Fitness Foolishness!

7 Sleep hacks: Sleep your way to a better body

Muscles are made in the bedroom. 😉

Recovery is essential to getting the best out of your workouts. By allowing your body to repair, you will reap the rewards of all the time you sowed in the gym.The easiest stage to getting muscles is sleeping your way to definition.  To repair the muscle tissue you destroyed in the gym you need adequate rest which will in turn grow your muscles.

Bad sleep can make you fat! Lack of quality sleep has been shown to increase impulse eating, increase appetite, slow your metabolism and weaken the immune system (which means less exercise time noo). However if you achieve 8-10 hours of sleep you can prevent weight gain by decreasing your cortisol levels.

Sleep is also essential for better brain function. It is the simplest way to improve your health because you literally have to do nothing but just lay there. However many people have difficulty achieving restful sleep. Our life is cluttered with stress, technology and social media, enemies of restful sleep. Here are some natural methods I use to get to get better sleep.

1) Peppermint tea an hour or so before bed

My first-world pet peeve is when I visit a coffee shop and they only have mint tea instead of peppermint, because it is just not the same!

Peppermint tea is naturally caffeine free and contains menthol which helps to relax your muscles and facilitate quality sleep.

I personally do not like the taste of chamomile tea however both chamomile and peppermint tea have calmative properties so pick one that chooses your taste buds. I also love drinking peppermint tea to sooth digestive issues and reduce bloating so would definitely recommend stocking up on this multi-purpose herb.

2) Lavender scent

Purple (of all types and shades) is my favourite colour. Aside from being a pretty colour and a pleasant fragrance, the lavender plant is an effective analgesic too.  Lavender can affect your nervous system  by lowering your heart rate and decreasing stress. The chemicals that lavender oil is composed of are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream so I’d recommend going with the age old advice of a few drops on your pillow .

4) Turn out the lights asap

This establishes in my mind that bed time is coming. And you can complete the next tip in the dark too.

3) Bed yoga

Spending just a few minutes before bed completing simple yoga sequence is a perfect way to relieve stress and calm down.

And the ability to do it in bed means that you don’t need to worry about not having enough space or moving from a comfy location.

My favourites are:

Child’s pose. I initially learned it from Shaun T in his Insanity workout (sorry any offended yogis) and use it all the time at the end of classes or client sessions.

Eagle Twist. I love using this to relieve a tight back.

Corpse Pose. This is basically a sleeping position.  And the easily yoga pose you could hope to do.

4) Journalling

If I have a lot on my mind that I’m worried about it can often swirl around in my head and prevent me from relaxing and sleeping. I find that the act of writing down my stresses helps to release the pent up worries.  I then look at these the next day figure out an action plan to deal with them.

5)  Establish a bed time routine that works for you

Doing the same thing every night to prepare and let your body know its time to start shutting down could help.

This could look like:

9pm – Drinking peppermint tea while watching Pretty Little Liars on Netflix.

10pm – Finishing the show, bed prep (make up removal, brushing teeth etc.), putting lavender oil on your pillow.

10:30pm – Doing bed yoga.

11pm – Closing your eyes.

6) Establishing the purpose of your room

Do you work, eat and sleep in your room? STOP IT! Create another space to work and use your bed for rest. Stop your mind from associating your place of rest with place of stress/work.

 

Things I didn’t include (but may work for you):

  • Reading a book: I find that sometimes you can stay up all night reading a good book and stimulating your imagination so its not always a failsafe to sleep unless the book is super boring.
  • Night-time bath: Some people find bubble baths or night showers are relaxing. I find that a late night shower or bath makes me more alert.
  • Late night workout: Some people find that a late night session tires them out and enables them to fall straight asleep. I find that working out after 9pm wakes me up.