Maximize your 8 hour fitness routine !

Yes, this is about the 8 hours we are in bed! Think about this for a minute. Inevitably, we spend roughly one-third’s of our lives performing an activity where we seemingly do nothing. But we all know if we skimp on sleep, doing much of anything the next day is not very pleasant. That’s because when we do nothing, the body gets to work. And it works hard! This is when cell repair and rejuvenation are happening for every single system in the body to keep you physically and mentally fit. So it is very apt to say that this is a fitness routine that’s part of everyone’s life. Whether or not we do much else to make sure we stay in top health, hopefully, we are all in bed for 7-8 hours. So how do we tap into this and get the most out of it? To find out, read on…

Sleep is the foundation on which the fort of good health is built! In this post, I’ll share some techniques proven and backed by science to help us achieve that superior sleep quality. Before we proceed, take a look at what the body is doing when asleep.

As the body cycles through different stages of sleep and switches between non REM and REM sleep – 

  • It produces Human Growth Hormone(HGH) responsible for stimulating growth in children and regulating aspects of heart health, metabolism, and muscle and bone growth in adults.
  • It allows recovery enabling healthier mental performance and brain adaptability to absorb and retain new information.
  • It boosts immune function and conducts robust repair processes for your endocrine system, nervous system, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system.

With that background, how do we make the most of it? It begins with really making this a priority when awake. Trust me, all it needs is tapping into whatever power we have in our wakeful state to make sure the sleep state is super recharging! Once asleep, there’s little to nothing we can do.

So here rituals come to help. And I’m not implying just a bedtime ritual. Sure, that’s great! But that’s the last thing we tap into. Let us zoom out a little bit and break this down into three segments.

  1. What can we do during the day so that our nights are restful?
  2. What can we do in the last couple of hours leading up to bedtime?
  3. What can we do just as we hit the bed?

Daytime opportunities –

1. Get some movement. And I mean more than what you get now. Unless you are someone, who is very active and killing 20k steps a day, there’s always room for improvement. Movement is the perfect way to speed up your metabolism and set yourself up to sleep like a baby at night!

2. Incorporating some stretching is very helpful to improve blood flow, ease muscle tension and ultimately help you relax. This could be done several times a day, in two minute sessions. Each session, focus on a different muscle group for a whole body stretch by evening. Doesn’t take much, but pays back really well!

3. Soak up that free sunlight. Research tells us that exposure to light during the early hours of the day has a substantial impact on how well we sleep at night. Since our internal bio clock is greatly impacted by sunlight exposure, it is critical to obtain one way or the other. Getting out for a quick 15 minute walk helps you kill two birds with one stone – movement and light. But on days that is not happening, get out into your patio and drink your morning beverage (masala chai is a great one!) outdoor. And when even that seems like an impossibility, make a conscious effort to open all windows/blinds and let in as much sun as you can. To sum it up, get creative and find a way!

4. Hydration – Optimize your daytime water intake to reduce it towards the hours leading up to bedtime. Being strategic about this helps prevent dehydration while making sure your sleep is not disrupted by trips to the bathroom. Check this for hydration tricks.

Evening time opportunities –

1 . Eat a good meal. And that means a well balanced meal to ensure its nutritionally wholesome but not something that makes you uncomfortably full. Timing plays a key role too. Ideally shoot for eating before sunset or as early your evening routine allows. The idea is to give the body 2-3 hours to digest the meal, so it can start focusing on winding down for the day.

2. Try an evening walk. Being outdoor around sunset signals the brain to start producing melatonin and improve sleep quality. Even better, drag your family along!

3. Invest in creating a small cozy corner in your patio or by the window to unwind with yourself or family. Having a cushy and restful space is another way to make you sit down and start the process of unwinding. This is easier said than done. I personally struggle with slowing down, and would rather be out walking. But even just turning on the string lights in the patio makes me want to stay and sit down. Basically find your zen mode activators. Nice dim lighting, music, and essential oil diffusers have all helped me.

4. Teas- evening teas are great! Most of these contain calming herbs like Chamomile, Lavender, etc. that help us relax. These are caffeine-free and available in intermittent fasting-friendly formats (be sure to double-check that when buying). On that note, it’s important to mention that if you consume caffeine in any form, you want to keep that separated from your bedtime.

Bedtime opportunities –

1. Cozy pajamas – Change into your comfiest nightwear. Breathable fabric like cotton and silk are generally cooler and kinder to your skin.

2. Research shows that reading before bedtime has many benefits. It’s known to boost brain power, improve creativity, help significantly with relaxation, and induce sleep. It’s also a great way to connect with children and help them calm down too.

3. Now you are signing off and getting yourself ready for the most amazing fitness routine for your body and the brain. Be sure to switch off all electronics and zero in on that zen mode. Candles, essential oil diffusers, or beauty oils will often click! Experiment and switch it from time to time. Your body and brain are going to thank you!

It’s wisely said ‘Sleep is of the brain, by the brain, and for the brain and the body! Sleep tight tonight ❤️!

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