The Frequent Flyer Challenge has officially kicked off and we are so excited to see all of your shining faces in the studio as we ramp up for the holiday season. Each week for the next four weeks we will highlight a theme to set you up for success through one of the busiest times of the year. This first week we are talking about the importance of SLEEP.
Sleep has been a tricky one for me as I do not function well on little snooze time. However, I also have the worst FOMO (fear of missing out) of anyone on this earth. I have always had roommates or house mates and I used to insist on being the last one up each night and the first one up each morning… I know, it was actually a little crazy. BUT, as you can assume this really affected my sleep time and my sleep quality. I also really struggled to “turn off” when I did go to bed each night. If I tried to go to bed at a “reasonable” time, I still was not falling asleep until it was way beyond my recommended sleep need. This was very frustrating. As a college athlete and naturally active person, I needed all that rest and was severely limiting myself, in turn greatly impacting my performance. I knew I could not sustain this pattern and continue to develop as an athlete and ultimately function in everyday life.
I started doing some digging and found I was the not the only one struggling with sleep. Turns out, sleep deprivation has become a true public health epidemic and the effects are not minor. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine lack of quality sleep not only affects your performance but also your mood and overall health. Some of most common effects of sleep debt include:
Irritability, Lack of motivation, anxiety, symptoms of depression
Lack of concentration, attention deficits, longer reaction times, distractibility, lack of energy, fatigue, restlessness, lack of coordination, poor decisions, increased errors, and forgetfulness
Increased risk of these medical conditions: High blood pressure, heart attack, obesity, diabetes
While there are circumstances and variables in life that we have no control over, sleep is one that affects many aspects of our health and well being that we can manage. So naturally, I turned in to my obsessive, control freak tendencies and started to make some changes. They were small at first, but now my sleep routine is set in stone and I prioritize getting a solid 8-9 hours every night. There are many techniques and strategies to help improve sleep, but they can seem overwhelming causing more stress and frustration. Break it down. Try implement one change at a time and be patient with the process. It isn’t always a quick fix, but you will notice such a difference things start to stick and your sleep becomes longer and more restful.
This week, try and get the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep and see what happens. You'll likely be shocked at how amazing you feel. Below is my current evening routine that has allowed me to relax, unwind and power down each night.
- Drink a glass of herbal tea with a magnesium supplement
- Set alarm for the next morning before I even get in bed
- Rinse off in warm, NOT hot shower
- I don’t turn my ceiling lights on, just the nightstand lamp
- Fill diffuser with water and essential oils/ambient light
- Pull shades
- Keep room temperature no warmer than 68 degrees
- No tight clothing
- Double check alarm before setting to Do Not Disturb mode and plugging in on nightstand across the room
- Once in bed, I start flat on my back and take a quick body scan from head to toe before turning my attention to my breath. I have found this is the only thing that turns my mind off and something I can keep going back to as it starts to wander
- Continuous deep inhale breathing through nose for 4 seconds, and long exhale through mouth for 8 seconds.
All Hail the Treadmighty,