With the change of seasons comes darker mornings. It’s just not fair! This morning was the first time I noticed the significant change. I can no longer take my bootcampers outside in the morning unless we were to have a flood light but I don’t think the nearby residents would like that.
We are getting closer to the time of year when many of us go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. The days will continue to get shorter until the Winter Solstice on December 21st. To help our bodies get through this we need to focus on our sleep.
For the Studio ME crew, we posted in our private Facebook group today a little bit about healthy sleep habits to ensure QUALITY sleep. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the post today…
- Sleep in complete darkness. It is important for regulating the circadian rhythm and even small amounts light can throw us off. Remove all sources of light in your bedroom.
- Avoid technology for at least 90 minutes before bed. That’s right! Put down that damn phone, turn off that TV, and close your laptop.
- Keep your room cool. Best around 65 if you can.
- Reduce notice or use an app for some gentle background noise. Try Noisli.
- Check your mattress? It affects your sleep patterns more than you think. Make sure you have enough support.
- Keep plants in your house to improve air quality.
- If you wake up in the middle of the night, DO NOT look at the time. When you look at the clock, the dopamine (a neurotransmitter) cascade begins in order for you to remember what you saw. Those individuals that look at the time when they wake up, on average keep themselves up for an extra half hour.
- Avoid coffee and energy drinks. They can really throw your body for a loop.
Now that we have done a quick review let’s get on with it…
How many of you can honestly say that you are getting enough sleep and when I say sleep I mean quality sleep? Do you wake up raring to go? Or do you hit the snooze once….twice….,maybe even three times before dragging you’re a** out of bed?
For me, sleep is how I decompress from the day. I don’t do well trying to relax or mediate; I just sleep so this is very important topic to me and often overlooked by many of my clients. If you’ve plateaued in your weight loss goals, this could be one of the reasons.
Sleep is SO important for our health, overall well-being, and weight loss. The focus of a fitness program typically is on exercise and nutrition but let’s face it there is A LOT more to it than that. It is important to pay attention to what your body needs.
The Sleep Foundation published new guidelines. By following these guidelines you can lower your stress and improve your mood, maintain a healthy weight, improve your workouts, and increase your ability to pay attention and remember new information. How are you doing?
- “Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)”
What happens if we don’t get the recommend amount of sleep?
According to T.S. Wiley, author of Lights Out, “There are at least 10 different hormones as well as many neurotransmitters in the brain that go sideways when you don’t sleep enough.” Melatonin is the tip of the iceberg so to speak. It is all of the other shifts that change when you don’t get enough sleep such as appetite, fertility, and mental and cardiac health.”
Melatonin is the hormone that helps you to go to sleep and stay asleep. When the lights are on, your body doesn’t make melatonin. Instead your body makes cortisol (our stress hormone). Cortisol then mobilizes blood sugar into the bloodstream as part of the stress response. This rise in blood sugar calls for insulin to disperse.
When you are mobilizing blood sugar in the hours you should be making melatonin, you are also mobilizing insulin making yourself more insulin resistant. Insulin resistance causes the blood sugar to get stored as fat around your mid-section. When you stay up late, even if you are not eating, cortisol is still mobilizing blood sugar out of the liver. If you stay up, plus eat, that is twice as bad!
We need to “TAKE BACK THE NIGHT,” (I am signing the song as I type this and my husband would be happy as his fav is JT) from lightbulbs, internet, smart phones, television, and computers to improve our health, reach a healthy weight, and reduce our risk for disease. When your body is sleeping its recovering!
Are you ready to TAKE BACK THE NIGHT?
Start practicing those tips I shared above and journal your sleep habits. When you wake up in the morning note how do you feel? What did you do before bed and start to see if you notice a trend and if you can cut out any of those pesky habits.
Those of you that are Studio ME members you are going to get an extra special bonus along with this post. Every day Siri, our fabulous instructor, is going to post one restorative pose that will help you sleep better at night. Try it for one week and report back and let us know how you’re doing?