Time to check in on how you made out with last week’s challenges! If you haven’t already done it, take a moment to reflect on your notes from last week whether mental or physically written. Now assess your progress or shortcomings in the process. Did you make time by:
• Identifying periods in your day wherein you have some flexibility to create time for yourself
• Filling the time, even if it was as brief as 5-10 mins between responsibilities, with something that will contribute to you reaching your goals
• Creating time by altering your sleep/wake schedule
If you succeeded in making this life change last week, keep pushing to make even more time for yourself this week (and keep reading as this week’s challenges will help you level up a notch with this). The key is to make this practice a habit – habits take time to form. Make time for it!
If you missed the mark on last week’s challenge, this is your time to identify your weaknesses and pinpoint what will help you make it happen this week! Again, make time for making time!
Last week, the objective was to make time and fill it with physical action toward your goals. Whether is was meal prep or getting in an effective workout, you were making progress on yourself in the face of any demands placed on you by others or life’s responsibilities. Now coming back into this present moment, I want you to understand the importance of making time for yourself not just to put in the physical work toward reaching your goals, but to do the very thing that keeps you going – rest and recover! It may seem counterintuitive to “sleep” on your goals however, without adequate sleep the body cannot recover, and without recovery you will without a doubt find yourself in the vicious cycle of failure and defeat that comes with digressing or even plateauing with your progress. It isn’t enough to just rest, you need to recover. Recovery is in your hands and its foundation is a great night’s sleep. But with all the demands and stressors we face in a day it may seem like the impossible to achieve proper sleep hygiene. Guess what – I set you up for it… Just like you made time for physical work last week, you need to make time for the work your body does on the back end to fuel that physical work and get ahead on your goals. If you’re reading this and happen to be one of the many who think you can function off the measly 4 or so hours of sleep (recommended is 7-8) you get at night check this out, here are a few of the biggest reasons to focus on improving your sleep and recovery efforts:
• During sleep, your body regenerates itself by way of repairing and growing muscle tissue and balancing hormones that are critical to our wake state functioning.
• Sleep debt contributes to insulin resistance – this is why you may have heard it is harder for the sleep deprived to lose fat. This is important as the circadian timing system influences bacteria in our guts – poor gut health can lead to metabolic syndrome which can make way for obesity and conditions such as diabetes.
• The obvious side effects and self-sabotaging results due to lack of sleep – poor concentration, physical fatigue and overall weakness. I know you already know where this takes you… compromised immune functioning, illness, lackluster performance in physical activity. A seemingly neverending cycle.
Self-care (making time for yourself to relax) is another important factor that contributes to recovery, and believe it or not, making time for yourself goes hand in hand with increasing your chances at better sleep.
Here’s the challenge!
• First and foremost, as childish as it may sound to us adults, try to set a bedtime. It may vary from one day to the next but do it. Just as you made time last week for work, you’re making time this week for sleep as well.
• Bonus Challenge! Go to sleep 15 mins prior to the time you set… if you do this and give yourself the added sleep, that 15 mins could equate to a whole extra night sleep in 30 days! Approximately 7 hrs if you stick to it.
• Find a bedtime ritual that triggers your mind to prepare for sleep. It can be as simple as washing up or taking a warm shower/bath. Whatever it is, make it your bedtime thing! I save my foam rolling for my bedtime ritual. Not only does it kickstart my body’s recovery, but it loosens me up and takes me from that fight or flight response my body operates in as a highly active person under a lot of physical and mental stress.
• Cut the tv, computer, or phone (anything with a lit screen for that matter) time within the hour before you’re set to fall asleep. This will help not only block out things that rev the mind up (texts, emails, demands, etc.) but you’ll cut down on the light that affects our melatonin (sleep hormone) production.
• Lastly, when it’s finally time to lay down, don’t stress the task of getting a good night’s sleep. Instead, focus on your breath (rhythmic, deep breaths) and turn off any negative chatter or hype in your brain by letting your thoughts drift off.
Improving your sleep hygiene doesn’t happen overnight – but understand that even just a little improvement in this area can lead to incredible change in your overall functioning. Like everything else I ask you to do, stay diligent! Reflect and react daily on how you can improve! I also want you to keep tabs on how your energy levels are affected by the quality of sleep you get. You’re going to feel better, do better, and you’re going to be your best as a result!
Start tonight – get your extra 15 mins in. Be sure to check back in at the end of the week so we can get you going on the next challenge embracing the good stress and eliminating the bad to feel better and look your best.