We’ll be posting a new challenge every day leading up to summer! Follow along here on the blog, or using this calendar.
We’ve written before about the importance of rest days. But just because you’re taking a rest day doesn’t mean you need to take the entire day off.
So today’s challenge is: Reset your bedtime routine. Like everything in our #SummerStrong challenge, the goal is to set healthy, sustainable habits for yourself moving forward. So once you find what works for you, keep it up!
It’s also important to remember that sleep, stress, and weight are correlated. Managing stress helps you sleep better, and sleeping better gives you more energy so you’re not too tired to hit the gym.
To help you make conscious decisions about getting a better night’s sleep, we’ve asked our sleep expert Dr. Kelly Glazer-Baron to share tips on creating good bedtime habits:
Working, stressing, milling around right up until you hop into bed can make it difficult to fall asleep. Everyone needs a buffer between the stress of the day and falling asleep. Give yourself at least 45 minutes before bed to transition by engaging in a quiet and relaxing activity. You may enjoy reading, watching some TV, listening to music or meditating.
If you are in the category of “chronically sleep deprived,” setting a goal for a consistent bedtime can help you get a little closer to your sleep goal. Set a reminder for when you want to get into bed and plan your evening accordingly. Even if you getting bed 15 – 20 minutes earlier each night, it would add up to about 2 hours more sleep per week.
If you are someone who has difficulty falling asleep, getting into bed too early can actually exacerbate insomnia. If you get into bed when you are not sleepy, you may have more frustration because you are not biologically ready to sleep at that time even though you feel exhausted.
It’s dark, it’s quiet and you’re awake. There’s nothing to do except plan and worry. Can you avoid it? It may take some work, but you can learn to refocus your thoughts at night. Save the night time for rest and quiet. There’s usually not much you can do in the middle of the night anyways. Most problems will be there in the morning and they are easier to deal with a good night of sleep. Research has demonstrated that sleep improves learning, emotional processing and problem solving. So there is some truth to the adage “sleep on it”.
If you can’t sleep at night, the light from electronics can suppress the sleep promoting hormone melatonin. In addition, checking your email at night can add to worry and stress, which you are better off saving for the daytime.
In the middle of the night, getting out of bed can be helpful for reducing middle of the night awakenings. Seriously, in freezing cold weather, it’s the last thing someone wants to do. But, laying in bed and thinking only gives you practice being awake in bed. Some people even develop “conditioned arousal” a.k.a. a worry habit in bed at night. If you are awake for more than 15-20 minutes, get out of bed and do something else until you feel sleepy again.
So sweet dreams, Fitbit Friends. And let us know if you notice your sleep graphs improving in the comments, or using #30DaysToSummerFit!