For those that are just joining us on the healthy habit chalenges, please feel free to jump in on any week. We do encourage you to go back to the previous Healthy Habits and bring them into your life. Our objective is to get people building some habits that will contrbute to over all wellness and help with goals during the Nutrition Challenge we will be running mid January.
Dr. Gagné and I sat down for a coffee and a chat last week and recorded a video so we could release this healthy habit to you on Boxing Day, yet somehow I deleted to video and so here we are, two days late, no video but charging ahead anyway!
The focus to add to your health habits is a sleep goal: 8 hrs per night.
We know, this one is hard for most people because you often feel like you are doing just fine on you 5-6hrs a night or you think you simply don’t have time to get more sleep in. Are you still trying to fit into those jeans you bought on sale as motivation? Are you battling a building list of injuries, being under the weather and general lack of thriving? Would you actually rather watch Netflix than “watch Netflix”? Are you just a clumsy person? You might just need more sleep!
Play along with us and strive for 8hrs of sleep a night, you might love the results!
You might currently only be sleeping 6 hrs a night or less and find the 8hr challenge daunting. Start by adding 30mins over the span of a week or two building up to an 8hr sleep. Simply adding 3mins a night will get you there and feel less daunting. Naps can count towards the cumulative time as well if this is a struggle for you but make the long term life goal to get the 8hrs in one shot.
Let us start with WHY
Research shows that less than 8 hrs of sleep per night(or day of you work shifts) will have a negative impact on the following:
- Decision making
- Recovery Process
- Sex Drive
- Our Children’s sleep habits
Dr. Gagné had a wonderfully scientifically explanation for you (the video was awesome!) but my layman’s language translates it very simply for you like this: Sleep deprivation impacts your hormone balance and this leads to the body having to borrow from a “line of credit” and if you are consistently short changing your sleep, you are driving yourself deeper into debt. Down the road this leads to bankruptcy in the body. Bankruptcy takes a long time to recover from people!
Here’s HOW to create a healthy sleep environment:
Light, get rid of it!
Your room should have the ability to be total darkness when sleeping. Invest in blackout blinds. Those little lights on the TV, smoke detector, alarm clock, charging cell phone, computer or other electronics have blue light that disrupts your melatonin production. Take the devices out of the bedroom and cover up the nonnegotiable ones with tape, this will help your sleep quality and your love life!
BONUS CHALLENGE: stop all screen time 60mins before bed
Keeping the temperature cool but comfortable in your room will help you stay asleep. Use blankets that keep you warm but not hot. It might feel chilly getting into bed but with the right blankets you will warm up soon enough and stay comfortable all night.
Set a bedtime to serve 8hrs of sleeping time!
Something that Dr. Gagné hears often is that parents get the kids off to bed and they end up staying up past what they intend because it’s “me” time and that usually consists of getting ready for the next day (laundry, kitchen tidy, making lunches etc) followed by sitting down to watch some TV and getting caught in the loop of repeat episodes. I don’t even have a kid at home anymore and I get caught in this trap! Use your phone or your fitness tracker to set a bed time reminder and commit to honoring it. Don’t treat it like the alarm clock and hit snooze repeatedly. Have your bedtime reminder pop up 60 mins before bed. Turn off the TV/computer/social media scrolling, get ready for bed and then read a book, meditate, do breathing exercises, listen to relaxing music or do a body scan. With the number of apps on the market these days it’s easy to find one that works best for you.
Trouble shooting tools
Phone in the bedroom – use airplane mode or I personally use Do Not Disturb and Night Shift(blue light adjustment) to customise my phone. I don’t have a landline and want my phone in my bedroom incase I get an emergency phone call regarding family or the gym. I also use my phone as my alarm clock. So using these features I can silence all alerts after 9:30pm except phone calls. I leave all calls on because if you’re calling me past 10pm I’m assuming it’s an emergency. You can have it specifically filter for certain contacts or enable the repeated calls, a second call from the same within 3 mins will not be silenced. Anyone sending emails or texts past then will not get a reply until the next day and that’s ok.
Waking with a racing mind
Start with slow breathing and meditation. Having your body scan app ready to go with headphones is an option(make sure your phone is set up with Do Not Disturb and Night Shift for minimal disruption.
But I NEED to watch TV to fall asleep!
No you don’t. You like to watch TV to fall asleep. Stop it. Do any of the previously mentioned activities or find something else relaxing to do… Just stop with the TV. Did we mention less TV will be beneficial to your love life for several reasons?
Sleep masks and ear plugs. Seriously. If your partner honestly can’t help disrupting your sleep then use these tools.
White noise. We are doing some more research into the kind of noise because there is some talk of having the right kind of white noise frequency. Overall I find my air purifier blocks out most things that would wake me up as a light sleeper.
Well… Perhaps if you can create optimal sleep hygiene for them they will sleep better too?? I know this is the toughest one to troubleshoot. Do your best to get them into bed at a healthy time so you can enjoy a bit of your own time before bed and get to sleep on time your selves.
FOCUS/GOAL: 8 hrs of sleep per night
BONUS CHALLENGE: Stop all screen time 60mins before bedtime
Good luck!! As always, if you have questions, please ask and get some answers,
Sully and Marie-Éve
Vanessa Sullivan, affectionately know as Sully, is a Coach and Owner at Taranis Athletics. She is passionate about helping people live healthier lives. “It’s not enough to get by, we should have the opportunity to thrive.” You can read more about her here
Dr. Marie-Éve Gagné is a physicist who has taken her inquisitive mind into the world of nutrition. At first it was a life changing need for her own health and now she wants to share this knowledge with everyone to help improve lives. You can visit her site and find out more about her back ground and mission here