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Sleep

Why we need to prioritize sleep

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When we talk about health most people think about exercise and diet, nowadays sleep and stress are starting to be part of this talk, but still most of us don´t give sleep the attention it deserves.

Throughout the last post we´ve learnt that sleep plays an important role on maintaining optimal health, during sleep our body is not resting, it´s doing so many different activities including cleaning, repairing, recovery and growing.

There are several reasons why we need to prioritize sleep, if you want to feel energized and be able to concentrate you need to make sure you´re enough high quality sleep, if you want to be able to memorize, learn and remember new skills and information you need to get enough high quality sleep. If you know tomorrow you´re having an exam or competition or an important event you know you need to perform as best as possible, you want to be able to concentrate and remember everything you studied before so you need high quality sleep. Our brain works better and is able to perform and remember more when we concentrate on the task at hand for a certain period of time, it can be 30 minutes to 60 minutes or even 90 minutes and then we take a rest. You can concentrate for a longer period of time, but you´ll get to a point where it´s harder to stay concentrate and you start getting distracted. After a period of concentration you need to give your body and brain a rest, naps are beneficial here, if you can´t get the 7 or 8 hours recommended of sleep you can take a nap.

Another reason why we need to prioritize sleep is to make sure that all hormones and systems in our body are working in harmony, one night of poor sleep or lack of sleep can make us insulin resistance, hormones get out of balance which is a reason why we feel hungry and we have more cravings and it´s harder to avoid those cravings so we end up eating a lot more especially unhealthy foods.

Lack of sleep or poor sleep has been related to different health problems making diseases worse. Research has shown that lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep to be associated with diseases like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, strokes, depression and even cancer. We need to mention that lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can be caused by sleep problems like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, stress.

If we´re following a program to lose weight if we don´t get enough sleep it will be harder to stick to the diet and to exercise, for some reason we can´t avoid unhealthy foods and we can´t maintain a calorie deficit plus we don´t feel energized and motivated to do any type of physical activity, lack of sleep makes our weight loss journey a lot harder. You don´t need to get 8 hours of sleep, most of us don´t have the luxury to sleep that much, you can get 6 hours of sleep just make sure those 6 hours are the best quality possible.

As you can see all 4 principles of fitness need to be working together, sleep, stress, diet and exercise are all important and if one of them is not on point it will affect negatively the other 3 principles, poor sleep or lack of sleep will increase stress, will lead to unhealthy food choices and leads to lack of physical activity. It leads to hormonal imbalances that not only makes your weight loss harder but it also leads to diseases.

We may not have the possibility to get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night, and if you´ve been following me and reading my posts you may know by now that I believe that getting 6 hours of high quality sleep might be better than getting those 7 or 8 hours. What we can do is make sure that the hours of sleep we get are the best quality possible, this can be achieved by having sleep routines and habits, what you do before going to bed is really important, and what you do right when you wake up also matters. Physical activity and getting sunlight also play a huge role on the quality of sleep.

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

Pam

Sleep

Is it more important quantity or quality of sleep?

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Is it more important quality or quantity of sleep? Is it better to get 7 or 8 hours of poor quality disturbed sleep or to get 6 hours of high quality undisturbed sleep?

If I´m not wrong on a las post we talked about why it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep than to get 7 hours of poor seep. We can´t deny that both matters, quality and quantity are both important, but, there are some points we need to consider.

The quantity of sleep each of us need varies, babies and kids need more sleep while adults need less. Some people do need to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep while others may just need 6 hours. This varies for many reasons, circadian rhythm, chronotype, lifestyle.

There´s no reason to get 7 hours of sleep if those 7 hours or poor quality, it´s better to get 6 hours of high quality sleep. With quantity too much or too little sleep are both a problem, more than 9 hours of sleep and less than 6 hours of sleep both have negative impacts on health, you can see those short-term negative impact right the next day. You feel tired, it´s harder to focus on the task at hand, you don´t perform as best as you can, cravings for unhealthy food increase, you eat more. This happen also when you 9 hours or more of sleep (considering you haven´t gone through a night of poor or lack of sleep), for some reason you don´t feel as great as you should imagined after getting that much sleep.

Even when experts and most people say that we all need 7 to 8 hours of sleep this is not completely true, knowing your sleep chronotype is key to knowing at what time is better for you to sleep and how much sleep you actually need. Dr. Michael Breus is talking about all this better than anyone else.

You might now by now if you like to go to sleep early and wake up early in the morning or if you prefer to go to sleep later at night and wake up later in the morning. You might also know if you feel more energetic and able to concentrate in the morning or if you find it easier to work and concentrate later in the day.

Even when nature has a rhythm or cycle and we all need to work according to it, we all have some moments when we feel more energized and focus and this has an impact on our daily schedule.

Nowadays it´s hard for us to get those 7 to 8 hours that most experts recommend to finding our chronotype is very helpful, although the problem with this is that most of us have a 9 to 5 job or go to school so it´s hard to fit our internal clock and when we feel more energetic, when we are able to concentrate and perform better with the demands and hours of school and work.

To keep things simple most of us will get great benefits and feel great by getting 6 hours of high quality of sleep, if we consider that each sleep cycle last around 90 minutes with 6 hours of sleep we´re getting 4 complete cycles, most people feel way better when they wake up after a completing a cycle than when they wake up in the middle of one. Now we need to make sure that those 6 hours are the best quality possible, you can do this by creating a sleeping schedule and routine as we´ve mentioned in other posts and try to use your chronotype as a guide, if you can make it fit with your daily lifestyle that´s way to go, otherwise try to make it as close as possible. If you know you can concentrate and perform better in the morning try to make the hardest task in the morning, if you know you work better at noon or late afternoon try to make the activities that require more concentration at that time.

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

Pam

Sleep

How our lifestyle impacts sleep

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Fitness is a tool to help us live a meaningful life and it´s compromised of 4 principles: diet, exercise, sleep and stress. They all work together to give us the best results so everything we do affects all of them. From these 4 principles most we pay more attention to diet and exercise than to sleep and stress and they play a huge role on maintaining optimal health

We´ve seen in other posts that sleep is highly important, one night of poor sleep makes it harder for us to concentrate and perform, we feel tired and lack motivation, cravings for unhealthy food increase, it takes all hormones out of balance and it can lead to insulin resistance, now imagine if this lack of sleep or poor quality sleep becomes chronic, the negative impact on the long run is devastating.

Sleep is affected when we´re exposed to bright light at night, when the sun comes down everything is getting darker, this exposure to bright light sends the wrong signals to our brain through our eyes so it doesn´t release melatonin which is the hormone that makes us fall asleep. If we´re in front of a computer, laptop, cellphone, tv or any other electronic device before going to bed we´re sending the wrong information to our brain so it will takes us longer to fall asleep and we may not get the best quality sleep.

Stress is also important when it comes to getting enough high quality sleep, most of us live wight chronic stress thanks to school, our job, our teachers, our boss, classmates, coworkers, homework, projects, meetings, traffic plus relationships, finances. When we go to sleep our mind is busy thinking about how we´re going to pay the bills, how are we going to make it until the next pay check, how are we going to finish the project in three days, etc; all this stress do not let our brain and body relax and calm down so it´s difficult to fall asleep and to stay sleep, we may wake up constantly thanks to all those worries disrupting our sleep.

What we eat also impacts the quality and quantity of sleep, if you eat a big meal right before going to bed your body will be working on digesting all that food instead of preparing to sleep, all that food in your stomach may make you feel tired and lazy so you go to sleep and you may find it easier to fall asleep, but this doesn´t mean that your body is working and doing what it´s supposed to be doing during sleep. If that meal makes you feel bloated, constipated or any other digestive symptom then you will find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep making it a bad night sleep.

Exercise also plays a role in the quality and quantity of sleep, most people are sedentary so they´re not aware of this. Exercise improves both, quality and quantity of sleep and it doesn´t need to be something intense and long, even small walks will give you great benefits. With exercise the time of day also has an impact, if you do a moderate to high intensity workout it´ll be harder to fall asleep whether it´s cardio or resistance training. If you exercise in the morning you´ll find it easier to fall asleep.

We´ve talked before about habits and routines, this habits and routine apply to the 4 principles of fitness, in this case stress, diet and exercise all affect sleep. Some simple steps you can start following today are:

1.- Turn off all electronic devices at least 60 minutes before going to bed.

2.- Do breathing exercise before falling sleep to reduce stress.

3.- Make sure you have your last meal 2 to 3 hours before going to bed.

4.- Do some physical activity especially in the morning.

You can start with one of this steps and do it for a couple of weeks until you feel comfortable with it and then add another one. Our goal is to develop healthy habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle.

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

Pam

Sleep

Can we recover from poor quality sleep?

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How many times have you binge watch of get just a couple of hours of sleep because of work thinking that you can replenish those lost hours on weekend? Is this possible?

You may have heard of sleep deprivation, so many time for so many different reasons we´ve all suffered from sleep deprivation. Some of us because of work, it may be homework and projects or it can be all the workload of the office, emails, meetings, projects and in this cases we may not have so many choices so we choose to finish what we need even when we know we´re getting very few hours of sleep. In some cases we choose to watch one more episode of the series because it´s so great and we can´t stop, but the next day we need to get up early so we only got a couple hours of sleep.

Life demands a lot and if we don´t give sleep the importance it deserves most of the time we choose sleep deprivation thinking that we can replenish this hours on weekends or some day in the near future. From what I´ve researched it takes a long time to replenish lack of sleep.

One night of poor sleep or not enough sleep has negative impacts on your health and brain and you can see those negative impacts in the short term the next day, you feel tired, you´re not able to focus and concentrate, cravings increase, etc and if sleep deprivation becomes chronic then it has a lot of negative consequences on health.

In mots cases it´s better to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep than getting 6 or 7 hours of disrupted sleep. You may had experienced this before, for some reason you could only sleep for 5 hours but those 5 hours were straight, without any interruption, the next day you wake up and you feel maybe a little tired, you notice you can´t concentrate and perform as you normally do but, it´s not as bad if you could have gotten one more hour you´ll feel great. Other night you get 7 hours of sleep, but those 7 hours were disrupted, you keep waking up because of certain noises, dreams, the temperature of the room, maybe you were n vacations and there was something that didn´t make you feel comfortable. Even when you get 7 hours of sleep you wake up and you feel tired, your concentration and performance is really low, you have cravings, you just feel worse than when you get 5 hours of straight good quality sleep.

Now, can you replenish those hours lost? Or that night of poor sleep? If you have more time the next days to go to sleep an hour before than you normally do or if you can wake up an hour later it can help you on recovering from those nights of poor sleep or sleep deprivation, but if you make this a habit, then this negative habit will have a greater negative impact. When it´s one night or two is fine, but more nights it´s not.

We´ve talked about in other posts about the circadian rhythm and how it affects almost all hormones and systems on our body and why it is important to go to sleep at the time and wake up at the same time every day including weekends, holidays or vacations. If you don´t sleep and wake up at the same time every day then your body can´t work efficiently, your body doesn´t know when it´s time to sleep and go through all the processed or cleaning, repairing and recovering and it doesn´t know when it´s time to stay alert, concentrating and working, all hormones and systems are out of balance.

If you do have a routine and sleep roughly at the same time every night and wake up at the same time then the night that for some reason you couldn´t go to sleep at the same time or wake up at the same time and you didn´t get the normal amount of sleep, you´re getting less hours but probably those hours will be good quality, if you want to replenish the hours lost then you can add one more hour on the following days, but more hours can make you circadian rhythm to start getting out of sync. When you get 7 hours of poor sleep it can be harder to replenish it, you can get a lot more hours of sleep the next night and that may be all you need.

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

Pam

Sleep

How getting sunlight in the morning improves sleep

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Getting outside to get as much sunlight during day and getting as dark as possible during night is the best way to improve circadian rhythm, improve mood and health in general.

Nowadays we spend most of the time closed doors, whether it´s in our office, classroom, home and we spend that time sitting in front of a computer or tv. This sedentary lifestyle is causing a lot of health problems. We evolved to see and get direct sunlight during the day and to have complete darkness at night, that´s how it´s supposed to be.

Getting direct sunlight during day not only improves the quality of sleep but also improves your overall health. We´re seeing right now a lot of information about vitamin D regarding to Covid-19, spending time outdoors to get sunlight during day is the best way to get vitamin D and if we lower light exposure as the sun comes down until we get completely dark for the night improves circadian rhythm. Nature works in cycles and our body also works in cycles, the more we are able to work in the same cycles as nature the better it is for our body. When our body gets out of rhythm or out of sync with this cycles everything starts working out of harmony, the circadian rhythm takes all hormones and systems on our body out of balance.

We know that sleep is crucial and we need to make sure that the amount of sleep we get is high quality, one of the ways to make this happen is by manipulating light or using light at dark the best way possible. Getting direct sunlight first thing in the morning keeps your circadian rhythm in balance, it tells your body it´s time to be aware and active and by lowering light as the sun comes down it tells your body to start getting ready for rest, recovery and cleaning.

It´s hard for us to match completely the cycles of nature and to wake up as the sun rises and turn all electric devices as the sun comes down, this is when amber glasses, red light and other stuff to block blue light is helpful. Even though I still recommend to avoid bright light at least 60 minutes before going to bed and to get outside and get direct sunlight for 20 minutes every day. If you can´t do it first thing in the morning it doesn´t matter just make sure you get sunlight 20 minutes a day, it can be at lunch time.

Also if you buy some bulbs to manipulate light during the day you can use some blue light spectrum in the morning and red light at night.

We also need to mention that when we get sunlight exposure our brain releases serotonin which boost our mood and help us increase focus and concentration and it also has a calming and relaxing effect. This IS why exposing ourselves to direct sunlight first thing in the morning can help us feel better throughout the day, we can also get outside at lunch time to get more sunlight and it can help us end our day in a better way.

Lack of sunlight has a negative impact on our mood and mental health, if the levels of serotonin are low we feel sad and it can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

We all know that our body makes vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight, but nowadays most of us are deficient on this vitamin which creates a lot of health problems. Vitamin D has a huge impact on the functioning of the cells which can improve or worsen diseases. Getting enough sunlight so that our body can make vitamin D can help us prevent diseases, now, there´s so many people saying that direct sunlight exposure can cause skin cancer so you need to use sunscreen, and some people say that if you use sunscreen your body is not getting the sunlight exposure, because… That´s what sunscreens are for. The important point here is to find balance, you need to have enough sunlight exposure, if you´re going to spend a lot of hours outside then you may need to use sunscreen, but if you only get 15 or 20 minutes it may not be necessary.

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

Pam

Sleep

Do you suffer from insomnia?

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At some point inf our lives we all go through difficult situations and this difficult situation lead to trouble with sleep, so many people is diagnosed with insomnia and there are a lot more who don´t know they have it.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that makes it harder for you to fall asleep and to stay asleep. You wake up in the middle of the night and you can´t fall asleep again and in the morning you feel tired. You´re not satisfied with the quality of your sleep and you know there´s something wrong, with time this affects your health, work and relationships.

All of us experience this at some point in our lives, we´re going through a difficult situation maybe we got fired from our job, we didn´t pass the exam, someone close to us is diagnosed with a chronic or immune disease, someone we love passed away. This situations can cause insomnia for a period of time, depending of the traumatic event or situation it can last from a week, a couple of weeks or even a month, in most cases this short-term insomnia will start to improve in a couple of weeks or a months, but in some cases it can keep going for months, 3 t 4 months or more which is chronic insomnia.

Acute insomnia which is short-term has a negative impact on our day and life, chronic insomnia leads to more problems. Here are some symptoms you can look for to find out if you have insomnia:

1.- It´s hard to fall asleep

2.- You wake up during the night

3.- You can´t stay asleep

4.- You feel tired when you wake up

5.- You can´t remain focused and concentrated on the task at hand

6.- It´s hard to finish any activity

7.- You are anxious

There are different causes that can lead to insomnia and stress is one of them, most of us experience insomnia thanks to stress, as I mentioned before if you got fired from your job, or if you failed the exam, if you´re worried because of finances, if someone got diagnosed with a chronic or immune diseases, if someone you love passed away all this situations increase stress, depression, anxiety and they cause insomnia. If we know or if we have an idea of what is causing it then we can work on it, if you know it´s because you are stressed then lowering stress is a good strategy. Doing some breathing exercises can be beneficial to help you lower stress, calm and relax your body and brain which will help you get better sleep.

Poor sleep habits or routine can also lead to insomnia, if you spend hours at night watching tv or Netflix or sitting in front of a computer or your phone and you turn them off right before going to bed or once you´re on bed it will be harder to fall asleep and get high quality sleep. The temperature of your room, light and noise also play an important role, if it´s too hot you´ll find it difficult to fall asleep and you can have nightmares and wake up in the middle of the night. Your diet is also important, if you eat a big meal right before going to bed your body will be working on digesting all that food and it can be harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you eat foods that cause bloating or inflammation it can also have an impact on the quality of your sleep.

The first step is to realize that you´re suffering from insomnia or any sleep disorder and find what is causing it, for many people changing habits and routines that lead to a healthy lifestyle is beneficial, avoiding big meals 3 hours before going to bed helps and breathing exercises once you are on bed are also a great tool.

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

Pam

Sleep

Sleep and the brain

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We know we need to get enough high quality sleep every night, but how many times have you stopped for a moment and think what is going on while we sleep?

In fitness so many people talk about the benefits of sleep to help you lose weight and gain muscle but the benefits of sleep go far beyond that. While we´re sleeping our body is recovering and growing, but there´s a lot more going on especially in the brain.

During the day we go through a lot of situations, we need to pay attention to so many things going on. Sleep is one of those 4 principles of fitness that is so hard to study, and it´s so interesting. We can say that almost all animals sleep but why we need sleep is still a huge mystery.

During sleep our brain is supposed to be resting right? This is actually wrong, during sleep our brain is going through a lot of processes, there´s so much brain activity going on while we sleep. During this time our brain is processing all the information we got during day which are stored in the form of short-term memories, it takes all those experiences and information and test it, if the experience or information is relevant it stores it in another region of the brain so that we have access to it whenever we need it, long-term memory, if it´s not important it deletes all that information and experiences to make space for what´s going to come the next day.

This is why one of the best ways to learn something and actually remember it is to take the subject you´re studying, focus all your attention on it, whether it´s reading, writing, taking notes, or your favorite way to learn for about an hour or two and then take a nap. You´ll see you are able to remember a lot more just by focusing for a couple of hours and then resting than by spending hours and hours trying to learn something.

It also presents all with short stories, videos, or images that we call dreams, some experts that have been studying the brain think that our dreams help our brain make sense of all the experiences and information so that it can take it into pieces and put them together in a way that makes sense.

Our brain never rests and everything that´s going on our brain while we sleep is crucial for optimal health.

If we don´t get enough high quality sleep for just one night we can see the negative impact the next day, we are more forgetful, we´re not able to retain information, we need to read one sentence over and over, we can actually see that our brain is not as efficient as it should be, now just imagine what happens when this lack of sleep or poor sleep is chronic. Our Brain is never able to delete unimportant information, it can´t make all the cleaning and storage process and we just keep feeding it with more info until it´s a mess. Without adequate sleep our brain is not able to form and maintain the pathways that enables us to learn, think and concentrate.

For the brain to be able to go through all the process you need to make sure you´re going through all phases or stages of sleep for several cycles, plus you need to make sure it´s high quality. If you wake up and you feel tired it means you didn´t get high quality sleep even if you slept for 8 hours, you can get 6 hours of sleep and wake feeling energized and ready for the day, this means you get high quality sleep and your body and brain were able to go through all the processes to make sure you´re ready for the day to come.

Knowing that our brain is always working even when we´re sleeping can be a motivation to get enough quality sleep every night, knowing that if we want to learn faster and be able to concentrate and be more productive throughout the day we need sleep.

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

Pam

Sleep

Why you need a morning routine

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How you start your day, what you do every morning right when you wake up and the first hour sets the pace and mood for your entire day.

If there´s something you can do that will improve your day is creating routines, there are activities we do every day and those activities can help us be more productive the entire day or they can ruin it completely. Having a morning routine is one of those routines you need to make sure is set properly.

A good morning routine will set your mindset and mood for success. If you want to be more productive, if you want to make sure that every day is as best as possible then a morning routine is key.

For some of us having a morning routine seems so selfish because it´s all about us, but we do need to be a little selfish every day and make sure we´re having enough time for ourselves so that we can give the best of us. A morning routine that centers on self-care and is designed to make you feel good will boost your focus and productivity for the entire day.

Do not hit the snooze button, it will make it harder for you to wake up and get up from bed in a positive mood and state of mind. Every time you hit that snooze button thinking about 5 more minutes and I wake up, that´s the moment you´re starting your day in the wrong way.

After waking up what you do depends of the time you´re waking up, if it´s still dark then making your bed is the a create start, then use the bathroom, wash your teeth, have breakfast, or you can get ready and go for a walk.

If you wake up later the best thing you can do right after you wake up is open the curtains, you want to get direct sunlight first thing in the morning to help your body keep your circadian rhythm in harmony so that it´s easier for you to fall asleep faster at night and it also makes it easier to wake up.

Exercising in the morning is a great way to improve your mood, it doesn´t need to be an intense workout, it can be a 15 minutes walk, if you´re not one of those who love exercising your only goal here is to keep your body moving as soon as possible you will burn some calories and also improves your mood, you can use that walk as a form of meditation to get center and self-aware. Take that time to be aware of your thought, everything that is going on in your mind and also how you feel, if there´s something negative and bothering you ask yourself if there´s something you can do about it, if it´s going to have a huge impact on a week from now or a month from now. If it´s not going to have a huge impact then stop worrying about it, and if there´s nothing you can do also try to stop worrying.

Make sure that your morning routine includes:

  • making your bed,
  • getting direct sunlight
  • doing some kind of physical activity
  • meditation

This points to consider may seem so simple but they are crucial, by making your bed you get a sense of accomplishment that sets you up with a success mentality for any other activities you need to accomplish throughout the day. When you get direct sunlight in the morning you make sure your circadian rhythm is working in harmony with the environment which makes it easier to fall asleep faster at night and it also keep all hormones and systems in your body working efficiently. By doing some physical activity you get your body moving which gets your blood and oxygen flowing through your body and also improves your mood. With meditation the goal is to be aware of everything that´s going on in your mind, all your thoughts and how you feel and let go of all the negative thoughts and feelings that don´t serve you.

Realize that social media is not part of a good morning routine, checking your email, social media or watching or listening to the news is not a good part of a morning routine, you can do that after you´re done the 4 essential points. Your morning routine is meant to help you set your mind and mood right for a great day so there´s no reason why you want to set your day on the wrong direction by checking you email or 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.

Pam

Sleep

5 simple habits to improve sleep

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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.

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

Pam

Sleep

Causes of sleep problems

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Sleep is one of the 5 elements of fitness and it´s key to help you achieve any fitness goal and live a better life, lack of sleep have a lot of negative impacts but there are also many things that can cause sleep problems.

One of the main causes of sleep problems is stress, if you have chronic stress your body won´t calm and relax and your mind don´t stop so you won´t be able to fall asleep or if you manage to do it you won´t feel rested when you wake up. Most of us have chronic stress and we don´t consider all the negative effects it has on our health and some of us don´t think of it as the cause of our poor sleep nights.

Digestive problems are also a cause of poor sleep, if you have digestive problems and you have a big meal or you have meals high on refined sugar and unhealthy fats you´ll feel bloated and constipated and when you go to bed you won´t fall asleep, your body will be working so hard to digest all that food.

The environment also affects the quality of sleep there are so many things you need to consider here starting with the temperature of the room which change from one person to another but too hold or too cold will impact negatively your sleep also lights and noise. If your environment is not completely dark this can cause problems for your internal clock so make sure that all lights are off, you can use nightlights in bathrooms to avoid accidents if you wake up in the night. Noises inside and outside your house can keep you awake or wake you up if you are not use to them, in this case it can be hard to control the noises but do what you can in your home to avoid any loud noise that can disturb your sleep.

Light is an important factor on the quality of sleep, we´re exposed to light a lot more nowadays and this changes the internal clock of our body. Light exposure from sun is not the same as light exposure from electric light bulbs. In the late afternoon or late night we turn on the lights to continue what we´re doing but this creates a delay in our sleeping patterns, the light clock we are using externally with electronics and electric light bulbs is not in rhythm with our internal light clock which goes with nature. Getting outside and having light from the sun in the morning and turning lights off when the sun goes down or around the same time keeps the internal clock of our body in sync.

The color of your bedroom can also impact the amount of sleep you get every night, some colors make you sleep less hours while other colors help you sleep more.

Blue light is also a problem lowering the production of melatonin, the use of electronics like computers, lap tops, cell phones are increasing the use of blue light and you use them a lot throughout the day, some of us use them at night right before we go to bed and sometimes in bed, checking news and social media accounts is one of the worst habits that are causing a lot of health problems.

Two things you can do today to improve the quality of your sleep is first reduce the time you spend using electronics, turn them off around one hour before you go to sleep, you can start with 30 minutes, turn the lights off also you can use this 30 minutes to meditate relax and calm and to release tension from your body and muscles.

Second try to get light sun every morning, if you can do some physical activity outside do it and reduce the amount of light in the afternoon and night, getting light from the sun in the morning and reducing light from electronics and electric light bulbs at night helps your body sets its internal clock.

I also need to mention that life is hard for all of us, there are times when we´ll go through a lot of difficult situations, one after another and this increases stress, worry it can lead to anxiety and depression and all this also impacts in a negative way all the 5 principles of fitness, in this case it is so hard to fall asleep and get enough high quality sleep every night, this happens to all of us from time to time and we need to find ways to solve those situation or at least cope with it so it doesn´t affect our health. If this becomes chronic then it leads to diseases. If you´re struggling with something in your life and you want to share it with us you can leave a comment down below, on Twitter or send us a dm, we´ll be glad to help you.

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Pam