Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

What’s your night time routine?

sleep
I have just installed the latest software on my iPhone and noticed in my alarm app there is a bedtime mode. It lets you set up an alarm to remind you when you need to go to bed in relation to the amount of time you want to sleep.

I thought this simple but effective idea could really help people prepare themselves and not lose track of time in the evenings before they go to bed.

It’s very easy to say ‘sure just count back eight hours and that’s when you should go to bed’ but how many times have you told yourself that you are going to bed early tonight and still end up sitting in front of the TV and losing track of time.

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There are many changes you can make to ensure you get the right amount, and quality, of sleep. Your sleep pattern is always one of the least thought about areas in your health and fitness goals. With the busy lives we lead we are always putting the importance of our sleep last.

Here are some of the reasons you should consider placing more importance on your sleep.

Better health
Getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease. But study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity.

Less pain
If you have chronic pain – or acute pain from a recent injury- getting enough sleep may actually make you hurt less. Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold. Unfortunately, being in pain can make it hard to sleep.

Recover quicker
When you sleep it is giving your body more chance to repair and replenish. After a hard workout your body needs time to recover. By consistently getting a good night’s sleep you are increasing the chances of meeting your goals a lot quicker and reducing the risk of injury.

Better mood
Getting enough sleep won’t guarantee a sunny disposition. But you have probably noticed that when you’re exhausted, you’re more likely to be cranky.

Better weight control
Getting enough sleep could help you maintain your weight – and conversely, sleep loss goes along with an increased risk of weight gain.

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Clearer thinking
Have you ever woken up after a bad night’s sleep feeling fuzzy and easily confused. A good night’s sleep can set you right up for a productive day ahead.

Better memory
Feeling forgetful? Sleep loss could be to blame. Studies have shown that while we sleep, our brains process and consolidate our memories from the day. If you don’t get enough sleep, it seems like those memories might not get stored correctly – and can be lost.

Now that you know the reasons why you should be sleeping between seven to eight hours per night here are a few habits you may want to consider to help you sleep tight.

No electronics before bed
Stay clear of TV’s, iPad, phones and laptops for at least 20 minutes before you go to bed. They stimulate the mind instead of resting it in preparation for your sleep. If you just can’t put your phone down before bed then download a blue light filter.

Caffeine free drinks
I try and stay away from caffeine after 6pm. If you feel like having a cup of tea there are any number of caffeine free teas that you can try. Some of these have been specifically flavoured to help relax the body before bed.

Read
This is one suggestion that I have started to make a habit.
Reading for 10-20 minutes a night really helps me relax and get a better night’s sleep.
Not only does it help with the quality of sleep you can also read something useful rather than watching stupid videos on Facebook. Don’t worry I used to do it all the time as well!

Make sure your room is dark
Sleeping in a dark room really helps with the quality of sleep, again make sure there is nothing in the room that can distract you or stimulate your mind.

Sleep naked and keep the room temperatures cool
Sleeping naked is good for you, mainly because it lowers skin temperature which activates good fats to help burn calories. Sleeping naked can help prevent women from getting yeast infections and men should also skip the clothes for maximised sperm production.

Like everything in your health and fitness journey if you prepare well then you can get the best out of what you are doing.

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