The Importance of Quality Sleep

Hey, FitFam!

Here we are facing another round of time changes. In most places, the clocks move back in November as daylight saving time ends. 

So yay for that extra hour of sleep!

Boo to messed up internal clocks.

Our internal body clocks sometimes don’t sync up with external clocks for a while—and you have to pay the extra hour back in spring!

Whether daylight saving time affects you or not, it’s worth reviewing your sleep habits. Sleep and fitness are locked together. You simply can’t perform at your best or recover properly without a good night’s sleep. 

So how much sleep do you need? About seven to nine hours—the exact number depends on the person. We’re all busy, but no matter who you are, you’ll feel worn out if you don’t get enough sleep. I want you rested, recovered and ready to train, so here are a few tips:

1. Limit caffeine and alcohol—Caffeine can stick around for a long time, so avoid it late in the day. And alcohol can make you feel sleepy, but it can also disrupt your sleep even though it’s a depressant. You’ll rest better if you skip the nightcap.

2. Stick to a schedule and create a bedtime routine—This can be a tall order for parents of young children and shift workers. But, if possible, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Even if you can’t do that, try to get a routine in place. For example, start winding down well before you want to fall asleep and take care of any end-of-day tasks on a schedule. Take the trash out, brush your teeth, get into your pajamas and get into bed before the time you want to be asleep.

3. Remember these letters: CDQ—When it comes to sleep, you want it cool, dark and quiet. Adjust the temperature or get a fan going, hang some blackout curtains, and try to reduce any noise near your bedroom. Cut out any distracting noises like a washing machine spin cycle if it is too loud. Sleep is more important than laundry.

4. Turn off screens well before bed—Bright screens mess with your body’s sleep mechanisms, so turn off TVs, tablets and smartphones earlier in the evening. That way your body will be ready to drift off in a dark room.

5. Be active—Physical activity reduces stress and generally improves sleep. One exception: Don’t do a hard workout right before bed. It might be tough to gear down for a while afterward. If possible, leave some space between training and sleeping. But stay active, either with workouts or lots of general physical activity on days off from the gym.

6. Avoid naps late in the day—Naps of up to 30 minutes can help some people get through the day, but for others they greatly disrupt sleep patterns. If you’re struggling to sleep, try to limit daytime napping.

7. Track your sleep—All sorts of apps and devices can help with this. If you start monitoring sleep, you might see interesting patterns. For example, a person might realize she always sleeps more on the weekends than during the week. As a result, she’s tired by Friday and her workouts don’t go well. Data will help you get the rest you need to be at your best.

When you combine great sleep with sound nutrition and solid training, you’ll feel amazing and make more progress toward your goals.

Set an alarm right now for tonight. When it goes off, start your evening routine so you get into bed on time for a good night’s sleep!

Happy sweating!


P.S. Feeling run down? I’d love to talk to you about optimizing your fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. Send me an email at [email protected].


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