effects our brains ability to stay asleep. This means any light from your windows or even your electronics can have a profound impact on your sleep. Buying a good quality eye mask (ask me about purchasing these) is important and blackout curtains for your room is recommended.
    • QUIET: in areas where you cannot seem to have complete silence, it is highly recommended to invest in some good quality ear plugs or a white noise app on your phone.
  2. MONITOR YOUR SLEEP:
    • It may be surprising to most people about the quality of sleep they are actually getting. It is important to know how much sleep you are getting on average and be aware of your quality of sleep.
    • A simple sleep app will help you be aware of your sleep patterns
  3. EXERCISE:
    • Your activity levels and quality of movement during the day will determine your quality of sleep at night.
    • Try to keep your exercise to early morning or early afternoon to allow for good quality of sleep.
    • Try not to substitute sleep for exercise – if you want to exercise you are better off going to bed earlier and waking earlier than stressing your body out late at night
  4. SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE:
    • Natural light exposure, particularly in the morning has great brain benefits – it will also regulate your sleep-wake cycle
    • Try going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. Your body loves to have a regular rhythm.
    • GET ENOUGH SLEEP! The recommendation for sleep duration sits between 7 and 9. Everyone’s sleep needs differ and it may also differ at different points of their life. Use the monitoring of your own sleep cycle to adjust and determine the amount of sleep that is optimal for you.
    • Napping can be beneficial at times, however, try to limit your naps to under 30-60 minutes. Napping for too long will effect your sleep.
  5. STIMULUS: 
    • Try to avoid screens at night, if you must use screens limit your blue light exposure
    • “Blue light is a colour in the “visible light spectrum” that can be seen by the human eye. Blue light has a wavelength of between approximately 380nm and 500nm; making it one of the shortest, highest-energy wavelengths” – Blue Light Exposed 
    • Turn off your electronics, dim your screens if possible (if you really want to reduce blue light set night shift on your phone – check Neurohacker Collective’s post on how to do so), invest in anti-blue light glasses if avoiding screen time is not possible
    • Avoid caffeine (4-6 hours) and alcohol (2 hours) before bed. Often people who can have a coffee and fall straight asleep say “coffee doesn’t affect me”. I challenge you to monitor your sleep with and without coffee after 12pm. Let me know how you go!
  6. ROUTINE: 
    • Just as it is important to got to bed and wake up at the same time each day for your quality sleep, it is equally important to have a settling routine before bed.
    • Plan your next day, read a book or have a bath before bed.
    • Avoid social media, this may cause more stress for your sleep!

If you have:

  • ongoing persistent pain
  • a decline or plateau in your cognitive function
  • a decline or plateau in athletic performance

Then commit to introducing ONE of these tips into your life. Begin with SMALL changes and implement these tips for a few months to get your sleep back on track. Slowly introduce changes each week but don’t overload yourself. It’s hard for us to know how good we can really feel when we have never felt it. Commit to 30 days of improving your sleep and notice the change in your business, your relationships and your workouts!

Is inactivity the cause of your PAIN?

How many hours do you spend sitting each day? At work or school, in the car, on the couch? Now, how many hours are you asleep, perhaps 6-9 hours? How many hours are you at the gym? Do you sit between sets or intervals?

Let’s say you’re the typical office worker who sits from 9am to 5pm, who gets up to the printer or to grab a coffee perhaps every couple of hours. And let’s say you go for a 30 minute walk on your lunch break. So that’s 8 hours of work and 6.5 hours of sitting time (on a good day).

Now you leave work, get in your car, or on the bus/train – sit down and travel for an hour (don’t forget you’ve spent the morning getting to work and this has also cost you another hour in sitting time). Perhaps you get home, and you head to the gym – 15-20 minutes travel time spent sitting in the car. You spend a couple of hours there lifting weights or maybe you’re doing some cardio. You may sit around and chat to some friends or perhaps you rest between sets.

Now you’re at almost 9 hours sitting time.

You get home, eat something, perhaps you play with the kids for a bit, or do you head to the computer to do more work? Or does the couch look more appealing? You’re exhausted from your day, you’ve done your work out – you sit on the couch and watch some TV to unwind. If you’re like most Australian’s you cook dinner and eat in front of the TV. This may take up 2 hours of your day – so let’s be generous and give you another 1 hour sitting time.

You get home, you’ve done your workout, you’re feeling exhausted and its about 10-11pm, you head to bed.

10 hours total sitting time now turns into 7.5 hours sleeping time. Your body most definitely needs sleep but now it’s combating hours of inactive sitting time. You toss and turn a few times, but mostly your body is motionless.

You wake up, hit snooze a few thousand times and finally you get out of bed and feel stiff, sore & you just want more SLEEP! Your legs feel heavy or maybe your shoulders and neck hurts from sleeping in an awkward position all night.

Sitting and sleep now account for 72% of your total day. That’s ¾ of your total life where your body isn’t moving. Your body is designed for MOVEMENT. If you feel like you’re doing everything right, yet you’re still stiff and sore, perhaps you’re not moving ENOUGH.

My point is, western culture is an inactive one. The idea of modern exercise isn’t enough – run, walk, play, crawl, climb, have FUN with movement and your body will thank you a thousand times. If your body isn’t used to much variety of movement you’d be surprised in what small 5-10 minute changes will have on your overall body health. Compliment this movement with regular massage or body work and notice the change in energy levels, stress reduction and increased flexibility!