Health and fitness-minded people put a lot of effort into their workouts and their diets, but many overlook the importance of sleep. Good sleep is essential to good health: it regulates metabolism and immune function and is vital to the learning process. If you take the necessary steps to prepare for a workout – from stretching to fueling up on high-quality supplements – you should put the same effort into preparing for a good night’s sleep.
Our bodies love routine. Think about it: when you first started going for a morning run, it seemed like an unbearable chore; now, you don’t feel like yourself without one. The same goes for sleep – a healthy bedtime routine will prepare your body for a night of regeneration and ensure you’re ready to go in the morning.
For those of us that exercise regularly, maintaining a consistent workout schedule will ensure our bodies aren’t confronted with excess energy at bedtime. Likewise, it’s important to avoid unhealthy, sugar-, fat-, or caffeine-rich foods prior to sleep. These can cause unnecessary energy spikes that make falling asleep a frustrating ordeal.
The same even goes for high-quality supplements like the ones we produce at Paleoethics. Our Surge pre-workout energizer is great leading up to the first WOD of the day, but shouldn’t be used in the hours before bed.
Try to keep your evenings as regimented as possible. Make a concerted effort to wind down: have a cup of tea or do some yoga or light stretching. If you take the same steps every night your body will recognize that its work is done and it’s time to shut down.
As we’ve mentioned before in this blog post, our bodies are complex ecosystems in which everything is connected. The way we spend our day will affect the sleep we get at the end of it.
The year is 2018, and we’re all shackled to our electronic devices. Checking notifications is our last chore of the night and our first instinct in the morning.
While this behaviour is less than ideal, banning smartphones and Apple Watches from the bedroom isn’t always realistic and may not be necessary. As Oxford University neuroscientist Russell Foster recently told Scientific American, a quick glance at Twitter before bed may be less harmful to your sleep than a visit to the bathroom.
“Bright light has a basic alerting effect on the brain, and the amount of light these portable electronic devices give off is pretty low,” Foster said. “Ironically, the last thing most of us do before getting in bed is to stand in a massively illuminated bathroom while brushing your teeth.”
The lesson? Reduce the brightness of the screens you use around bedtime, limit pre-bed smartphone use, and install a dimmer in the bathroom.
After a long day or work and exercise, it shouldn’t take more than a few pages of a good book to reduce stress and prepare your mind for sleep. In 2009, The Telegraph reported that “even six minutes [of reading] can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds.”
When you add reading to your bedtime routine, picking up your book will be the final indication to your body that it’s time to turn out the lights. Physical books are also a great way to manage dependence on digital screens.
At Paleoethics, we aim to support our customers’ fitness goals by producing high-quality supplements and providing information and resources that contribute to healthier lives.