Do you feel like you need more sleep? Does your brain feel foggy during the day? Do you find your workouts feel harder than normal? Are you gaining weight and you don’t know why?
Could lack of sleep be to blame?
(Wow, that sounded like a cheesy infomercial didn’t it? I promise I’m not trying to sell you a new mattress or a body pillow 😉
What I DO want to do, though, is talk about sleep and see if you are getting enough. For many people, getting more sleep is often the missing piece they need in their healthy lifestyle.
BARB IS WRITING ABOUT SLEEP HYGIENE?? THAT’S SURPRISING!
If you know me well you may think it’s ironic I’m writing about sleep hygiene. I’m a total night owl. I was first plagued by insomnia while pregnant with my twins years ago. The insomnia continued on and off for years after that.
Luckily those days of insomnia (the sleepless nights I can’t control) aren’t as much a problem as they used to be. These days I still stay up late sometimes (by choice) to work, and have some time on my own to “recharge” after the day. I’m a true (and proud!) introvert at heart!
But how much sleep is too little?
What warning signs should we look for to see if we need more sleep?
5 WARNING SIGNS YOU AREN’T GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
First, much of what I’m sharing with you is from Precision Nutrition, an excellent resource for personal trainers and nutritionists. Much of their data on sleep I’m mentioning today can be found here, so check it out.
5 Warning Signs You May Need More Sleep:
- 1) Your mind is foggy – you have trouble concentrating.
- 2) You get sick a lot – inflammation in the body goes up and you are more vulnerable to getting sick.
- 3) Your workouts feel too hard – you have a slower reactions time, as well as less strength and endurance.
- 4) Emotions are out of whack – you feel depressed, stressed or emotional.
- 5) You are struggling with your weight – you also may have increased hunger and cravings.
5 WAYS TO START GETTING A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
- 1) Turn off electronics about 30 minutes before you want to go to sleep. This was a HUGE one for me, which is why I’m putting it at #1. The artificial light has been shown to make it harder for us to get to sleep.
- 2) Temperature & lighting – make sure the temperature and lighting in your room is just right. For many that’s a cooler room (or having a fan). The lighting should be as dark as possible.
- 3) Exercise – you knew that was coming, didn’t you? 😉 Exercising can actually help you sleep better at night! Some people find evening exercise keeps them up, so if you find that happens, be sure to exercise earlier in the day.
- 4) Limit caffeine later in the day – many people find if they consume caffeinated beverages in the afternoon or evening it affects their sleep.
- 5) Monitor alcohol in evenings – when my insomnia was at its worst I had a few people joke with me that I should simply drink wine all evening until I fall asleep:) While that sounds like it could be a fun solution (I do love wine!), unfortunately studies show alcohol before bed may limit us from getting a deep and restorative sleep.
These are my top 5 ways to help get a good night’s sleep. If you still find yourself struggling it may be time to reach out to your doc as well. There are many non-addictive sleep aids we can add into our routine (in a healthy way) that can help us too.
What about YOU? Have something that works for you not mentioned here? Feel free to contact me and let me know!
p.s. Need some free workouts to help regulate your sleep schedule? Have you downloaded my latest freebie, “The Busy Woman’s Workout Guide?” 7 super simple workouts! Video instruction, PDF for grab-and-go, and daily coaching along the way. Sign up below or grab it HERE.