Ready for Bed …

Have trouble getting to sleep? Be kind to yourself even if you are worried about it. Part of getting ready to relax is allowing for the discomfort of the unknown. Know you are working on new habits and that effort pays off.

Have you been working to shift your bedtime routine to support your quality of sleep. This is one of the hardest skills my clients struggle with. It is such a fearful time because “what if I don’t get enough tonight?” or “will I even get to sleep?” the thoughts begin to plague us before we hit the pillow.

Your job … is to believe that you can shift old patterns and that you are patient enough to work through the effort it takes to make a change in your life. This is hard work. New behaviors take 20-40 days to get set up. Sleep is one of those that takes a while, and often we’ve conditioned ourselves to worry about it.

Tonight, as you go to bed, have grace with yourself and say “I am going to sleep well. I have been working hard to get back on track and shift my system, step by step. I am doing the work and I sleep well as a result”. If it does not go great, just remind yourself that you are working on it and step by step shifting old patterns. Have compassion for the work you are doing and know that each night you give it effort you help make those changes possible.

Little by little … step by step … Sleep Tight.

10 Ideas to Help You Sleep

How are you doing on sleep these days? Are you taking care of yourself or are you running ragged now that the sun is out longer? Don’t forget how important sleep is to your health. Here are some tips to make sure you get enough each night.

1) Create a calm sleeping environment
2) Play soft, soothing music
3) Use aromatherapy – scents like lavender can help calm you
4) Dim the lights 60-30min before going to bed
5) Take a hot bath
6) Drink a cup of bedtime tea
7) Follow the same routine daily
8) Keep your bedtime and wake time the same – vary it no more than 30min on each side
9) Get a good pillow and comfortable blankets
10) Eliminate TV, Computer, Video games (screen times) 30 min before bed – they keep your brain working

4 Steps for Finding Time For Fitness

Are you one of the many who feel you do not have time to exercise?  I hear it all the time.  “I have a job, kids, parents, housekeeping, ____fill in the blank____, I can’t exercise regularly.”    I am with ya.  I’ve got kids, a husband, extended family, work, housekeeping, a yard, but here is a secret, if I do not make time to exercise, I will have to make time to be ill. Pretty heavy words.  I don’t even like the way it sounds.  If not exercise, illness. So what can you do about your time issues?

First, be honest about them. Write down your daily schedule for a few days. Once you have a list of daily activities look for time sappers. Is there things you do regularly that suck your time up? One of mine is reading. I’ll grab a magazine for a break and do not put it down when it is time. Reading in itself is not the problem, its my ability to block out the other things that need to get done to finish an article I may not care much about. Many see this problem with TV. They sit down for a brief break and end up watching an entire episode of a show they do not care about or rather than leave a co-workers office when other things should be getting done you linger to gossip about items you could give a hoot about. No matter what your time sapper, the end result is the same: you still have the same chores to get done leaving you no time to do the things you want. What if you stuck to the brief break and turned the TV off after 10 minutes? Or if I put down the magazine when it was time to go back to work? I think over the course of a day you would probably find an extra thirty minutes.

Second, GO TO BED! Make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Our bodies rely on it to rebuild and when you cheat it you cheat yourself. You create a deficit which results in less productive days. These less productive days add items you were too tired to complete back on your to do list again resulting in the feeling of no time left. When you wake up with enough sleep you are focused and ready for the day’s challenges leaving you extra time because you’ll be able to get your list done early!

Third, are you good at time management. Even if you wake up refreshed you must be a good time manager if you are going to really get enough done in a day. Many interchange the word stress with busy. If you find yourself always busy you’ve got a problem. I don’t mean this mean, but if you are always running behind, find yourself in the never ending to do list, feel that as soon as you finish one project you must begin the next you may be inefficient or you need an assistant. Nobody can do it all. I see many people like this. They run around like just been butchered chickens, where do just been butchered chickens go? In circles. Then they talk to me about how stressed out they are, how everybody else needs them first, and how they could never take the time to lose the extra weight because they have absolutely no time to workout. Hmmmm….If you do not take time for yourself no one else will and on top of that most say nobody appreciates the extra work they do. I would say, no one appreciates the work they do because no one knows what they really do, how they do it, or why they are doing it. I know I have put on my yelling voice, but what I am really saying is; your time is yours, manage it well and it will serve you well. Your time is your most precious commodity and you are worth a lot so make sure what you spend it on is worth it. If you are always too busy examine why and then delegate jobs that are no longer worth your time and focus your attention on the tasks which are. I speak from experience, as I have 3 small children, own a business, write weekly, run a household, and am still able to take a bath most nights of the week, meet up with my friends, and spend quality time with my husband and kids. Delegation is key.

Finally, your time is yours. If you do not find time to move often you will have to find time for illness. Personally, my very valuable time is better spent walking in the park, working out, playing with my kids, hiking with my husband, and enjoying this glorious thing we call life.

Bedtime Routines

For some hitting the hay comes easy. For others it becomes a struggle night after night. Here are some ideas on how to get to bed easier.

From the time we are babies the experts preach bedtime routines. This doesn’t change as we get older – I think we just quit listening as closely.

Enjoy Mario, He’s pretty funny and has some good things to add to your routine!

Routines help us adjust to our activities of daily living so we can trigger physical responses without too much thought. Think about how you respond to a favorite song, a smell, or your drive to work automatically. Creating a bedtime routine can work wonders for those trying to get enough sleep on a consistent basis.

Here are some ideas:

  • Dim the lights around the house
  • Play restful / soft music – music effects our heart rates – think group x class – that’s why they keep the tunes pumping. Not what you want at bedtime. Pick something that soothes you and slows you down.
  • Light candles
  • Use a calming scent – lavender, chamomile, etc – in linen sprays, candles, or sachets
  • Take a warm bath
  • Read
  • TURN OFF THE TV & COMPUTERS – the screens are actually moving in ways your eyes and brains have to keep up with. So even when we may feel it is unwinding us, too close to bedtime it keeps our brains working hard making it harder to transition to sleep.
  • Drink calming or herbal teas
  • Invite your family to participate in the routine by reading together, sharing quiet stories about the day, or just being quiet
  • Practice yoga or other breathing / stretching activity

Whatever you choose to do use the same routine each day – creating a pattern of your behavior allows the body to become more in tune to it. This allows the body and brain to shift into the pattern easier. If you want to be able to shift into sleep easier try using the same music, smells, and activity routines each night to create a pattern for your bedtime.

What’s Sleep Got To Do With It?

So I’m a little behind this week! I was traveling and I needed rest when I got home. What’s so important about sleep? How does a good nights rest help your weight loss efforts?

Not only does getting enough sleep help your body restore as needed it can help you maintain a positive outlook on life. When your body gets enough rest you are more likely to make better food and exercise choices to support your health goals. It has also been shown that when the body is sleep deprived it tends to crave more high glycemic carbohydrate foods.

High glycemic foods are those that quickly impact your blood sugar levels. This is no surprise considering simple carbohydrates are our bodies quickest energy source. However, these are also the energy sources which may be short circuiting your diet. Things like white bread, sugary drinks, and candy may help you feel more energy for the short term but leave you more tired after the “crash”. Typically they contain less nutrients and cause you to consume more calories in order to meet your caloric needs.

Less sleep also contributes to the grand ole’ excuse of “I’m just too tired to exercise”. If you are too tired and choose watching TV on the couch over a brisk walk outside often enough – the pounds are going to pack on. A solid exercise program can help you get good sleep, too.

When we exercise our core body temperature rises. If it goes up it must come down. Research has shown as the body temperature comes down it is a trigger for sleep. By adding cardiovascular exercise (aerobic) in 5-6 hours before bedtime you may help your body prepare for and fall asleep easier and for a more restful sleep. Be careful in choosing your exercise times, as too much vigorous exercise too close to bed can have the opposite effect causing you to stay up later and shorten your sleep time. Because we are all different some may benefit from a morning exercise routine and others afternoon or evening.

We haven’t even talked about the hormonal effects of sleep or lack there of on the body which can impact how full we feel and how our body signals to eat. Both having direct effects on our caloric consumption, our waistlines, and our ability to exercise.

Bottom line – get your zzz’s for optimal health. Next time we’ll have some ideas to help set the stage for bedtime success.