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Sleep

How exercise improves sleep

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We can´t deny the fact that exercise has so many incredible benefits for optimal health and this includes sleep, if you want to get better sleep then make exercise part of your daily routine.

Nowadays we are more sedentary than we used to be some years ago and we do not prioritize our health, most of us live very unhealthy lifestyle created by negative habits and routines. This includes lack of exercise or physical activity.

Exercise helps you improve the quality and quantity of sleep, we´ve talked about on past posts about the internal clock of our body called the circadian rhythm and on future posts we´ll talk about our body temperature and how it fluctuates during day and night. Exercise helps keep your body in balance by increasing body temperature and keeping the circadian rhythm in balance.

The time of the day you exercise impacts the quality and quantity of sleep, if you do a high intensity workout at night then it will be harder for you to fall asleep which is not what we want so the best time to exercise in in the morning, it doesn´t matter if you go to the gym, if you exercise at home or if you go to outside; it doesn´t matter if you lift weights, if you do bodyweight exercises or if you jump rope or go for a walk; any physical activity done in the morning improves the quality and quantity of sleep. When you exercise in the morning your body temperature increases and then starts to fall, exercising in the afternoon still gives your body temperature time to fall before you go to bed.

If you can exercise outside and get sunlight you get a lot more benefits and this also improves the quality and quantity of sleep by keeping your circadian rhythm in sync.

The intensity and effort of your workouts need to be considered also, it´s not recommended to do exercise at high intensity and effort whether it´s resistance or cardio at night because it will take you so long to fall asleep and you won´t get high quality of sleep. If the only time you can exercise is at night make sure it´s moderate intensity and effort. If you can exercise in the morning then moderate to high intensity is better but always making sure that you are paying attention to proper form and avoid all injuries.

If your goal with exercise is to improve the quality and quantity of sleep then you don´t need to do long workouts, I don´t recommend more than 90 minutes of exercise actually and 90 minutes are not necessary. To improve sleep taking a 10 to 15 minutes walk is all you need to get the benefits. 30 minutes 5 days a week would be the ideal amount of time to improve sleep and also to improve your health. Starting with 10 minutes is a great way to go.

We also need to mention the exercise reduces stress and when you lower stress the quality and quantity of sleep improves, how many nights have you lied in bed ready to fall asleep but you keep thinking and worrying on everything going on with your life? From you school, grades, your job, your boss, finances, relationships? All these fears and worries increase stress and they keep you awake at night. Exercising is a great way to leave that stress out of your body and improve your mood.

When you exercise or do some physical activity you end up tired, exercise requires energy this is why when you do any new activity or go out and spend some time playing with friends, family or you have a camping day or any other outside activity that includes exercise and physical movement you feel tired and when you go to bed you fall asleep really fast. When you exercise you are using energy and this makes you tired so by the end of the day you want to rest so when you go to bed your body is prepared to get that well deserve rest giving it the opportunity to work properly.

Let me know by leaving a comment on Facebook and Twitter if you remember how you felt the last time you spent some time outside with friends or family doing any physical activity, playing a sport and having fun and if you remember how you slept that night.

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 to improve sleep during shift work

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You know that sleep is important, it not only help you feel energized and perform at your best every day, it is also important to maintain optimal health but what do you do when you have a shift work?

People that work night shift face many different challenges and have a lot of problems with their health. They are disorganized, they lack human connection, they feel lonely and some of then have depression or anxiety. It´s not only that they feel tired, they can concentrate, they performance decrease, the negative impact on the long run can put their health at risk.

I mentioned before that our body has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm and this clock needs to be working with our environment so that all systems and hormones on our body are on sync. People that work night shifts are working against this internal clock so it´s really hard for them to get enough sleep during day and the reason for this is because during the night there´s no light and that sends the signal to your body that it´s time to rest, recover and grow and during day there´s light so this sends the signal to your body to stay alert. Even when they may be able to fall asleep the quality of sleep won´t be as high as possible, they can be woken up by people or normal noises very easily and this can lead to insomnia or other sleep problems. They need to work on having a good schedule that helps them get the best quality of sleep possible.

Unfortunately, some people work night shifts, and this is detrimental to their health because it gets really hard to get the quality and quantity of sleep needed. If you are one of them here are some steps you can take to improve sleep:

1.- Avoid highly processed and fast foods, try to make your meals low carbohydrates and focus on getting enough healthy proteins and fats.

2.- Do some exercise before your night shift.

3.- Get bright light at night during work, get your work place with good light and use amber glasses during day.

4.- Take naps if you can

5.- Drink coffee or tea to stay alert

6.- Keep a sleep schedule and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, weekdays and weekends.

7.- Use eye mask to send the right signal through your eyes, you want total darkness.

On cases like this one you need to work and focus on the other 4 principles of fitness, food, exercise, stress and mindset. What you eat and when you eat will have a huge impact on how able you are to stay alert during your work and how fast can you fall asleep. Stress will also have a negative impact making your sleep low quality, physical activity will help you stay alert during your shift and it will also help you get better quality and quantity of sleep.

When you can´t take control of the 5 principles of fitness and you can´t make sure that you are working on all of them you need to work harder on the ones you can control so that you can reduce the negative impact of the last one.

Try to avoid working several night shift in a row and if you can avoid them do it as much as possible. Most jobs have a lunch time so taking a nap during this lunch time can be very beneficial. Make sure that you eat a healthy meal during that lunch time and use the rest of the time to take a nap.

Let me know by leaving a comment on Facebook and Twitter if you work night shifts and how you manage to get sleep or if you are having troubles getting enough high quality 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

How food impacts sleep

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One of the biggest problems for most of us that affects the quality of sleep and our weight is food. Do you love late night snacks? Do you love eating something before going to bed?

If your answer is yes which I think so, you are not alone. I used to love those late night snacks and for some time I chose ice cream which you may love to but what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat all have an impact on the quality and quantity of sleep.

The first point I´m going to mention is that you don´t want to go to bed hungry and you don´t want to go to bed full.

I mentioned before that food is fuel and information for our body, if we want out body to function and perform as best as possible we need to give it the information it needs, the nutrients it needs. Our gut is connected is connected to our brain and the immune system so everything we eat has a huge impact. Unhealthy highly processed foods increase stress on our body because our body doesn´t know what to do with them, the moment it ends with digestion there´s nothing it can use to function properly and all that foods end up being toxins and the amount of time it took our body to digest it is just a waste of time and energy.

I´ve also talked about the circadian rhythm, the internal clock in our body and how we need to make sure that we keep that internal clock in sync so that melatonin is secreted at the right time to fall asleep an get high quality sleep and when we wake up we feel rested. This clock is also important during the day to keep us awake and it also helps with the digesting process. Our body and brain know that at night in darkness it´s time to repair, recover, grow and get rid of toxins, during day and light hours it´s time to digest and stay alert.

For all this reasons I don´t recommend eating right before going to bed, when you go to sleep you want to make sure that your body is not working on digesting food because it has other jobs to do, if you go to sleep after having a meal your body will be digesting all that food and it won´t be working on repairing, growing and getting rid of toxins. You may have some trouble to fall asleep and you may not get a good night sleep. But you can´t go to bed hungry because it will also be hard for you to fall asleep.

Since sleep is important for optimal health you want to make sure that you get enough high quality every night and what you eat has an impact on the quality and quantity of sleep, what you eat, how much you eat and the time are all important. Having a schedule or a daily routine is a better way to call it will make it easier for you to improve sleep so here are some steps you can take:

1.- Have your last meal 3 hours before going to bed. This way you make sure that your body is not working on digesting food and it´s ready to sleep.

2.- Try the 80% rule. Do not eat until you are full, eat until you feel 80% full this gives your body enough time to digest food without work overload.

3.- Prioritize whole, healthy foods. You want to make sure that your body can work properly on digesting food that it can use the nutrients and information from the food properly.

This steps are simple to follow but will give you great results, food and sleep are crucial for maintaining optimal health and making it easier to lose weight and maintain a great physique but, you may not be able to get the 7 to 8 hours recommended so you need to make sure that you got other healthy tools you can use to make sure that the amount of sleep you get every night is the best quality possible. These 3 steps help you with that.

Let me know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you thought about the relation between food and sleep before reading this post and if you have any sleep problems that could be related to what you eat.

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

Why do we dream?

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What did you dream last night? Do you remember most of your dreams or are you one of those who rarely remember? We all have dreams while we still, some of us are able to remember those dreams and others don´t but what those dreaming really means?

Some people belief that our dreams are like signals of what´s to come in the future and expressions of our fears, worries, insecurities and reminders of past memories.

Sometimes we wake up so fascinated about our dream or afraid of it if we had a nightmare, we´re so curious and some people get obsessed trying to find the meaning about dreams and the reason why we had a certain dream.

We´ve seen in past posts that there are so many things going on while we sleep, and there´s so much activity going on in the brain and there´s not an answer to why we dream or what´s the real meaning of those dreams. We know that most of our dreams occur during REM sleep but this doesn´t tell anything about the reason why we dream and the meaning of them.

When we´re dreaming it´s so real, we are able to feel the emotions until we wake up and realize we were dreaming, sometimes we love the dream so much that we want to fall asleep and continue with that dream which in some occasions this doesn´t happen and there are times when we´re having a nightmare and we wake up, we´re so scared and we don´t want to fall asleep, once we fall asleep that same nightmare continues and we´re terrified. There are some dreams that had a big impact on us, and we can remember them even a few years later.

There are some theories about why we dream and one of them is that as we saw in past post during sleep our brain go through a series of processes, one of them is to analyze information, if it´s important it will store it on certain regions of the brain while irrelevant information is deleted, may be our brain is trying to find meaning to the tone of information we got throughout the day, it may also be a way to help us process certain emotions especially those days when we were highly stressed or went through a though situation. This theory makes sense because our brain needs to find a way to help us make sense of all the experiences and situations we go through and also find ways to analyze and decide which information is important and needs to be stored and which one can be deleted.

There are some dreams that we´ve all dreamed like the feeling of falling and this may be the reason why there are books and sites on the meaning of dreams but since there´s still so much research left to do and there are no real answers I don´t believe all those meanings are true.

The science of dreams is fascinating and as many other topics regarding health there are still so many questions and not enough answers. What I found fascinating about dreams is that they may reveal solutions to some problem you´ve been working so hard on and these solutions may seem like so logic and effortless. From those dreams we can get so many creative ideas we can use on our daily activities. There are so many successful people from musicians, painters, businesspeople that talk about how they get an idea for the project they´re we working on or an idea for a new project or the solution to a problem in their dreams. Others talk about how they had a dream and when they woke up started to analyze it and try to understand it and that´s how they come up with some new ideas or solutions.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you are interested in the science of dreams and why.

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.

Pam

Sleep

Tips to fall asleep faster

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Sleep needs to be a priority; we know that but is it easy for you to fall asleep fast or does it take so long until you can finally fall asleep?

There are different supplements you can buy that claim and promise to help you improve the quality of sleep and to help you fall asleep, but does they actually work? And what about the negative effects? I don´t recommend any supplement to help you get enough high quality sleep and to fall asleep faster (unless in certain occasions like jet lag) but there are some tips I can share with you to fall asleep faster.

There are several sleep problems that can be affecting the quality and quantity of sleep and also making it harder for us to fall asleep fast, we´re going to talk about this sleep problems on future posts because in these cases we need to take other kind of action.

When it comes to falling asleep faster and improving the quality of sleep most of us do not need to take supplements, what we need to do is change some habits or routines of our day that are impacting our sleep, the moment we make these changes we start getting benefits and the more we do them the best results we get.

What we do on our entire day has an impact on the quality of our sleep and how fast we´re able to fall asleep, our lifestyle plays a huge role on optimal health, what we do and don´t do are both important, we can´t just focus on doing certain things right we also need to avoid doing certain things in some cases just by not doing certain things that have a negative impact we can get amazing results.

Some tips you can follow to fall asleep faster are:

1.- Avoid eating 2 or 3 hours before going to bed, you don´t want your body to be working on digesting food.

2.- Avoid caffeine after lunch,

3.- Decrease blue light exposure or use amber glasses as the sun goes down,

4.- Make sure your room is dark.

You´ve probably heard these tips before but, have you tried them? They may look so simple but they´re actually effective, this tips help our body work more efficiently according to the internal clock of our body, when we reduce or block blue light and we make sure that our room is dark we´re sending the right signal to our body to secret melatonin so that we can fall asleep, when we avoid eating 3 hours before going to bed we make sure that everything we ate during the day is already digested so our body can focus on what it needs to do during sleep which is clean, repair, recover and grow. When we stop drinking caffeine at lunch, we give our body time to take it out of our system. With caffeine we also need to consider the amount, if we drink too much caffeine even before lunch it can have a negative impact making it harder to fall asleep.

Give this 4 tips a try for a couple of weeks and let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and twitter account if you find it easier to fall asleep or if you´re still having trouble.

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 is melatonin

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Melatonin, you´ve heard about it right? We´ve mentioned it in some posts. Some people take it as a supplement for sleep, so we need to learn more about it and find out if those supplements are really helpful.

When we talk bout melatonin we need to talk about light and the cycles of sleep/wake, we mentioned in others posts that we send signals to our body and one of those signals is send through the eyes, light turns off melatonin and darkness turns on melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain and this gland receives the signal through the eyes, we´re supposed to be in contact with nature and our wake/sleep cycle is supposed to work according to our environment the problem is that we´re exposed to blue light a huge part of the day and we don´t go outside and get sunlight exposure and this takes the circadian rhythm out of sync and we don´t send the right signals to the pineal gland.

If you find it hard to fall asleep and right before you go to bed you were sitting in front of your computer, laptop, tv or any other electronic device then that light is sending the wrong message to the pineal gland and melatonin production is turned off.

When we talk about supplement we need to understand the melatonin does not makes us sleep, it helps our body regulates the circadian rhythm. You may not need to take melatonin the problem may be that you´re sending the wrong messages to your brain and body so the pineal gland is not receiving the right message and it does not secret melatonin.

Taking melatonin as a supplement can be beneficial when for any reason the circadian rhythm is out of sync like jet lag, you can take a low dosage around 60 minutes before going to bed and it helps. It´s not necessary to take daily supplement and it can be counterproductive because your body gets use to receiving it and the pineal gland stops producing it.

Some steps or tips to help you improve sleep and the production of melatonin are:

1.- Go outside for a walk, exercising in the gym is great but we also need to get sunlight exposure,

2.- Turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed. If you like to fall asleep with the Tv on you need to change that habit because you´re not getting good quality sleep as you could. The room need to be dark so that the pineal gland secret melatonin and you get enough high-quality sleep.

3.- Have a sleep schedule to keep the circadian rhythm in sync and you send the right messages to your body and brain.

Poor quality sleep is in most cases caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, eating unhealthy foods, lack of physical activity, lack of sunlight exposure, too much exposure to blue light. You may have enough melatonin and you don´t need to supplement the problem may be that your body is not secreting melatonin at the right time because the circadian rhythm is out of sync. Follow the steps we share with you in this post for a couple of weeks and let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you saw an improvement or some change on the quantity and quality of sleep also if those steps make it easier to fall asleep.

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 blue light impacts sleep

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Have you been having difficulties to fall asleep? Are you having sleep problems or a bad night sleep?

We spend too much time in front of a computer, laptops, tablet, cell phone or any other screen but we don´t think about the negative impact that this have in the quality and quantity of sleep. It´s not only the fact that we´re exposed to electric light from the moment we wake up to the moment we want to fall asleep, the type of light we´re exposed and the times of the day have a negative impact on sleep.

The light that the screens of electric devices like computers, laptops, cellphones, etc; and electric bulbs release is blue light.

Even when artificial light has a huge positive impact on our lives by helping us get more things done, it also has so many negative impacts for our health and our life. Some years ago the only source of lightning was the sun and people worked and schedule their day according to the light of the sun, they worked more in coherence and harmony with nature and the environment until we had access of artificial light and when this happened we were able to illuminate our evenings and nights which causes a lot of health problems.

We saw in the last post how the circadian rhythm works and the access to light at night before bed blocks melatonin and hormones and functions in our body get out of sync.

Blue light in particular has been associated to a negative impact on our sleep and health in general. Blue light exposure suppresses the secretion of melatonin which is hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that influences the circadian rhythm.

If you are one of those people who like to check their e-mail or social media right before going to bed or worse, when you are already in bed just before falling asleep and you find it hard to fall asleep the blue light from the screen is the one that impairs your ability to fall asleep.

Since blue light impacts the quality and quantity of sleep this leads to greater health problems, lack or poor-quality sleep makes it harder to lose weight and maintain optimal weight and health and it´s linked to more complicated health problems

Light sends the signal to our brain and body that we need to be woken up through the eyes so when we want to fall asleep we need to send the right signal to our brain through our eyes and this means avoiding all light 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed especially blue light.

In the last years amber glasses have increased popularity (we´re going to talk about them in the next post) because they are one tool to block blue light but there are more strategies and tools we can use to reduce the exposure to light and this includes having a sleep schedule which is for most of us the best option because we can designed one that works for us and our day.

The best thing we can do is try to emulate nature, emulate our environment which means that we need to reduce light as the sun goes down and increase it as the sun raise but this can be hard for most of us since we need to get to school, our job and get so much stuff done during the day so the best option is to reduce light exposure for a period of time before going to bed.

 We know that high quality sleep is key if we want to lose weight and maintain an amazing physique so we need to make sure that we get the best quality sleep as possible because most of us do not get the 7 to 8 hours, to improve sleep and make sure it´s high quality it all starts by being able to fall asleep fast which can be achieved by having a sleep schedule and this schedule needs to consider avoiding all blue light, especially screen devices for at least 60 minutes before going to bed, red light is a good option too but we´re going to talk about it in future posts.

Follow these next steps today to improve the quality of sleep:

1.- Turn off all electric devices especially the ones with screens like Tv, computer, tablets, cell phones (if you need to keep your phone on in case of emergency make sure that you don´t check it) 60 minutes before going to bed,

2.- Take the first 30 minutes to practice visualization and gratitude exercises,

3.- Take the next 30 minutes to practice breathing exercises to fall asleep faster.

Let us know by leaving a comment on our Facebook and Twitter account if you did the exercise and what was your result or experience.

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