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Improve your SLEEP QUALITY with these STRATEGIES

Hello! I hope you are feeling very well, in today's article we will talk about rest.

Because it is vital, very important, essential to have a life in which we can function properly.

What we do not rest at night we stop living during the day, I am convinced of this.

And I would like to start with a different perspective of the concepts: If instead of saying: I'm going to sleep, we started saying: I'm going to rest, perhaps our perspective would change and we would begin to give it the importance it deserves, because a life without a good rest is not a life.

Rest is just as important as nutrition and exercise when it comes to improving health, performance, and body composition. Everything from decision making, proper digestion, and performance in our daily activities largely depends on having good quality sleep. Resting well helps our body and mind recover, keeping us happy, mentally focused and healthy.

On the other hand, not resting at night, not sleeping, makes it more difficult to stay in shape, makes it more difficult to gain muscle mass, alters hormones, ages us faster, increases the risk of chronic diseases, drains our IQ and completely alters our well-being, I think those are enough reasons to do something about it, don't you think?

You may not be able to sleep more hours than you are already sleeping, but I have no doubt that you can rest better in those hours that you sleep, that is, increase their quality and that depends on us. If you want to do something, YOU CAN, like almost everything in life.

I'm going to mention some simple strategies that can help you get the high-quality, restful sleep that your body and mind deserve. There are many more but I will focus on those that I believe can have the greatest impact:

Maintain a regular schedule. Our body loves regularity. Try to go to sleep at the same time and get up at the same time every day. This is little by little, a process.

Let's say you're someone who gets up early and you want to get up at 6:00 am.

Ok, now count the hours you are currently sleeping (not the hours you would like, but the hours you are currently sleeping). If you now sleep 6 hours a night and want to get up at 6:00 am, then count backwards to 12: 00 am.

Finally it takes away an extra half hour. After all, you must give yourself the opportunity to fall asleep.

In this example your bedtime would be 11:30 pm. Not before. Not after.

Now, write the following on a piece of paper:

* Your bedtime (the approximate time you will fall asleep)

* Your bedtime (when to go to bed)

* Your wake up time (when to get up)

Look at the numbers and commit to them.

After 1 or two weeks of doing this exercise you can change your bedtime by 15 to 30 minutes. This increases your sleeping window. So if your bedtime was 11:30 pm, then maybe it's time to go to bed at 11:00 pm (only after you've gone to bed at 11:30 pm for a week or two). Do not change your wake-up time. That's your constant. Don't change that.

Gradually, as the weeks progress, you can repeat this exercise to increase your earliest bedtime per week by 15 to 30 minutes.

Do this exercise and modifications until you feel rested when you wake up and throughout the day. Because if you feel rested you probably are.

If you're consistent, your body will know when to release calming hormones before bed and stimulating hormones to help you wake up. Which will cause you to feel sleepy when it's time to go to bed and you'll wake up refreshed, often without needing an alarm. However, when you are irregular you deviate from your rhythm. The effect is the same as traveling across time zones. Your brain doesn't know the difference. Juggling bedtime and waking up means you're juggling your brain. As a result, your recovery will not be as efficient. It's like jet lag, but without the benefit of travel.

Create a nightly routine that tells your body that you're ready for sleep. We cannot go from “on” to “off” in a few minutes. Our body needs transition time and environmental cues to relax. So the first step to better rest is to create a nighttime routine that tells your body that you're getting ready for sleep. Over time, if you are consistent with your routine, your body will begin the process of reducing energy automatically.

Keep your caffeine and alcohol intake moderate. Genuinely restful sleep comes from deep sleep. Although it may seem like alcohol is relaxing, and perhaps makes you fall asleep faster, it is not restful sleep. You will feel tired even if you timed your hours. You can still enjoy 1 or 2 drinks at dinner but more than 1 or 2 drinks a night can interfere with sound sleep just like caffeine because when we want to sleep being tired is a good thing and coffee works against that. Once you have a cup it takes many hours before the caffeine leaves your body. So I recommend limiting alcohol and cutting back on caffeine after 2 pm. Otherwise maybe you can "sleep" for 7 hours, but your sleep will not be of high quality.

Empty your brain. At night take a few minutes to write a list of things you have to do the next day: emails you need to send or answer, calls you have to make, project ideas, creative thoughts, etc. whatever you're thinking. This will prevent what has happened to all of us: Staring at the ceiling, long after lights out, obsessing over all the things we're supposed to do tomorrow, pacing around and getting more and more stressed.

Please: Turn off all electronic devices. Turn off their electronic devices at least 1 hour before bedtime. Digital devices stimulate our brain with light, noise, and mental demands. Disconnect from all screens (televisions, computers, cell phones, tablets) everything that involves a screen. I could give you app recommendations to reduce blue light and lower the color temperature of the screen at night. However, I invite you to disconnect from all that, life is much more beautiful without a cell phone in hand.

Do relaxing activities before bed. Ask yourself what de-stresses and relaxes me? Do that. This could include for example: Gentle stretching, praying, meditating, yoga, deep breathing, or even a slow walk around the block getting fresh air. Just 5 to 15 minutes can release tension and activate calming chemicals.

Go to bed before 12 pm. This is quite interesting, some sleep experts say that because of the way our natural circadian rhythms work, every hour of sleep before 12 pm is equivalent to two hours after. Ufff amazing right? When I first read this I found it so shocking that I did more research on the subject and many experts agree on this. I'm not entirely sure if it's true or not, but going to bed early will certainly do us a lot of good. Staying up all night is one of the habits that take a lot from us and give us very little. And the vast majority of people who stay up all night is because they are doing an infinite scroll on social networks, which gives us absolutely nothing. But remember this is a gradual process. Start with the exercise that I left you at the beginning and little by little go to bed earlier.

Take a hot water bath. Hot-warm water before going to bed can help us relax and de-stress, which is key to falling asleep.

Keep your room as dark as possible. Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain that tells the body that it is time to sleep. Making the room as dark as possible will maximize melatonin production. Therefore I recommend if it is possible to acquire some dark curtains and use dim light at night, for example low voltage bulbs in your room and keep the light as dim as possible in the hour before you are due to go to bed.

Create a relaxing sleeping area that is calm and clutter free. Make sure your bedroom is organized and calm. Seeing clothes thrown on the floor or cables tangled or furniture cluttered with things can affect your ability to relax.

When you wake up, get moving immediately. Put your feet on the floor the moment you wake up. This is extremely useful. When your alarm goes off, one of the worst things you can do is hit the snooze button. When the alarm goes off just sit down and put your feet on the ground. And start walking even if it's shuffling towards the bathroom or anywhere other than your bed. There is something magical about movement that speeds up the awakening process.

When you wake up expose yourself to more light. This will stop melatonin production and speed up the awakening process. When you're outside in daylight you regulate your body's biological clock, and this can make it easier to sleep at night. The sooner you expose yourself, preferably half an hour at a time, the more likely you are to feel sleepy by nightfall. So go outside for half an hour in the daylight from now on, even if it's cloudy. And if you get up very early when there is still no natural light, turn on spotlights and illuminate your space and when dawn gets natural light.

Exercise during the day. Go to the gym.  A brisk walk. Run. Everything counts. Aim for half an hour. If you can't get that half hour in a row, cut it into thirds of 10 minutes or half with 15 minutes each. Any movement, no matter how brief, is worth something.

I sincerely hope this helps you, choose one of these habits, one at a time and when you have it, implement another. These types of adjustments can be difficult. You might think that you will fail before you succeed. That's not only okay, it's perfectly natural. It's the best way to learn. Failure isn't even the right word for it. It's training, and training takes time. You will stumble but you will get back up, and the one thing you shouldn't be is to be hard on yourself.

If you need help implementing these strategies, remember that the PERFITNESS team is here to support you, have a great day!


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