Turn the act of sleeping into your new workout
Your sleep routine and why it needs some active attention…
Lately it seems like being a part of a so-called “fit-fam” is the thing to do. From pre-workout and protein to cross-fit and body building, fitness has become a way of life. What does this have to do with sleeping you ask? Take everything that goes into planning a work out and use it to plan your sleep.
When coming across a video online from an Australian Comedy group named Collective Noun, we couldn’t help but laugh. They put a clever spin on terms like, toning up, spot me and leg day. This group looked at sleep like a workout and it got me to thinking what if we all did this?
When we get ready to go to the gym we have a list of things we need. The right running shoes, the right playlist, some protein and a new routine. Can’t make it through a workout without these things just like we can’t fall asleep without a comfy mattress and favorite blanket.
To help you plan a winning sleep routine, we’ve put a list together to help you.
1.Find the right support for your sleep workout
Shopping for a mattress is a lot like looking for the right pair of sneakers. You need comfort and support in both cases and walking into a mattress store can be as overwhelming as walking into a shoe store. With so many different brands and comfort levels, where do you begin? Do some research online before heading into your local retailer. Arm yourself with some information about what different mattresses are made from and how those materials can help you sleep. If your current mattress is older than 10 years, it may have exceeded its life expectancy.
2. Set your sleep goal – and then your fitness goal!
Just like your workout goals, you have sleep goals too – whether you realize it or not. These goals can range from sleeping in later to waking up well-rested. We never aim to wake up sleepy and drained. In the comedic video titled “If Sleep Was A Workout,” they make puns on toning up the bags under your eyes.
So how do you reach these goals? Identify your challenges as your first step to understanding why you aren’t feeling energized when you get up in the morning. Just like we measure our Body Mass Index in the fitness world, there are ways to measure how you sleep. Technology has provided us with all different sleep trackers and apps to determine how many hours you spent actually sleeping and how many tossing and turning.
3. Prepare for sleep like an athlete
Meal prepping has become a huge fad in the last few years. Why not sleep prep? There are many things you can do to relax both your mind and body before hitting the hay. You can read a book to rid your mind of any other worries from the day or take a warm bath to relax your muscles. There’s always the option of drinking chamomile tea, a very commonly known sleep aid. Sleep prep doesn’t only have to take place before you go to bed either. Studies have shown that what you do all day long can affect how well you sleep. Get a good work out in or try drinking less caffeine. You can also add cherry juice into your diet, studies have shown that it will help you sleep better because of the natural supply of melatonin, most commonly known to aid in sleep. Read more on Prevention.
4. Eliminate cheat days in your sleep workout
We all have those nights that average 5 hours of sleep instead of the 7-9 hours we know we need. These are like cheat days in the sense that we didn’t provide our body with what it needed, just like eating a few slices of pizza. If we want to wake up well rested, there’s no room for a cheat day. Simply put, our bodies work better in a routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time will help to regulate that internal alarm clock. If you absolutely need to cheat, try some tried and true sleep hacks to get through the day.
5. Set a playlist to workout/sleep to
Do you need silence when falling asleep? Do you need the TV on or white noise? Whatever is going to help relax your mind and help you catch some much needed rest, add it to your playlist. White noise is a common sound that can be created by using a fan, humidifier or even a sound machine. Personally, I can’t sleep without the sound of my fan running. I’ve actually recorded the sound for myself so that even when I’m miles away from home, it’s like I never left. This will reduce the chance of waking up from a noisy neighborhood or sudden clap of thunder. The National Sleep Foundation has some good info on this.
Next time you go online and to plan a new workout routine, stop and think about how well you’re sleeping. And consider planning a new sleep routine first so that you have the energy you need to get you through that workout.