Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo.   Do you ever have those mornings where you wake up in a fog? You couldn’t really fall asleep the night before and it seemed like every hour you were staring at the alarm clock, counting down until it would go off. I hate that. Did you know that the lack of rest can actually impede your weight loss results?  Today we’ll be talking about the correlation between quality sleep and getting you to your goals.  If you have questions about today’s content or would like to know more about this thing called “sleep”, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Sleep provides incredible benefits to your body. Restful sleep can help your body to raise its own metabolism. While you are sleeping, your body is burning more calories. That deep sleep can also help the body to reset and rejuvenate itself. It also helps keep the mind alert and ready to work. I know, I know. Good quality sleep sounds like something that a lot of people wish for, but can’t always get. This weather we’re having, with all the rain, can help to induce that sleep but sometimes I can actually mess it up.  The barometric pressure can sometimes interrupt our sleep cycle causing a few bouts of wakeful nights.

I’ve got a few different tips today aimed to help you increase your sleeping habits. Sleep is one of those things, we at Custom Fitness are passionate about – when we are off work. Our studio works with people on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle modification.  Sleep habits fall into the latter. When we work with clients on lifestyle, we are looking at their sleeping habits and their before-bed routine. If there is no before bed routine, then we will implement one the last 30 minutes to an hour before you hit the pillow.  This primes your body to start secreting the necessary fluids to get your brain to begin to relax.  

#1: Did you drink your water?

Key to getting better sleep? Yes, it is the personal trainer in Amarillo’s adage, but you have to be hydrated. If you will hydrate throughout the day (not right before bed because then you’ll be up all night for a different reason), drink half of your body weight in ounces every day, then you will see a huge increase in your ability to enter REM sleep. This type of deep sleep typically does not contain dreams as your body is actively restoring itself. REM occurs in waves throughout the night.

The best time for your body to access REM is to be asleep between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. If you’re going to bed at or after 11:00 p.m., you’re not going to get the same level of sleep that you would if you went to bed at 10:00 or 10:30 and slept through until at least 2 a.m. That is not all the sleep you need, by any means, but it is some good parameters to follow.  Most people need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep to feel well rested. If you can schedule those hours to include 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. you will wake up feeling refreshed rather than sluggish. During those crucial 3 hours, do everything in your power to keep from waking up. If you do rouse from sleep you’re likely to feel very out of sorts: unsure where you are, who you are, what day it is, etc. This will transfer over to your next day where you are groggy and struggle to focus.

If you want to start sleeping better, hydration should be your priority (as it should be for most goals).

#2: Did you get a text message?

Approximately 30 minutes to an hour before bed, the next step is to make sure and set all your electronics down. If you’re watching this video and it is 30 minutes before bed, put it down,and finish it tomorrow.  Get rid of any extra sensations of electronics even if the TV is on in the background and you’re not even paying attention to it; turn it off.  Stepping away from the electronics is going to make a big difference. Even if you don’t think you’re paying attention to them, your brain if fighting to figure out what is happening on that TV, phone, tablet, e-book, etc. That struggle will spawn a burst of brain activity that takes a while to calm down before you can even think about falling asleep.  All of these pieces of tech give off a blue light that causes your entire body to become more aware.  Setting them aside will allow your body to start to wind down.

What can you do during those 30 minutes if you’re not browsing news feeds or binge watching a TV show? Go move around. Go for a walk. Do some stretching. Do a light workout to ease your body into a relaxed state. Try to avoid intensive, cardio pumping programs like HIIT – this will get your brain ready to work and blood moving.  That’s not what you want.   If you do a workout then go to sleep in the next 30 -45 minutes, you will feel good and ready to sleep. If you wait longer than the 45 minute mark, your energy will start to revive and keep you awake.

#3: What’s on your mind?

The last one is one of the top things that keep people up at night. We can’t seem to fall asleep because we are thinking. The brain is always going. This disproportionately affects women because our brains work differently than the male counterpart. Men can flip a cognitive switch and fall asleep within seconds of hitting the sheets. Women can lie awake for 2-3 hours before we actually fall asleep because our mind is too busy going over what needs to get done tomorrow, next week, in 2 years, or whatever it may be. The best thing that we can do to counteract the mental preoccupation is to lay a physical piece of paper next to you and journal.  Write down everything in your brain. The good, the bad, to do lists, that weird pang you’ve been feeling, that song that got stuck in your head that morning. Whatever it is, physically write it down.  

The more that you can write down, the less your brain will be actively trying to process those thoughts and keep them in the front of your mind.   A few years ago some scholars performed a study comparing the “new” schools with the “old” schools. The former is packed with Smart Boards, the kids carry tablets (no physical textbooks), they can access google, etc. The old schools were outfitted with the traditional equipment: dry erase and chalk boards, textbooks, and tutoring sessions. The research wanted to know which of these two populations would perform better on tests? Obviously the “new” schools were slated to win because they could access the internet to look up whatever question they had whereas the other students only studied what was given to them by a teacher.

Turns out that the students who physically wrote things down at the “old” school outperformed the “new” school students on tests, in extracurriculars, and socially.The scholars went on to conclude that there is a trigger in your brain that is pulled when you write something. Your brain is holding all this information and it won’t stop replaying those thoughts until you get it out by writing it. Interestingly, your brain does not respond to typing or texting the same way. It does not acknowledge that those thoughts have been written down, so it will continue to retain that information. Often that is what is keeping us up at night.

Let’s recap. For good, quality sleep you should be:

  • Throughout the day drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water.
  • Set all electronics aside 30 – 60 minutes before bed.
  • Relax your body by doing some light activity (walking, stretching, moving) during those 30 -45 minutes before bed.
  • Write down everything in your brain on a piece of paper with a pen or pencil to make sure that your brain can let it go.

Try those tips out and let me know what you think. If you’d like some more tips or more help with your lifestyle habits that may be hindering weight loss, your muscle growth progress or just impeding your general health, we’d love to help you. Feel free to give us a call at 806-322-3188 or e-mail us at info@customfitness.biz. We would be happy to schedule a consultation for you where you can get to know what it is we do and decide if we are the right fit for you. At Custom Fitness, we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo. Sleep tight!