Fitness: The importance of sleep – and tips to help you rest well

Regulating sleep schedules without the use of medicine or supplements

Sleep plays a vital role in our overall health. Not only is sleep crucial for daily life, but it is also an important part of weight loss and fitness. In continuation of my fitness challenge theme; and this week’s goal to improve my sleep habits, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite tips that help you “rest well.”

As mentioned previously, I am a chronic insomniac. The worst experience was back in 2014 when I was ill. Two months went by and I was surviving on very little sleep. I had been off work for several months and doctors could not figure out what was causing it. I remember one day I was so tired that I felt asleep on the toilet. I was burnt out.

That’s how important sleep is. You can’t function without it.

My longest stretch was about 120 hours without sleep. So, I visited a sleep clinic as suggested by my physician. I learned some valuable information and feel compelled to share it with you.

By the end of the 120 hour stretch, I was completely delusional. I couldn’t form proper sentences. I was seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. I was paranoid and thought the world was out to get me. My career and personal relationships suffered because of it. It led to really bad decision making – decisions that I can’t take back.

adult beautiful bed bedroom
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why sleep is so important

According to my research from multiple sources, eight hours of sleep seems to be what the majority of health professionals agree on. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep is crucial. Having a regular sleep schedule helps our bodies in many ways to heal and lose weight.

From a recent article by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Sleep plays a vital role in keeping your brain healthy.

“During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.”

woman sleeping on sofa with throw pillows
Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Sleep helps us to stay mentally fit and perform day to day tasks. Not getting enough sleep will impact your ability to drive a car, work on heavy machinery or even basic life skills like cooking, reading or writing. Even thinking can seem impossible with a foggy brain.

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and can have a real impact on your personal life, your job and your relationships. Your energy levels will bottom-out and you  may even lose interest in doing things you once loved. This is why fitness and exercise really helps to regulate your sleep schedule.

Some tips to help regulate your sleep schedule

For me, there are a few things that help me regulate my sleep schedule so I can get at least six to seven hours of non-interrupted sleep.

  1. Set a regular sleep schedule – in bed by midnight every night
  2. No naps during the week
  3. Daily exercise – but not past nine pm at night
  4. Plenty of sunshine and fresh air
  5. Drink lots of water during the day. No coffee past four pm

Clean your room and bedding often

Nothing beats clean sheets and a fluffy pillow – I sleep best when the bed-sheets are fresh out of the dryer. Keeping your bed clean and free of clutter will help you to relax and be comfortable when you lie down. I need to work on cleaning my room as well. If the room is cluttered or messy, I find at times I can’t relax enough to sleep. Invest in a large hamper for your dirty clothes and look into tools for organizing your closet like shelf hangers or racks.

photo of bedroom
Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

 

No screen time – at least one hour before bed

This means no phone, computer or electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. It’s time to shut off your electronic devices and trade your I-pad in for a paper book. The glare of the screens can be hard on the eyes at night time. Give your eyes and your brain at least an hour to relax before bed. This is why I find being in bed early is crucial. I need to make sure I get at least six to seven hours of sleep to feel refreshed and alert in the morning.

white tablet computer surfing pictures
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have a cup of sleepy time tea

One or two cups of chamomile tea with a dash of milk and honey really helps to calm the nerves and puts me in the right frame of mind for sleep. Chamomile is a natural herb that helps you sleep. It is caffeine free which is what you want to drink at night time. I’m a coffee drinker. Not a tea drinker. But the sweet taste of chamomile is a guilty pleasure.

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
Photo by Thought Catalog on Pexels.com

 

Listen to white noise or nature sounds

While some people like me listen to music to fall asleep; I find listening to white noise or nature sounds can really put me to sleep fast. The low hum of  a fan in winter months or humidifier often does the trick for people. Sometimes I listen to nature music.

 

Hypnosis or “Talk Down” Videos 

The Honest Guys on YouTube have some great videos that can help you fall asleep to. I really like the twenty minute talk-down sleep videos. If you’re looking for more music suggestions, check out my post on music for relaxation.

 

Deep breathing exercises or “bedtime” yoga

Deep breathing while lying down at night time is a great way to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Yoga and meditation before bed can help with calming anxiety. Here’s a video on how to combine deep breathing and yoga for sleep.

 

There are many other things I’ve learned over the years to help with my sleep problems. Insomnia can really drag you down mentally and physically. But don’t let sleep ruin your life.

If I can change my life long sleep disorders – there’s hope for you too.

Regular exercise, getting plenty of sunshine (vitamin D), and fresh air really is an amazing way to help regulate your sleep schedule. I can count the number of nights I’ve had interrupted sleep on one hand. On those nights, I either went on a long nature hike, or spent a lot of time outdoors – or I took a fitness class like Aqua Fit.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed this post on how to regulate your sleep schedule. What works for you? What methods have you tried to help you sleep at night time?

Thanks for all the comments and re-shares. If you’d like to use any of the information from this blog, please, I ask that you refer to my website in your post.

 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mr. Ramdolfi says:

    A cup of sleepy time coffee usually works for me. 😅

    Like

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