I’ve heard all the excuses as to why people don’t want to prioritize their sleep. I’ll sleep when I’m dead. I wake up at three in the morning to…fill in the blank. I’m a night owl. I don’t have time to sleep. I work the night shift. And (my personal favorite excuse) I only need 4 hours of sleep.
For some reason, our society prides itself on lack of sleep. It is a badge of honor, a sign of hard work, discipline and grit to be sleep deprived. But this paradigm of thinking must be shifted. Our sleep deprivation is holding us back from truly living! Sleep is the FOUNDATION of health!
Sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, chronic disease, and stress. Notably, sleep or lack thereof has been linked to both the development and MANAGEMENT of a number of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression (CDC – Sleep & Sleep Disorders).
Sleep is one of the key components to managing stress. It’s simple right? If you’re tired, you’ll likely be more irritable, short and unable to process difficult situations as effectively causing more stress!
If you’re overly stressed, take time to rest your weary head! Your initial action steps can be easy at first.
STEP 1 – SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON SLEEP
If you’re a chronic anti-sleeper, it’s time to shift your perspective. Begin implementing the steps below and start trying to get the recommended amount of sleep (8-10 hours per night) for 30 days. Evaluate and journal how you feel then go back to your normal sleep routine for another 30 days, evaluate and journal how you feel and compare notes.
STEP 2 – TURN OFF SCREENS
Try turning off ALL screens one hour before bed. Many clients find that replacing it with a book is really beneficial and helps quiet the mind, resulting in falling asleep sooner and sleeping more soundly.
Device screens produce blue light, which is the part of the light spectrum most active in our sleep cycle. Stimulation of this part of the brain suppresses production of melatonin, making it difficult for many people to “turn off” their brains and fall asleep (Screens and Your Sleep: The Impact of Nighttime Use).
STEP 3 – SLOWLY IMPLEMENT EARLIER BEDTIMES
Try getting more sleep by going to bed earlier. It can be difficult to go to bed an hour early right out of the gate, so start by going to bed ten minutes earlier than normal for a week, then 20 minutes earlier the next week, keep adding ten extra minutes per week until you’re going to bed 30-90 minutes earlier. Trust me, that extra episode of ‘The Office’ will still be there tomorrow!
STEP 4 – EXERCISE
Exercise or play a sport every day. Exercising also improves sleep for many people. Specifically, moderate-to-vigorous exercise can increase sleep quality for adults by reducing sleep onset – or the time it takes to fall asleep – and decrease the amount of time they lie awake in bed during the night (How Does Exercise Impact Sleep?).
STEP 5 – INVEST IN BLACKOUT BLINDS
Blackout blinds contribute to a better sleeping environment by creating a completely dark environment, which eliminates the issue of light pollution and stimuli that prevents you from getting to sleep or staying asleep (Why You Need to Invest in Black Out Blinds for Sleep Issues).
SHIFT WORKERS OR NEW PARENTS
If you’re a shift worker or have a baby who keeps you up at all hours of the night here are a few resources to help you sleep better at night.
Often the challenge with stress is figuring out what steps to take on your own. This is a huge obstacle to taking action for managing stress.
A coach will help you set goals, develop a plan specific to your needs, your busy schedule, help you wade through all the nonsense information and hold you accountable to your plan.
Finally, commit to your action steps. Write it down somewhere and tell others about it and remember: Change requires action.
At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness, we offer you both nutrition and fitness coaching, from personal training to group CrossFit classes we have the keys to help you reach your goals!
Our personal trainers and group coaches value lifting weights, and using multi-jointed, functional exercises performed at high intensity. You don’t have to guess about what to do and they can even help you set some goals for getting the rest you need to keep your body thriving.
Schedule a free consultation with a coach to see how we can help you with your goals! → I’M READY TO MEET WITH A COACH!
COACH PHIL KNIEP
Owner & CEO of Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness
Precision Nutrition L1 Coach
CrossFit Level 2 Trainer
3x CrossFit Games Qualifier