Did you know that according to the National Sleep Foundation:
- Man is the only mammal that willingly delays sleep.
- One of the primary causes of excessive sleepiness among Americans is self-imposed sleep deprivation.
- People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have bigger appetites due to the fact that their leptin levels (leptin is an appetite-regulating hormone) fall, promoting appetite increase.
As a fitness trainer, I've found that a good night sleep is the key to success with healthy living. Most people, even if they're in their bed for the recommend amount of sleep each night, are not getting the proper amount of rest each night. And rest is what we need to function at our highest level.
For this article I want to share one of the most powerful, and simple tips I know for getting a good night’s rest. In my book I break down the other four tips if you want to read further into it after this article. For now, here is the tip I would love to see everyone implement in their daily routine:
Go screen free one hour before bed:
This is crucial for so many reasons. The top reason is to calm your mind. There is nothing worse for my night's sleep than leaning over and grabbing my phone for one last look before I go to sleep. I typically end up seeing an email or notification on social media. Most times in that moment I make the decision to check the new email or notification and I regret it. My mind starts racing with planning, problem solving, or worrying and I have just lost some precious rest time.
When we make the decision to start looking at our phone, TV, or laptop screens in bed instead of focusing on resting, our serotonin levels are increasing due to the light on the screen (not including the psychological impact of what we are looking at). When this happens, melatonin (the sleep hormone) is delayed for up to three hours. This can explain why we can check our phones before bed, roll over, fall asleep, and wake up feeling like we need more rest. When our melatonin is low it makes getting a quality night sleep next to impossible.
Set an alarm on your phone (right now) for one hour before you plan on going to bed. Then, put your phone on DO NOT DISTURB when that alarm goes off, and plan on being screen free until bed. Develop the habit of doing this and you will be on your way to reaping the reward of a quality night sleep!
Cody Bobay, NASM CPT, PES, CES