Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness

quality sleep


How blue light impacts sleep


Have you been having difficulties falling 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 your life by helping you get more things done, it also has so many negative impacts for your health and your 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 your 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 email 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 your brain and body that you need to be woken up through the eyes so when you want to fall asleep you need to send the right signal to your brain through your 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 you 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 design one that works for us and our day.

The best thing you can do is try to emulate nature, emulate your environment which means that you 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 you need to make sure that you 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 this 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 down below and on Twitter if you did the exercise and what was your result or experience.

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



Sleep is not only for rest


There are so many things going on in your body while you sleep and it´s not only recovery and growth. All systems of your body and brain are working so hard doing different functions while we sleep.

From cleaning your body from toxins, to deleting unnecessary information and storing important information in other parts of your brain there are so many processes that need to work in harmony, your body and brain never rest, there´s always something going on.

One of the most important processes that go on while you sleep is that your body gets rid of toxins and your brain deletes unnecessary information. Have you ever stopped for a moment and think about all the toxins you consume in one day? from the food you eat, the high levels of chronic stress from your work or school, the products you use to clean, the air you breathe, etc; in that same day you also get a ton of information from what you see on all social media, to tv, the news, also information about your coworkers or classmates, what´s happening on our city or country and even in other countries, everything you see from the moment you wake up, there´s literally so much going on every single day so when you sleep your brain also has a system that helps it manage all that information, if the information is not important it will be deleted, if it´s something important for a project it will store it in a part of the brain until you´re done with it and you´re able to forget it while the most important and relevant information will get stored in the long-term memory.

All this cleaning part is so important to be able to free space on your brain to get more information in, to learn new skills and in your body to help us prevent diseases.

There are so many toxins that have a negative impact on your body and health so there are systems in your body that make all this cleaning possible every night but for this to happen you need to make sure that you get enough high quality sleep.

During sleep your hormones are also working, enough high quality sleep makes it easier to lose weight and stay lean because all your hormones like leptin and ghrelin are balanced and working properly so you don´t have cravings, you don´t feel hungry all day so it´s easier for you to make the right choices. Enough high-quality sleep improves metabolism and helps with insulin sensitivity. Lack or poor sleep is linked to weight and obesity, if you are obese or overweight can cause sleep problems which leads to a negative cycle.

Your physical and mental health are also impacted by the quality and quantity of your sleep, you can see the negative impact of a poor night sleep that day and if this sleep problem is chronic then the negative impact is huge, health problems physical or mental are highly linked to poor or lack of sleep. When you don´t get enough high quality sleep the immune system won´t be working efficiently and this makes it harder for your body to fight diseases, also lack or poor sleep increases stress as we mentioned before and stress and we know that this bad stress causes a lot of damage to your body.

Your body needs to heal, recover, repair, grow and clean from all the toxins, stress (good and bad) that you went through during the day and for this to be possible you need to be aware of the other 4 principles of fitness so that your body has the nutrients and everything it needs to make every process as optimal as possible.

Since sleep affects every system, hormone, etc; on your body and there are so many processed going on while you sleep we need to make sure that you get enough high quality sleep every night, this is not only necessary to maintain a good mood, energy and concentration throughout the day it´s necessary for optimal health and this includes physical and mental.

You cannot forget that sleep plays an important role for the proper recovery of your workouts, your muscles recover, grow and get stronger when you´re recovering and sleep is part of this recovery so, if you want to get the best results possible you need to make sure that you are getting enough high quality sleep. For weight loss sleep is also important to keep cravings low and make sure that all hormones are working properly to make your weight loss journey a lot easier.

One simple step you can take today to improve the quality and quantity of sleep is turn off all electric devices and lights at least 30minutes before going to bed, try to make your bedroom as dark as possible those 30 minutes, this will send signals to your brain and body that it´s time to sleep.

Let us know by leaving a comment down below and on Twitter if you make sleep a priority every night and how good is your quality of sleep and if you don´t prioritize sleep let us know why, is it school, your job, kids?

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



What you need to know about the circadian rhythm


Your body has an internal clock that is always working but, you need to make sure that it´s in sync with all systems and hormones and it needs to work in harmony with your environment.

You may have heard about the importance of having a sleep schedule or at least trying to go to sleep around the same time every night, this is true and the positive impact it has in your life is amazing, the reason for this is the circadian rhythm.

The circadian rhythm plays an important role on the quality and quantity of your sleep, if the circadian rhythm is out of sync for any reason then it will impact negatively your sleep, this can by just for one night but if this turns into a habit it can have huge negative consequences in the long run.

You are supposed to follow nature´s clock what I mean with this is that you´re supposed to go to sleep when the sun goes down and wake up when the sun goes up. Your body has an internal clock and most of its functions go according to that internal clock, this has to do with the production of melatonin to fall asleep, increasing cortisol at certain hours.

Nature works in a cycle of 24 hours, a cycle of day and night, during day you get light from the sun and at night it´s dark. Your body also works in the same 24 hours period, or at least it tries. This 24-hour cycle has a lot to do with your sleep-wake cycle the same way the sun rises and sets every day. This cycle also contributes to hours of sleep when your body is recovering, growing and eliminating toxics and hours of alertness during the day when you are supposed to have all the energy and focus to live as best as possible.

During this cycle there are so many things going on in your body like producing melatonin, body temperature fluctuates, the hormones also have fluctuations.

You need melatonin to fall asleep which is produced when the sun starts to set and as the lights go down if we keep working on your computer or laptop or checking your phone until late night your body won´t produce melatonin which is one of the reasons why you can´t fall asleep and you don´t get high quality sleep. When it´s dark your eyes send a signal to your brain that it´s time to rest so your body produces melatonin to fall asleep.

Cortisol is an important hormone and it´s higher in the morning and it decreases throughout the day. Just as cortisol there are other hormones like insulin, leptin, ghrelin that plays an important role on your health and they´re all impacted by this internal clock called the circadian rhythm.

When you are out of zync with natures clock it affects negatively your body, and this includes your brain and it affects also your health physical and mental.

This circadian rhythm may be affected by lack of sleep or poor quality sleep, when you go to sleep late at night around midnight like many of us do and you want to fall asleep fast just minutes after turning off the computer or checking emails which is impossible for your body. Not having a sleep schedule and sleep routine also affects negatively this internal clock. Outside factors like light from electric devices, sounds, temperature they all have an impact on how your body and brain get the right signals to either fall asleep or wake up.

Even when it seems like you can get ahead of this internal clock this is not true, your internal clock is affected by your environment being the cycles of day and light the most important ones because this circadian rhythm that is located in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus receives direct information from the eyes.

So, if you want to feel great and maintain optimal health, you need to make sure that everything is functioning as best as possible and making sure that the circadian rhythm is in sync is key.

A simple step you can take to make sure that the circadian rhythm is sync is to mimic your environment, try to turn off the lights and electric devices when the sun goes down, if this is hard because of school or work then using amber glasses is a great option. When you wake up get some light exposure from the sun.

Let us know if you knew about this internal clock and how it impacts our body and health 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.



What happens during sleep?


Most of us want to feel and perform at peak every day or at least we want to feel great 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 love those ones, choose the one you love 😊)

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

Sleep is crucial for your health and survival, specially because your brain never stops, there are so many processes going on in your brain and body while you sleep, every day your brain receives tones of information and you put your body through stress, while we sleep your body is recovering and your brain is storing information, it also takes you through movies that seem so real which are dreams.

We´re going to keep it simple, sleep can divide it in 2 phases which are deep sleep and REM, deep sleep focuses more on our body while REM focuses more on our brain.

REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement)

In this part of sleep the focus is on your brain and memory, when you are awake you are taking a lot of information that is stored in the short term memory, during sleep all that information goes through a selective test, if it´s important and useful that information gets stored in the long term memory where it can last a lifetime, this is where your memories are stored and you can share the stories for years to come, if the information is not relevant, important or useful it´s deleted. Most of the information you get during the day is deleted, this clean part prevents that your brain gets filled with unnecessary stuff.

Even when memory consolidation requires both deep sleep and REM studies show that if you have any sleep issue during this stage you 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.

Deep sleep

During this part of sleep all the healing and repair in the body occurs, here the body is working on recovering from the day, 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 your body like digestive, immune they´re all working together to recover and build muscle, skin, hair.

During deep sleep your physical body is recovering, healing and growing, the body is actually healing itself from wounds, repairing muscle, replacing cells this is why it´s so important.

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

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



Why sleep is so important


I would love to go through life without sleeping, if there´s a superpower I’d love to have is no need to sleep. Until this happen I need to say that sleep is crucial for all of us.

Fitness has become so popular but most people only focus on food and exercise which are only 2 of the principles of fitness and they don´t talk that much about sleep. Sleep is highly important and it has a huge impact on your body and health positive or negative.

Sleep is so important not only to rest and recover from the day and wake up energized for the day to come, there are so many processes going on while you sleep which include recovery and growth and also your body and brain flushes out toxins, different systems on your body work to make all this possible, sleep also keeps your hormones balanced and working properly which makes it easier or harder for you to lose weight and stay lean.

Just one night of poor quality sleep or not enough sleep has a negative impact on the short term and you can see some of those in your day like feeling tired, not being able to focus, it also affects your mood and you feel hungry this leads to poor performance and productivity throughout the day and you tend to eat more which leads to weight gain. In the long run negative impacts of poor quality or not enough sleep lead to health issues.

Poor quality sleep also increases stress and has a negative impact on your exercise work outs, you may skip the entire workout because you don´t have the energy or the intensity and effort won´t be as good as it could, it also impacts negatively your mental health.

The same way that poor quality or lack of sleep has a huge negative impact on your body and health mentally and physical also enough high-quality sleep has a positive impact on your body and health both mentally and physical in the short and long run. When you wake up and you feel energized ready for the day that´s a good sign you had good sleep and it´s just the beginning of a great day because it´s easier for you to focus and concentrate on the task and project you are working on, your performance and productivity increases, you don´t feel hungry all day which makes it easier for you to eat healthy, whole fresh foods and chances are you are going to exercise with the right intensity and effort. Have you ever noticed that the days when you don´t get enough good quality sleep you made bad choices, or your decisions were riskier? this happens because your brain is not functioning properly after a night of poor sleep.

All the 5 principles of fitness work in harmony to help you maintain optimal health so one night of poor sleep will impact the other 4 principles and if you are not aware of this it can turn in a negative cycle that can be hard to break. Lack of sleep increases stress, it also makes it harder for you to stick to healthy whole fresh foods so if we have to choose you´ll more likely choose the unhealthy foods, you lack energy so you may skip your workout that day and all this unhealthy choices can lead to poor sleep the next night and if we continue this negative and unhealthy cycle things get worse.

Sleep maintains your body and brain healthy by getting enough high quality sleep you make sure that all systems and hormones of your body function properly to get rid of toxins that can be harmful and also to recover and grow and maintain balance.

Since we´re living very fast paced times and we don´t get enough high quality sleep there are some strategies you can follow to help you as much sleep as possible according to your schedule and improve the quality of your sleep every night so that you are able to get all the benefits and maintain optimal health.

If you want to live the life of your dreams then focusing on the 5 principles of fitness is key to make it possible to concentrate and work as hard as you need while also getting enough recovery so that you don´t burn out.

What you can do today is be aware of the quality and quantity of sleep you get every night, you can have a really good idea of the quality of your sleep by being aware of how you feel when you wake up, if you feel energized and ready to go and you maintain the level of energy and focused throughout the night you´re doing fine but if you feel tired and you´re not able to concentrate throughout the day you may need to improve the quality of your sleep.

Let us know if you prioritize sleep and how good is your quality 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.