Raise your hand if you get enough sleep? Not too many hands there, I know mine wasn't up. But I am constantly working on ways I can improve my sleep/rest, which will lead to better recovery, which will lead me to getting better results with those first two building blocks we have talked about.
Here are just a few things that studies have shown that lack of proper sleep can cause:
-snack more after dinner
-eat more junk carbs
-fat cells age, making you more likely to gain weight and get diabetes
-a decrease in alertness and increase reaction time, making you more likely to be in a traffic accident
-increased levels of stress, anger, sadness, and depression
So here are 7 tips to help improve sleep quantity as well as quality.
1. The single most important thing you will need is a good bed
In my opinion a great bed and mattress are well worth the amount of money they cost. Think about how much time you spend in that bed over the next 10-20 years. A very worthwhile investment, so get a good one that works for you.
2. Create a good sleep environment
Keep the noise level down as low as possible, as dark as possible, and keep your room cool (to my wife this means 87 degrees, for me it is 48 degrees). The research shows around 68 degrees is an optimal temp. Sometimes my wife reads these e-mails, fingers crossed today.
3. Get a routine
You know the basketball players that dribble twice, kiss their cross medallion, wipe the sweat off their forehead, do 4 clap jacks, and then shoot a free throw? No? Okay, just know that you need a routine to help you wind down and relax before you go to sleep. This can be reading, listening to soft music, taking a bath, praying, some light stretching. Just find a calming activity you do every night that will be your body's signal to shut it down for the night.
4. What about when you have to get up in the middle of the night?
The number one thing is to avoid frustration. If you have been trying for more than 15 minutes and nothing is happening, get out of bed and do some sort of light activity (eat a light snack, drink a glass of milk, read something boring) with the lights dimmed. If your mind starts working a hundred miles per hour on things you need to do, keep a notepad next to your bed and write down the things on your mind. All of these are designed to take your mind off things and not be so frustrated at yourself for being awake.
5. Stay away from pills!
They are the absolute last resort. There are times when you need them, but research has shown that using a good sleep routine is more effective than pills.
6. Some things that can mess with your sleepy time:
* Too much food, especially fatty, rich food. These take a lot of work for your stomach to digest and may keep you up. Spicy or acidic foods in the evening can cause stomach trouble and heartburn.
* Too much liquid. Drinking lots of fluid may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night.
* Alcohol. Many people think that a nightcap before bed will help them sleep. While it may make you fall asleep faster, alcohol reduces your sleep quality, waking you up later in the night. To avoid this effect, stay away from alcohol in the hours before bed.
* Caffeine. You might be surprised to know that caffeine can cause sleep problems up to ten to twelve hours after drinking it! Consider eliminating caffeine after lunch or cutting back your overall intake.
* Smoking. Smoking causes sleep troubles in numerous ways. Nicotine is a stimulant, which disrupts sleep. Additionally, smokers actually experience nicotine withdrawal as the night progresses, making it hard to sleep.
*Electronics. Turn the electronics off at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before bed time and keep them away from you as you sleep. Our gadgets can suppress melatonin, keep your brain alert (and you awake), and all the beeps, buzzes, and chirps can wake you up in the middle of the night.
7. And of course, the best thing you can do is exercise!
Our bodies are not designed to sit around all day with zero physical activity. I have a saying about kids that applies to adults too. When in doubt, wear 'em out. Moving more and sitting less will help improve your sleep quality.
Some of these may seem obvious, but the idea is to do ALL the steps to optimize your sleep. Not just the ones that come easy to you. Good luck and get some rest tonight!
Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!
A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.
Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.
On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.
This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.
The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.
The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…
The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.
The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.
If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.
Have you ever done a kickboxing class? It is such a fun and energizing workout! We did a Cardio Kickboxing series several months ago and people loved it. So we are bringing it back on September 17th!
The class is taught by Deborah Thomason who has a black belt in karate, so she knows exactly what she is doing and how to teach it as well. There are several benefits you will get, but here are the top 5 benefits of cardio kickboxing:
1. Get toned from head to toe
You will learn the proper way to punch, kick, and defend. When done properly these techniques will incorporate every muscle in your body
2. Stress relief
Had a rough week? Let all that stress that has built up, fade away as you sweat through class. It is tough to beat punching something for stress relief.
3. Confidence booster
One of the best parts of cardio kickboxing is that you will feel stronger every day. That empowerment will stay with you throughout the day and through your week.
4. Learn self defense
This is not Fight Club. Just wanted to put that out there. But learning how to punch and kick harder while protecting yourself will help you defend yourself.
5. Better balance and coordination
Balance and coordination are two things that tend to go away as we age. They go away because we don’t use them like we used to! Integrating your hips into a punch or standing on one leg to kick will help wake these two attributes back up. You will see improvement in both balance and coordination.
There is an added bonus benefit that is not scientifically proven, but should be. You will become a badmamajamma. And isn’t that what life is all about?
You can sign up here to reserve your spot---> Cardio Kickboxing
The class is only $39 for 3 Saturday classes and is open to the first 15 who register.
You know what is missing in most people from ages 8-80? I will give you 3 guesses. What did you come up with?
Did you know that many kids today have forgotten how to play? Seriously. You can put them outside and they will now know what to do. Our children are constantly guided by teachers, coaches, and electronics on what to do so they need to be guided during play as well. We don’t allow them to play, so they don’t know how.
How about you? When was the last time you just played? Hide and go seek, kickball, four square, capture the flag, etc… And it doesn’t have to be physical play. Founder of the National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, includes art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting, and daydreaming under the play umbrella.
Dr. Brown did an excellent TED Talk called Play is more than just fun. Very interesting the correlation of play and mass murderers.http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital
As adults we get away from the things we used to love as a kid. We have to pay taxes, climb the corporate ladder, and keep up with the Joneses. No time for silly things that don’t make money. We have to have a purpose in everything we do.
There is a reason we add aspects of play into our boot camps. Because it is sorely needed! Play can:
-improve brain function
-increase resistance to disease
- increases energy levels
One day I am going to offer an Adult Recess class on Saturday mornings. I will let you know when that starts, it will be epic.
Until then, I have some homework for you. Find 3 times this week to play. Play with your spouse, your child, your pet, or some unsuspecting stranger at the office. Be silly, use your imagination, and stop taking yourself so seriously!
We are only on this Earth for a short time, don’t spend all of those precious moments being unhappy.
We all do it, whether we admit it or not. Watch too much TV.
Does this routine look familiar? Get home from work, change clothes, eat dinner, settle down on the couch for a few hours of TV. It happens right? You're exhausted from the day and all you want to do is relax. Unfortunately, I have a few disturbing stats for you.
-People eat 71% more while watching TV
Mindless TV watching, leads to mindless eating. Focus on enjoying your food, not the TV.
-People who watch more than 19 hours of TV a week increase their odds of being overweight by 97%.
If you are eating 71% more and being sedentary for at least 19 hours a week, that is a recipe for disaster.
-For every hour of TV beyond 80 minutes that you watch daily, your chances of developing Alzheimer's increases by 30%!
The brain, just like your muscles, needs to be exercised. If you are turning your brain off for hours at a time during TV viewing, you will not be as mentally sharp.
We got rid of our cable and have not missed it one bit. Yeah, I'm "that guy". Hundreds of channels and nothing to watch. It is amazing how you can fill your time with more worthwhile activities when flipping through channels or catching up on DVR'd shows is not an option. And an extra $100 in the bank every month doesn't hurt either.
If you are in this routine, try something new this week. I'm not asking you to quit TV cold turkey. Take 30 minutes out of your TV routine and go for a 30 minute walk.
Start there and work your way up. One 30 minute walk per week becomes 2 walks per week, then you could add in 15 minutes of stretching. 15 minutes of foam rolling, etc...
It takes burning a little energy to have energy. The more active you are, the more energy you will have. You will notice that you are much more energized and no longer feel like collapsing into the couch at the end of the day. Break out of the couch potato cycle!
I'm finally finished with The 21 Day Detox Challenge! If only I had paid attention in typewriting back in the day it would have been finished faster.
Yes I said typewriting kids, it was done on an actual typewriter.
If doing a detox challenge does not interest you, feel free to stop reading this post. I'm skeptical of most detoxes too, so I understand.
I just want to ask you a few questions:
Do you have sugar and carb cravings that just drive you nuts?
Do you suffer from fatigue, lethargy, depression or anxiety?
Do you feel like total crap (brain fog, cloudy thinking, no concentration, constant cravings) when you go on a "diet”? Hint- Everyone does!
If you answered "YES!" to any of those questions, well my friend, you're not alone. I'm right there with you myself at tines. And, so are MILLIONS of other Americans who struggle to lose weight and keep it off.
If you are looking for answers, if you are ready to try something new, and if you are ready for a change you can read more ---->HERE
PS- Does it look cooler abbreviated to 21DDC? I'm asking for a friend.
There are a ton of things that your energy level depends on. But I wanted to focus on some things that maybe you hadn't thought about in regards to your energy.
Here are 6 odd ways to increase energy:
1. Be Decisive
We all have a million choices we have to make every day. And it's even said that the #1 reason rich people become unhappy is because with more money, comes more options, which brings more decisions.
Do you ever look at a menu, get overwhelmed, and just choose something randomly just so you can move on with your life? It's why I always end up just getting what's in the pictures.
The best way to deal with decisions is to just be brash. Most often if you trust your gut you will be just fine.
AND whenever possible, limit your options.. the less options you have, the more you'll be willing to go for whatever you DO have.
2. Wear the right colors
Warm colors, such as red, yellow, and orange, are more energizing than their cool counterparts. That's because they're attention grabbing--which activates our brain circuitry.
And the best color to give you a jolt is orange. Boom, I have orange hair.
It's a blend of red, which is adrenaline producing in the viewer, and yellow, which reminds us of the sun and feelings of exuberance. Unless you are ginger like me and orange colors make your hair look even oranger (not sure if that's a word). I will have to stick with the hair.
3. Take a break from your smartphone
A recent study has shown that people who tried to juggle work and simultaneously keep up with their e-mail saw their measured IQ drop by 10 points!
Instead, find a few times during the day to close your e-mail and power off your phone. If work is especially busy, lunch can be your technology break.
4. Let go of regret
When you beat yourself up over the past, you're sucking your energy dry. The best way to deal with regret is to live a better life moving forward.
Regret is always experienced as a major loss, causing us to shut down psychologically and physically, which leads to fatigue and a loss of motivation.
In other words, feeling drained. Feelings of remorse can also cause your blood pressure to go up, and that translates into even less energy.
Instead, just put your regrets into context.
As Anthony Robbins says, "Your worst day is someone else's dream come true." There are always people who are less fortunate than you.
5. List all the stuff you accomplished
Remembering what you did well is the perfect antidote to feeling down. We get so busy, often times we forget just how much we have accomplished. Thinking about things you're proud of can induce a positive mood and a positive mood is associated with more energy.
6. There's always cold water
Cold water can invigorate our minds. This happens because when we encounter a stressor, our bodies often release noradrenaline, which is an energizing hormone.
Run cold water over your wrists for a minute or two to rev yourself up (also great for those times you can't seem to stop sweating after a shower). Because skin is covered in nerve endings, splashing cold water on your face works well too. Especially effective at 4am when it is 20 degrees outside.
These might seem a little strange, but try them out and let me know how it goes!
When I was in Nicaragua, I found an awesome way to wake up IMMEDIATELY and without caffeine.
It's pretty hot in Nicaragua and where we were staying was not air conditioned. So we set up our cots up outside because it was too hot indoors.
I felt what I thought was some wind blowing my hair around in the middle of the night. But then I remembered an important fact.
I reached up and grabbed a stinking rat. It ran off and I do believe both of us were alert and awake in a jiffy.
Thankfully I didn't scream like a school girl. Not loudly any way.
Anyway, it got me thinking of ways to get going in the morning so you can get your workout in, get to work, or wherever you might be going first thing in the morning awake and ready to roll.
Get excited! (The most important one)
You woke up again and you are alive. That is a reason to be excited for sure.
Today could be the day you make a difference in someone's life. Today might be the day you have a breakthrough with your body or your fitness level.
Every day is a gift! Now some days it is like getting socks for a gift, but still it's the thought that counts.
Wake up feeling excited and ready because this might be the day!
DO NOT let someone or something determine the mood of your day. You control that, let's make it awesome shall we?
Get out of bed right away
This is one I have to do. No snoozing for me. If you're addicted to snoozing, why not just set your alarm to when you really get up anyway? Stop teasing yourself with those little bits of sleep, it just makes things worse and increases your chances of sleeping through your alarm.
Wake up, slap that alarm, and hit the ground running. You will feel so much more energized than the snooze routine.
Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
This one will help get your body used to what you are doing to it. If you alternate going to bed at 9pm one night and waking up at 430am with staying up until 11pm and waking up at 630 your body gets confused.
Your body likes homeostasis and being in a routine. Doing the same thing every time for exercise=bad. Doing the same thing for sleep=good.
Pump up the jam
You like that song? Well turn it up! (Freedom Rock reference).
Blare some music you really like to get you going in the morning. Rock that Kenny G and let's go son!
If people are still asleep in your house, put on your headphones and get the party started.
Your brain needs oxygen to clear the fog of waking up early. Throw a few stretches in there to top it off.
Drink a big glass of water
Put some filtered water in a cup the night before. In the morning drink that thing down first thing. It will wake you up, help you get hydrated, and get your metabolism going.
Get the blood flowing
Jumping jacks or even better wacky jacks are a good way to get some blood and oxygen stirred up. High knees, punch your pillow a few times, raise the roof, whatever it takes.
Have you had a long week? Feeling beat down by the end of the work week? You are not alone.
Do you know what one of the most common reasons people cite for going to the doctor? Fatigue. A lot of us just do not have any energy.
Here are 5 ways to get more energized:
1. Take some deep breaths
Sometimes your blood doesn't have enough oxygen and too much carbon monoxide, which makes you tired and increases blood pressure and heart rate. Breath in through your nose for 5 seconds and out of your mouth for 10 seconds. An added bonus is it will help you relax and help get rid of stress.
2. Move more
Desk jobs can be exhausting. When your body sits still for long periods of time it thinks it is nappy time. Every 30 minutes get up and walk around, or at the very least do some stretching.
3. Stop skipping breakfast
I should be a lobbyist for Big Breakfast as much as I am always talking about eating breakfast. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism, give you sustainable energy throughout the day, and help you make better choices throughout the rest of your day.
4. Stop slouching
Mama told you stand straight up! Slouching can be a real problem. It causes the whole body to have to work harder and can put excess strain on your hips and lower back. It can even effect your breathing when you are all Crouching Person Hidden Lungs.
Plus you look taller when you stand straight up. My younger brother came home from Marine boot camp a few years ago and looked 6 inches taller, simply because his posture was amazing.
Nearly every job revolves around the computer these days, so bad posture is getting more and more common. Check in with your posture right now (before you read about what bad posture does to you).
Tip-your ears should be lined up with your shoulders when you have good posture.
5. Find something that excites you
You know how you will be right in the middle of something you love doing and all you can think about is how tired you are? No! Of course you wouldn't be thinking that.
What excites you? A project? An event you have coming up? Fight Club?
You need things in your life that get you excited and fired up. That will be your number one of staying energized.
Nothing beats you down and makes you feel exhausted like a boring life with no light at the end of your tunnel. Bonus points if it is something that excites and scares you.