Hmm, that sounds like a familiar refrain. I used to make the same excuses when I was a busy graduate student working two jobs, surely, that was excuse enough not to schlep it over to the gym for even one yoga class a week. Frankly, it wasn’t a priority and talking about it was enough to trigger my defenses. The same goes for sleep. We are all busy, and we get quite defensive about our sleep, because, why would we sleep if we can work out or eat healthy?
Honestly, sometimes the easiest answer is the one we resist the most. Sleep is the one healthy thing you can do which require no real effort, but it does require planning- yet many of us would rather print a 30-day ab workout challenge and resign ourselves to the hardest path. Sleep should coincide with your other healthy habits, so if you feel you’re giving up and copping out, I give you permission to allow yourself time to rest. There you go.
If you’d like to learn how to get better sleep, let’s take a minute to treat yo’self and indulge in the most fun of the health habits, in my opinion- sleep.
Most of us buy new pillows when the existing ones are ready to be tossed. Like your mattress, pillows can harbor allergens which impact your sleep. Invest in a good allergen reducing mattress cover and new pillows every so often- not just when they’re so flat and worn out you can’t stand it.
If you’re waking up with headaches, it could be a sign of allergens, but it can also mean you aren’t using the right kind of pillow for your needs. I’m a stomach sleeper, so I found several types of pillow styles at Kohl’s that would fit my needs. If you have a partner, you can buy an “all positions” type pillow to accommodate both. I’d also recommend investing in some new sheets- it makes bed time extra awesome!
I snagged this gorgeous pitcher from Kohl’s Food Network collection. Available in-store.
When I was younger, I used to wake up in the middle of the night with leg cramps so bad, they would still hurt the next day. This can be a sign of a potassium deficiency, but chances are, water could help. As I started marathon training in the hot summer months, the problem came back with a vengeance as my hydration needs changed. When I’ve had to wean myself off sodas, I would throw some citrus slices into a pitcher to infuse the flavors- but mint, cucumber or berries is delicious as well!
My other tip in terms of hydration, is to make sure you are strategic about your hydration. It’s one thing to simply get enough water, but if you’re chugging water to meet your minimums at the end of the day- you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom…which sort of defeats the purpose of hydrating properly for better sleep. Hydrate often, hydrate early.
If your night time ritual consists of being up so long you’re dog tired (resembling my pug Matilda here) and pass out, you’re probably sensing you’re not getting to bed early enough. If you’re keeping your brain stimulated with smart phones, tv, phone calls, and chores around the house- your brain isn’t getting the signal that it’s time to give into fatigue instead of powering through it.
If you are trying to get to bed earlier- just as you schedule your exercise, you’ll need to schedule your wind-down time. Keep a pen and pad near your bed, for any of those “urgent messages” our brain seems to rally when we’re attempting to wind down. You know the kind- right as your head hits the pillow, you start worrying about a bill you need to pay or an errand you absolutely cannot forget about, take a minute to nip these distractions in the bud, write them down and give your brain permission to stop processing. This has helped me tremendously! I would recommend popping these reminders into your phone, but if you start surfing your Instagram feed afterwards, you’ve missed the point.
Getting more sleep can be tough, especially if we’re night owls and not in the tribe of “pesky annoying morning people.” If you find your brain activity runs late into the night and you can’t seem to shut down on time, set up a system of rewards to make your mornings a wee-bit easier as you adjust.
If you can squeeze in some time for light yoga in the morning, or a special coffee set to brew on a timer will entice you out of bed- it might somewhat less painful to get out of bed. In the cold winter months, I find I stay up later, and want to sleep in since the dark and cold days mess with me. The worst though, is getting up on a cold morning and having to brave the day in the cold and get ready- so I usually stay up way too late procrastinating on the inevitable. To combat this, I keep a very small heater near my bed. I set my alarm 5 minutes ahead of time, cue the heater and hit snooze…by the time my normal wake up time arrives, I hate life a lot less! It’s helped me adjust my sleep patterns. Small hacks make big changes! Reward yourself for getting ahold of your sleep patterns.
This spring, we are partnering with Kohl’s on my journey to live a happier, healthier life! Join me as we explore fitness and wellness together and#MakeYourMove for healthier beginnings in 2015!
Follow the Kohl’s #MakeYourMove campaign on social media, Facebook & Twitter to see how others are tracking their goals and making healthier choices together this year. Join us for a healthy new year together.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.