Want more energy during the day and more restful sleep at night? Then you’re going to love this. The secret to getting better results from your exercise and nutrition is getting more sleep. The secret to getting more sleep lies in your exercise and nutrition. I won’t neglect the importance of some specific bedtime habits – sleep hygiene, if you will – habits that also contribute. If you haven’t optimized your plan to be an overnight success during the day, though, waiting until the hour before bed to think about your sleep may not get you the restful beauty sleep you want.
I often work with clients who list weight loss, bone density, energy, or knowing what to do as their top goals. I also work with clients whose goals are better sleep, even before they know their goals are better sleep. You see, sleep is the missing link for your optimal everything. Skin, energy, digestion, appetite, muscle definition, fat burning, stress relief. Need I go on? Sleep should be looking pretty sexy about right now. Oh, and that is an added perk too. Too tired, honey, may no longer be a part of your vocabulary.
Just as there is an exercise and nutrition prescription for weight loss, bone density, or improving balance, there is one for sleep. Below I share nine tips for all day energy that lead you into all night recovery, rinse and repeat.
- Wake at the same time every day. There’s no sleeping in. Your biological clock needs consistency. So, if your weekday schedule dictates you have to get up at a specific time, then your weekend schedule needs to be the same.
- Get exposure to sunlight for 15 minutes first thing every day. If it’s o’dark hundred when you have to wake, turn the lights on and get intimate with them. You are already helping to increase melatonin production that boosts sleep by doing this. Read the paper, have your coffee, or meditate on the deck. You might want to invest in a light box if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and live in the northern hemisphere.
- Do your intense exercise early in the day. This trick works with your stress hormones rather than against them. Understandably, that may not be possible for you, but when it is it’s worth it. Shift your calming, relaxing movement to later in the day.
- Fuel your morning and your fat burning with 35 grams of protein for breakfast. Yes, shakes make that easier. If you’re open to having lunch or dinner for breakfast, that works too. Most of us get breakfast wrong. Eating a couple eggs, or cereals and toast not only don’t reach the level of protein you want, but provide too many carbohydrates at a time you don’t need them. Read on to learn why.
- Drink plenty of water between meals. Keep your water intake between meals so you don’t interrupt digestion of your meals. Drink to clear urine. Gradually increase your water intake if it’s lower than 6-8 glasses. Your body will adapt best with 1/2 cup more daily for a week before you increase again than it will by just flooding your system to reach the daily quota. For most people ideal is somewhere between 6 and 10 cups a day. Test yourself. Skin, digestion, and energy will all improve when you’re at your optimal intake.
- At lunch and dinner include 25-30 grams of protein along with plenty of veggies and well-targeted carbohydrates in an increasing amount during the day. That is, some at breakfast, more at lunch, and the most at dinner. Not intuitive, right? You’re very likely doing the opposite and some “expert” may have told you to do it that way. To balance your hormones if stress is high and or sleep is lower than you need it to be, you want more carbohydrates at night in order to get a good night’s sleep. If you sleep well, you’ll have fewer cravings and lose weight and gain energy easier.
- Late day exercise should be light. It can include a leisurely walk outdoors, stretching, or yoga. Keep it light and relaxation-enhancing rather than stimulating.
- Start your bedtime routine about 90 minutes before lights out. Shut off the screens. Yes, all of them. TV may be the one exception but if you’re really sleep deprived or have insomnia, even that. Read, journal, take a bath. What works is individual to you so experiment but then set a regular routine.
- Lights out at the same time each night. Honor heavy eyelids and yawning. If you wake at the same time daily, your body will begin to tell you when to go to sleep so you can get what you need. Some of us need nine hours, some only six-and-a-half. If you need more sleep, do everything you can to guard it. In You Still Got It, Girl! I share a sleep needs test. Sleep is the gatekeeper to slowing the clock, turing up the metabolism, and revving up your energy all day tomorrow.
I’d love to hear from you. Is sleep a problem for you? Can you connect low sleep to weight you don’t want or energy you lack?