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Sleep

Sleep and inflammation

01 How sleep impacts your day
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We all know that we need enough good quality sleep and the lack of it has negative consequences that will can see right the nest day in our mood, performance, cravings, etc. but consistent lack of sleep goes way further and the impact and consequences are bad for our health.

Lack of sleep increase inflammation but what is inflammation? Is a natural response from the immune system of our body to fight off harmful toxins that can cause diseases and also as a way to help our body heal from an injury.

Inflammation is beneficial and keeps us healthy but when it´s too often it can be the cause of many other health issues, as we said before inflammation is a response from our body to fight harmful toxins but when it´s too often this inflammations attacks healthy cells, organs, tissues and systems throughout our body which leads to chronic diseases.

Too much sleep or too little sleep both increase inflammation, poor sleep or sleep problems which cause poor sleep like insomnia, sleep apnea, waking up several times through the night also increase inflammation.

Inflammation is linked to the immune system and our immune system and sleep works according to the circadian rhythm which is the internal clock of our body. Our body does so many different jobs and they´re all scheduled through the circadian rhythm, if it goes out of time everything goes out of time and this out of sync or imbalance creates so many problems in our body, if the circadian rhythm goes out of rhythm so does the immune system which causes inflammation levels to raise.

We´ve also talked in other posts about the relation between stress and sleep, if we stressed right before going to bed we won´t be able to fall asleep and the poor quality of sleep of one night creates more stress in our body which becomes a negative unhealthy cycle that keeps inflammation in our body high.

To make everything worse and more complicated, our gut health is also important, and unhealthy gut also contributes to inflammation, we need to keep our gut healthy by exercising, following a healthy nutrition program and getting enough good quality sleep and having a healthy gut also helps us get good quality sleep so once again the 5 principles of fitness are working together.

Bad habits lead to health problems, we all know this and sleep quality is also an important part of our lifestyle, the best tool to improve sleep quality is having a sleep schedule, this way our body gets used to waking up at the same time every day and going to sleep at the same time every day, this gets the circadian rhythm of the body in balance and working effectively which makes it easier to fall asleep bringing so many positive benefits for our health which includes enough good quality sleep every night.

Inflammation protects the body and keeps us safe but when it´s too much for long periods of time it harms our body, the root cause of some chronic diseases is inflammation so we need to make sure to keep the levels right and for this we need enough good quality sleep, around 6 to 8 hours of good sleep every night and also a healthy nutrition program and exercise are key to keep the right levels of inflammation and they also improve sleep.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

The best time of the day to exercise to improve sleep

28 The best time of the day to exercise to improve sleep
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Many people are concerned about diet and exercise, what´s the best diet to lose weight? what´s the best workout to lose weight? but most of them do not give sleep the importance it deserves.

For me is not only about weight loss, in this case our goal is to help you improve body composition which means less body fat and more muscle mass but it doesn´t stops there it´s about living your best life possible and sleep plays an important role to help us live better and to help us achieve our fitness goals whether it´s gain muscle mass or lose body fat.

The biggest benefits come when we combine the 5 principles of fitness, developing healthy habits on each give us the best results so when we want to improve the quality of sleep, the time of the day at which we work out will have an impact.

The best time of the day to workout to improve sleep is in the morning, studies show that people who sleep in the morning tend to have more efficient sleep phases, sleep better and improve blood pressure.

There are some of us who can´t workout in the morning because of school or job but if you want to give it a try you just need 10 minutes, try to make those 10 minutes intense or at least moderate and in this case cardio is the best option, you can choose between HIIT or steady cardio, try it for a couple of weeks and see if the quality of your sleep improved.

If you see benefits and you want to keep it try to increase those 10 minutes to 15 or 20 minutes, if you like the changes, how it improves your day and sleep chances are you´ll get motivated and find ways to get in those 15 or 20 minutes of daily morning exercise.

The reason for this is that it improves the circadian rhythm of our body, in the morning after a good quality sleep night our body is in balance, all systems and hormones are working efficiently and exercise boost some of this hormones and it sends a signal to your brain to start the day strong, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are beneficial if we use them the right way and they are higher in the morning so when we workout early in the morning we boost this hormones and which helps as preparation for the day and in the evening they´re lower and melatonin start to increase to help us fall asleep.

Now as always this is not a rule or law, there are people who workout in the night just a couple of hours before going to sleep and they get enough good quality sleep and there´s also people who workout in the morning who have bad quality sleep so you need to find out what works best for you.

For me it´s all about keeping it simple and working on improving the 5 principles of fitness which work together to give us the best benefits, working out in the morning at the same time every day specially outside is one of the best tools to improve quality of sleep, it is the right combination of exercise and sunlight exposure and you´re getting 2 at once.

Improving the internal clock of our body or circadian rhythm improves our day and life in so many different ways on just by having a sleep schedule and a morning routine are the best way to improve that internal clock.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

Benefits of optimal sleep

06 sleep and fat loss
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When it comes to fitness and health there are some changes we need to make in our lifestyle to live as best as possible, it´s not always about working as hard as you can, it´s always about working smarter, what are the best tools or the best habits you can develop that will give you the greatest benefits.

Improving the quality of sleep is one of them, most research and people in the industry recommend getting 8 hours of sleep but if you do the right things and improve the quality of sleep you can get 6 hours of sleep every night and feel great.

We´ve talked in other posts about the benefits of sleep for overall health and specially the negative impact on the short run but when we talk about longetivity, improving health and preventing diseases sleep is key.

1.- Good quality sleep improves skin health which help us get a youthful appearance, look younger

2.- Prevent diseases, most chronic diseases we´re seeing nowadays can be prevent with good quality sleep. Obesity, overweight and diabetes; stress, depression and anxiety, stress, and some others are linked to poor sleep and it´s been shown that when people improve the quality of sleep their health improve.

3.- Maintain a healthy weight.- Good quality sleep helps our body works efficiently this include systems and hormones and when our body is working efficiently it is easier to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight.

4.- Lower inflammation.- Many diseases are caused by inflammation in the body and having an sleep schedule helps our body function efficiently which keeps inflammation levels healthy.

5.- Improves memory.- Remembering information and keeping our brain at peak performance is based on good quality sleep.

6.- Sleep longer.- Enough good quality sleep help us live longer, here both are important too much or too little sleep is linked to a shorter lifespan.

Sleep is key for optimal health, most of us focus on diet and exercise but one night of poor sleep has negative consequences the next day and if this lack of sleep becomes consistent it affects negatively our health.

It´s possible to prevent chronic diseases but we need to commit to a healthy lifestyle and that healthy lifestyle includes a sleep schedule, we need to stop binging on Netflix and make our health our priority before it´s too late. Our unhealthy lifestyles are the root cause of many diseases nowadays so we need to develop healthy habits to live healthy lifestyles and to develop healthy habits means that we need to make different choices and that´s the hardest part.

Making a small different choice and repeating that new choice every single day will develop the new habit, take one choice or activity that you can change today and start doing it over and over, suddenly you´ll see that it´s part of your life.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

Sunlight and sleep

00 Training intro
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Did you have enough good quality sleep tonight? If you great with a lot of energy and excited for the amazing day you´ll have then you had a great night sleep, if you feel tired and are thinking on taking a rest and you have cravings for your favorite junk food you didn´t have enough sleep.

Now, another question, how much time of your day do you spend outside? Whether you think about it or not, getting sunlight improves our sleep, we´ve talked before of the circadian rhythm, the internal clock of our body. This internal clock dictates many functions of our body like hormone production, appetite and it revolves around the pattern of natural light.

Getting sunlight exposure specially in the morning helps our body get the circadian rhythm right or on time which makes it easier to our body to keep us awake and alert during day and as the sun starts to set it´s an indication for our body that it´s time to sleep so our body starts working on releasing melatonin to fall asleep and once we´re sleep our body starts working on recovering, healing and growing.

Body temperature is also important here, it keeps fluctuating throughout the whole day, our body reaches its coolest temperature in the morning before waking up and its highest late in the afternoon of evening. It goes very similar to sunrise and sunset.

When the internal clock of our body is out of time all systems and functions get out balance, natural sunlight tells our body when it´s time to sleep and when it´s time to stay awake, if we don´t consider this and we go to sleep late then we will wake up later which is what happens to many of us on weekends or we don´t have enough sleep which happens during the week and with this hormones are not released on time, and overall our body is not functioning as efficiently as it could be.

When you go to sleep late at night and you wake up later in the morning the next day even when you slept 8 hours your body is out of rhythm, there are still 24 hours in a day, the sun rise and sets at the same time every day and that´s what´s going to get the internal clock on time.

There´s a time of the day when the sun is at its highest point and its UVB rays are more intense so you need less time.

The best time to get sunlight exposure is in the morning between 6:30 am and 8:00 am, you can take advantage of that time and workout outside which has a lot of benefits for our health, studies show that working out in the morning also improves sleep at night but I know that most of us can´t workout at this time and for some it´s so difficult to get sun exposure in the morning but if you can take at least 10 minutes it will be effective.

Most of us get 1 to 2 hours for lunch on our jobs, try to eat your meal in one hour and take 10 to 15 minutes to take a walk outside, this is another way to get sunlight.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

How caffeine affects sleep

08 Sleep and hormones
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I love coffee and chances are you love it too but how much of it we drink per day and at what times of the day can be beneficial or a complete mistake. Some of us do not know how much caffeine we´re taking every day because it can be found on coffee, tea, chocolate, drinks and some drugs.

Most of us use coffee every morning to wake up and start our day the right way and also some use it in the afternoon or late night to stay alert through the rest of the day but even when I haven´t heard and found any big negative impact on health with moderate coffee or tea we need to put a limit.

Since caffeine is a stimulant it keeps us alert and it can cause insomnia and when we´re trying to get more sleep of improve the quality of sleep this is a huge problem, I´m not saying to eliminate caffeine and by this I mean coffee, tea or chocolate (dark chocolate 70% cacao or more) they all have amazing benefits for our health but what we need to do is be aware of the time we consume it.

When we consume caffeine, specially coffee, drinks or drugs studies show that it´s harder to fall asleep, we sleep less, we awake more during the night. We don´t need too much studies for this if you are sensitive to caffeine and you´ve had a cup of coffee late in the afternoon you may have get some of those symptoms. There are guys who are not sensitive to caffeine, they can have a cup of coffee around 3 or 4 hours before going to bed and they will get enough good sleep.

It also has a lot to do with the amount of caffeine we take, we can become dependent of it and each time we´ll need more and more and although it has amazing benefits, too much of a good think can have a negative impact.

I recommend having coffee in the morning from 1 to 2 cups per day, in the afternoon you can have a cup of tea if you can stick with 1 cup of coffee in the morning and 1 cup of tea in the afternoon that´s great, if you want chocolate you can have one small piece of dark chocolate at least 70% cacao or more.

Caffeine is great as an appetite suppressant so if you do intermittent fasting having a cup of coffee or tea will make it easier to stay fasted, if you fast in the morning skipping breakfast you can have coffee, or if it´s at night you can have tea.

If you are sensitive to caffeine and you take a cup of coffee or tea late in the afternoon you will start feeling anxious and it will cause insomnia, since it keeps you alert and awake it will take you longer to fall asleep and the next day you won´t feel rested because you didn´t get enough sleep.

Your body wasn´t able to recover, heal and prepare for the day because it stayed in an alert state for some time during the night and it wasn´t able to relax.

If you know you are sensitive to caffeine limit the intake to the morning so that you have at least 10 hours from the time you drink your coffee to the time you go to bed to take the effects of alertness down, be aware of energetic drinks and some drugs which can also be causing problems.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

The benefits of having a sleep schedule

23 The benefits of having a sleep schedule
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What I see in most people, at least the ones close to me is that they have a sleep schedule from Monday to Friday which are work days and on Saturday and Sunday they forget about it. From Monday to Friday their sleeping schedule is based on school or job and for Saturday and Sunday it´s based on parties or Netflix.

Having a sleeping schedule that we stick to every day, including weekends has a lot of benefits for our body and the most important is that our body gets used to going to sleep at the same time and waking up at the same which balance the internal clock of our body called circadian rhythm, the benefits of this are:

1.- It´s easier to fall asleep.- When your body gets adapted to you sleeping schedule it´s easier to fall asleep every night.

2.- Waking up without an alarm.- Once your body is adapted to waking up at the same hour it´s easier to wake up every morning and you will do it without an alarm clock, you´ll be waking up roughly at the same time.

3.- Consistent good quality sleep.- It´s easier to get good quality sleep every night since your body knows it´s time to rest and recover.

4.- Performance throughout the day improves.- Since you´re getting enough good quality sleep your body is able to recover and heal so your performance stays at peak.

5.- Stay lean.- When the internal clock of the body and all systems and functions are in balance working efficiently it´s easier to lose weight and stay lean.

This are just some of the benefits of having a sleep schedule, now that we know the benefits we need to make the commitment to make some changes to our routine, having a 9 to 5 job can make it more difficult so you´ll need to make your sleeping schedule based on your working days, the goal is to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day, also Saturday and Sunday or your rest day.

The first couple of days are hard but you need to give time to your body to adapt to the routine, what you can do is try to mimic natural sunlight, when the sun goes down turn off your computer, tv, laptop, ipad, cell phone or if you can´t turn them off use blue light blockers. At least try to turn them off 30 minutes before going to bed so that your body starts to produce melatonin.

For waking up you´ll need to set an alarm clock specially the first weeks, then when your body gets used to the routine and schedule you will wake up almost at the same time every day but if you need to arrive on time to your job or school I recommend setting the alarm clock so that you don´t arrive late.

Living a healthy lifestyle is based on habits and routines, the first days when you start making different choices it´s difficult and feels so uncomfortable, just stick with those new choices until your body adapts to those new routines and become habits, after that you´ll see that it´s actually simple and effortless to live a better life and you have so much freedom while staying lean and feeling great.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life. Pam

Sleep

What happens during sleep?

22 What happens during sleep
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Most of us want to feel and perform every day or at least we want to feel better and be able to go through all activities and accomplish our daily goals as best as possible but even when we want all this we do not prioritize sleep. I know some days is impossible to go to bed early and get 8 hours of quality sleep but, how many times have you stayed up late watching one more episode of Game of Thrones, a Harry Potter or Avengers movies?

I think that if we understand what happens when we sleep we will consider to give it the importance it deserves and even if we can´t get 8 hours every night we can make some changes to our lifestyle and adopt good habits that will improve the quality of our sleep and get at least 6 hours every night which will impact our life positively.

We´re going to keep it simple, we´ve seen in the post called Phases of sleep that there are 4 phases ( if you want to know more about it click here), for now we will stay with REM sleep and deep sleep.

Deep sleep

During this part of sleep all the healing and repairing in the body occurs, here the body is working on recovering from the day and recover, healing and growing. Growth hormone is released during this phase but all other hormones like leptin, ghrelin, insulin are also working, the same with the systems of our body like digestive, immune they´re all working together to recover and build muscle, skin, hair.

During deep sleep our physical body is recovering, healing and growing.

REM sleep

In this part of sleep the focus is on our brain and memory, t during this phase our brain is remembering all the information of the day and it´s when it memorize and learn, even when memory consolidation requires both deep sleep and REM studies show that if you have any sleep issue during this stage people tend to be more forgetful. Dreams are experienced most vividly during this stage and even when the reasons or purpose of dreams are not clear it may be to help us process information and emotions.

During REM sleep our brain, mind and memory are processing information focusing on learning and memorizing.

It´s clear that we need enough good quality sleep and we need to go through both phases repeatedly every night, lack of sleep impacts all the process that´s going on while we sleep that is why it´s harder to stay focused on what we´re doing, we tend to be more forgetful and we are more susceptible to get sick.

Optimal health physically and mentally requires good quality sleep, this compliments the other 4 principles of fitness so developing good habits for each of them leads to a better life, it´s not about being perfect in one of them, it´s about improving in all of them. If you can´t get 8 hours of sleep every day try getting 6 hours and focus on making those 6 hours the best and use tools to reduce stress which will help you improve the quality of sleep, eat real, fresh foods, workout every day and stay as far as possible from negative people, be more positive all day.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life. Pam

Sleep

How lack of sleep affects our performance

21 Sleep and performance
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We´ve seen before that sleep is a critical part of health, physical and mental but most of us stay late night watching Netflix, even when we can see some of the negative symptoms of lack of sleep the next day we can manage it but our performance and focus throughout the day won´t be as great as it could be.

If you are an athlete you may know by now the importance of enough good quality sleep every night and you know that lack of sleep of poor quality sleep really affects your performance at the practice but for people like me who are not athletes and are only interested on looking as great as possible and living an amazing life, then our performance will be measure at school or the office. Lack of sleep affects our performance and productivity in all activities throughout the day, here are some ways:

1.- Stops creativity and innovative thinking

2.- We tend to forget information whether it´s something we need to learn or something we need to do.

3.- It´s harder to focus and pay attention to the task we´re working on.

4.- Our reaction or response time is slower.

If we want to live a successful life we need to perform at peak in everything we do every day, we don´t have to be an athlete to focus on improving the quality of our sleep. When we´re working for success we need to be able to focus on what we´re doing and find ways to be more effective and efficient, we need to be able to make the best decisions for our business, job or life, we need to be able to think creatively, to come with new ideas, being innovative is key to stay relevant.

It´s not only about how you feel after a night of poor sleep, it´s about the results we accomplish, what we get done and how we do what we need to do, it´s about doing our best in everything and working as hard as we can but this efforts gets compromised with just one night of poor sleep or not enough sleep.

There´s no way we can perform great, stay focused, be creative and make the best decisions if our body and mind didn´t get enough sleep and didn´t recover properly. Now when it comes to health we need to prioritize our health and well-being, lack of sleep gets the body out of balance and this makes our body more susceptible to injuries and illness, if this occurs constantly health problems in both physically and mentally and injuries get worse impacting our performance more and more each night of poor sleep.

One night of bad sleep has immediate consequences on our performance and results for the next day, if we make this lack of sleep a bad habit the negative consequences carry on to our health. Sleep is key to live a successful life, our body needs adequate amount of rest each night to recover and heal, all hormones, systems and the internal clock of our body needs to be in balance to maintain a healthy body, reduce the risk of injuries and illness and to perform at peak every day on everything we do.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

What we need to know about phases of sleep

20 Phases of sleep
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We all know that sleep is crucial for our health and one night of poor sleep will impact our day, when this lack of sleep is constant the negative effects increase but what happens while we sleep?  There are so many things going on in our brain and body that help us recover from the day and get ready for what´s to come.

Reading books and research, some divide the phases or stages of sleep in 4 others in 5 the way I see and to keep it simple is considering 5 phases:

1.- Phase one.- When we fall asleep our brain produces alpha and theta waves, this phase last just a couple minutes and it´s when we can be easily woken. If any night you fall asleep and after a couple of minutes you woke up with any noise you were in this phase. This phase of light sleep gives way to phase two.

2.- Phase two.- During this phase the brain waves decrease in frequency and increase in amplitude

3.- On phases three.- This phase of moderate sleep giving way to deep sleep is where it is harder to be awakened and the brain

4.- On phase four.- This phase is the deepest level of sleep and  is where delta waves or slow waves takes place.

This four phases are called non-rapid eye movement, after this four phases are completed we get to a rapid eye movement which is the fifth phase, while we sleep the brain cycle between non-rapid eye movement and rapid eye movement.

The first 4 phases which are part of the non-rapid eye movement are compromised of slow waves while the fifth phase which is the rapid eye movement our heart rate increase, our breathing gets faster and is the sleep phase where dreams occur. In this last phase is also when we can retain information, skills, improve memory and learning.

One complete sleep cycle going through all phases last around 90 minutes, each night we go through several cycles, you may go through 4 or 5 cycles per night depending on how many hours of sleep you get.

If you have sleep disorders it may be harder for you to fall asleep so you´ll get less sleep so you will go through less cycles, if you wake up in the night and you interrupt the cycle your body needs to start again from phase 1, the more you get awaken during the night chances are that you may never get to the phase of deep sleep which affects your entire sleep quality and you´ll get all the negative impacts of one night of poor sleep the next day.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.

Pam

Sleep

Breathing to improve sleep

19 Breathing to improve sleep
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High levels of stress are one of the most common causes of sleep problems, if we are stressed our body can´t relax and stay calm so it´s harder to fall asleep, if our mind is thinking in all the negative stuff of the day and we´re worried for something we will wake up constantly during the night.

Breathing is an amazing tool that help us get asleep faster and improve all aspects of our sleep patterns. Have you ever think of how you feel and what´s happening in your body and mind when you can´t fall asleep? In most cases we are stressed, our body and muscle are in tension and our mind is buzzing around.

The way we can fall asleep and get good quality sleep for longer periods is by calming our mind and relaxing our muscles and entire body, once our mind is calm and our entire body is relax we can fall asleep quickly.

Many people use breathing techniques to help them sleep and many of them prefer to do any of the exercises sitting in a chair or the floor, I prefer to do them lying in the bed just ready to sleep. If the goal with this breathing techniques is to fall asleep and not meditate then you can do them lying in your bed, if the goal is to meditate it´s better to sit in a chair or the floor otherwise you will fall asleep.

When we are stressed our body is alert and this sends the signal to our brain that it´s not time to relax and rest this is why we can´t fall asleep, with breathing techniques we slow our breathing and what this those is that as our breathe slows it sends the message to the brain that it´s time to calm down and our entire body starts to slow down and relax.

The best way to do this so that it actually works is to focus on breathing and keep your mind also focus on your breathe, for this you can use the 4 – 7 – 8 breathing technique by Dr. Andrew Weil or if you know other technique that uses counting while breathing go for it. Here you inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7 and exhale for a count of 8 and repeat this 3 times.

The special point about this is that you need to be focus and aware of what you are doing so that you don´t lose the count this way the mind is engaged and you start feeling your breathe going slower and your whole body relaxing.

This tool needs to be done daily if you want to get the benefits, if you do this one day and you want it to work perfectly, it won´t you need time and you need to make it a habit specially if you have sleep disorders. As always when you start anything new you´ll feel wear doing this exercises and your mind will start wandering in all that thoughts you want to avoid, when you catch your mind wandering just bring it back to the breathing exercise, do not blame yourself or feel bad, remember that is something new for you.

Breathing techniques are also a great tool to use before meditation and visualization, for any meditation or visualization technique to work efficiently your mind needs to be calm, focus on breathing deeply and sense how your body relax.

There are so many different breathing techniques, some more advance than others but is important that you take one step at a time and start with something simple, once you develop it as a habit you can try more advanced techniques that go according to what you want to achieve.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life. Pam