Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



Habits to improve sleep


We´ve talked on other posts about the importance of getting enough high quality sleep every night and the way to make sure we can achieve that is by developing certain habits.

We know that melatonin is a hormone that is released by the pineal gland and it helps us fall asleep, but for this to happen we need to send the right message to our brain and this is done with light, in order for the pineal gland to release melatonin it needs to be dark and most of us expose ourselves to unnatural light from electronic devices and this sends the wrong signal to our brain so when we go to bed and we want to fall asleep it takes a lot more time for the pineal gland to release melatonin and it may only release a small percentage. If you are able to fall asleep fast maybe because you´re tired the quality of sleep won´t be good enough.

There are some habits you need to develop that will make it easier for you to fall asleep and improve the quality and quantity of sleep:

1.- Wake up at the same time every day, also on weekends.

2.- Get direct sunlight during the day, especially in the morning.

3.- Do physical activity, especially in the morning. If you can´t schedule your exercise routine in the morning a short walk will work fine. Have you spend a long day outside doing any physical activity? Probably you enjoyed that day and you fall asleep really fast. I´m not saying to stay really active all day just to do some resistance exercise and a couple of short walks will work fine.

4.- Be aware of what you eat. This includes all your meals but especially your last meal try eating 3 hours before going to bed and make sure that what you eat don´t cause digestive issues. Focus on eating foods and meals that make you feel good and avoid unhealthy foods like sugar, refined flours (except nut flours) and seed oils, this lowers stress on your body and leads to better quality of sleep.

5.- Turn off electric devices and all blue light exposure at least 60 minutes before going to bed. Use amber glasses if possible.

This steps play a huge role on your circadian rhythm, our body works in cycles just as nature does and when everything is working in harmony that´s when we can expect the best results in overall health and also how we look and feel. Sometimes when we´re on a bad mood or we feel tired or unmotivated is because something is working out of sync, if we are aware of this then we can make better choice to improve it.

We´ve talked about this in other posts and there´s a reason why, sleep is important and this 5 steps or habits make a huge difference on the quality and quantity of sleep. Sleep is really important for optimal health so if you really prioritize your health then you´ll need everything you need to improve it.

Developing good habits for the 4 principles of fitness is what leads to success and makes your life a lot more easier. You don´t need to develop all habits at the same time, and actually if you try to do this you will fail, take one habit you want to develop and work on it for the first days and weeks you need to do it consciously, once you feel comfortable with it and you don´t need to think about it take another one. Getting direct sunlight first thing in the morning and avoid blue light exposure as the sun comes down and exercising are the 3 most effective habits that will give you the biggest results. When you wake up and as soon as there´s sunlight expose yourself to sunlight, something as simple as opening the courtines will work, as we mentioned before turn off electric devices and blue light exposure 60 minutes before going to bed and exercise. Do this for a couple of weeks and let us know what changes you noticed.

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5 simple habits to improve sleep


Our life is based on habits, what we do every single day is creating our life so if we want to be successful we need to develop the right habits this also applies for sleep, since we are lazy and our mind likes to avoid challenges and changes so by developing habits and systems we make everything simple for our mind and ourselves.

The easiest sleep habits we can develop and that will give us the best results are:

1. Turn off electric devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.

Blue light has a negative impact on your sleep so if you turn off electric devices right before going to bed it will hard to fall asleep unless you had a very tough day and you´re really tired otherwise the light will make it harder for you.

2. Working out especially in the morning.

Exercise improves sleep quality it doesn´t matter at which time of the day you workout but if you can only train at night you need to make it moderate intensity and effort if you go to hard you won´t fall asleep fast, if you exercise in the morning you will get all the benefits of improving sleep at night thanks to the circadian rhythm.

3. Getting sunlight

Your body has an internal clock called circadian rhythm and getting sunlight exposure especially in the morning and turning lights and electric devices when the sun comes down helps the internal clock stay in tune which helps you fall asleep faster.

4. Breathing exercises before sleep

If you are stressed and tense when you go to bed doing some breathing exercises help you release tensions from your muscles and body and reduce stress.

5. Avoid caffeine before going to bed

Caffeine is a stimulant so it´s job is to keep you awake, if you drink coffee in the afternoon to get through all the work it may be causing problems to fall asleep. Drinking coffee in the morning is great but make sure that you don´t do it for at least 5 hours before going to bed, if you can avoid completely in the afternoon and late night that´s better.

These steps may sound so simple and they are, if you use them and make them part of a daily routine it will be easier for you to get enough good quality sleep every night. You can turn off lights and electric devices 30 minutes before going to bed and use those 30 minutes or part of them to meditate or do some breathing exercises, just by doing this you´ll see it´s easier for you to fall asleep and the next day you wake up and feel great, the more days you practice this the better you become and the best the results.

If you take this habits and make them part of your life you will improve the quality and quantity of sleep which can also reduce the quantity of it, if right now you need 7 hours but those hours are not good quality and by using this habits you improve the quality you may sleep 6 hours and feel great, or you may still need those 7 hours but you´ll feel amazing when you wake up, it all depends of your lifestyle.

There are different strategies or tools for each of the 5 principles of fitness but you need to try them and find the ones that work best for you according to your lifestyle, remember that you can´t let your life revolve around fitness, you need to find strategies you can adapt to your life and develop those strategies as habits.

If you have any doubt or question leave it down below and on Twitter, we´ll be glad to read from you and answer to help you improve your life and achieve your fitness goal.

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How to develop the habit of daily exercise


Yeap, you read that right. You need to develop the habit of daily exercise if you do want to lose weight once and for all. There´s no other way to lose weight, keep it off and maintain optimal health.

Even when following a healthy diet, getting enough high quality sleep and keeping stress low will do wonders to help you maintain an healthy weight and optimal health in general, exercise also plays an important role on making it all possible.

As I´ve mentioned in other posts, your weight loss journey is not only a period of time you´re focused on losing weight, during that same period of time you are developing the habits you need to keep that weight off. This is why you start small and build from there.

The way to develop the habit of daily exercise is by replacing unhealthy or bad habits with good ones. Most of us are sedentary, we spend so much time sitting whether it´s on the car driving from home to the office and back or sitting in front of a computer or screen working or on the couch watching tv. This sedentary lifestyle is one of the reasons why so many of us are struggling with our weight.

One of the best ways to develop the habit of daily exercise is by doing some physical activity first thing in the morning. When you do some exercise in the morning you set your day to be more positive and productive, we talked before about how exercise improves your mood so after exercising you feel a sense of accomplishment plus you get all the endorphins that trigger that positive and good mood setting you for a great day.

If you´re struggling with your weight and you´ve been following an unhealthy diet for years and you´ve been sedentary your first goal is to increase physical activity throughout the day, there are 2 simple steps to make this possible:

1.- Every morning go for a 10 to 15 minute walk before breakfast. When you wake up try to take a walk as soon as possible, the more time it takes you to get that walk done the harder it will be for you, the first days and weeks it will be hard because you´re not use to it, and you want to stay on bed so you need to get up as fast as you can and go for that walk. Then when you´re done you can have breakfast or start your day.

2.- Every day right after having dinner go for another 10 to 15 minute walk. Do not spend too much time sitting at the table after you´re done eating, instead get up, do the dishes and go for a walk.

This 2 steps may seem so simple but taking action is the hardest part. You don´t want to follow intense workout programs your first goal is to get some physical activity, to start moving and then with time you start increasing effort and time. You don´t need to suffer and make the exercise routines so intense that you feel like dying, in fact this can be dangerous and harmful for your health and body leading to injuries and health problems so you need to start slow and build up.

By taking this two 15 minute walks you´ll be getting 30 minutes of total physical activity every day, it´s easier to stick to this type of exercise since most of us have some free time after waking up and right after dinner and we use that time to read the news or check social media so you change those minutes for something that will have a greater positive impact on your life. Trust you won´t lose anything important during that time, you only need 10 minutes to get up to date on news and social media every day.

You need to make those 30 minute a routine first so focus on those for a couple of weeks, then you need to find another 30 to 45 minutes 4 to 5 days a week for resistance exercise.

You don´t need to spend hours every day in the gym to get an amazing physique, you just need to exercise the right way with the right amount of effort and intensity. Remember that consistency and discipline are more important.

Follow to 2 steps I mentioned here for a couple of weeks and let us know how you feel by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter.

If you know someone who could benefit from this post please share it with them and don´t forget to follow us on Twitter.