Achieving Healthy Sleep to Live Your Best Life

Enjoy this post from my colleague Cheryl Conklin at Wellness Central:

There can be physical, mental and emotional consequences to sleep deprivation. If you struggle with getting enough sleep, not only do you have increased risks of gaining weight and developing illnesses and diseases, you likely go through your day feeling tired, irritable, unfocused and unproductive. Plus, you may experience mood swings, and the most important relationships in your life may be suffering.

Sleep is an essential aspect of living well and fulfilling your potential, and you can start taking steps today to turn your sleep habits around. This article will discuss some of the most important factors involved in healthy sleep.

Your Self-Care

Piedmont Healthcare explains sleep has a connection to food. It’s generally harder to sleep well if you eat particular foods during the day, such as acidic and high-fat foods, or if you eat right before turning in for the evening. Plan to eat a healthy, balanced diet from breakfast to dinner, and you can see results in your sleep cycle. Of course, eating healthy improves other areas of your health as well, such as weight loss. If you’re having trouble keeping the weight off, connect with Heather to get clear on what it will take to get on track, stay consistent and reach your goals.

Also, following an exercise routine can help you sleep better, because it temporarily speeds up your metabolism and provides more energy for the day, which means you will be more tired after burning that energy by bedtime. However, try not to exercise in the evening, as this can make it difficult to fall asleep. Opt for a morning or afternoon workout.

Nightly Routine

How you prepare your body and mind for sleep also has a lot to do with how quickly you fall asleep and how long you stay asleep. For instance, watching TV or using your computer, smartphone or tablet can disrupt your sleep cycle. Harvard Health Publishing explains this is because the blue light emitted from electronic screens can impede the production of melatonin—a critical hormone in aiding sleep.

Instead of bringing your electronic device with you to bed, try reading a book by a low-lit lamp. Other ways to help prepare yourself for sleep are things like taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music and sipping some herbal tea an hour or two before bed.

It’s also important to go to bed at a set time every night – including on weekends. Although staying up late during your days off may seem enticing, doing so can actually work against your sleep schedule throughout the rest of the week. So, pick a bedtime (one that gives you the right amount of sleep you need) and stick to it.

Photo by: Sarah Pflug on Burst

Your Bedroom

Finally, make sure your bedroom promotes sleep. Along with eliminating electronic screens, consider replacing harsh light bulbs with soft or dimmable bulbs. Also, keep the temperature between 60 and 67 degrees at nighttime, and mitigate extraneous noise as much as possible. Finally, as with all other rooms in the home, make sure your bedroom is kept clean and decluttered, which can also create space for more positive energy.

Your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being depend heavily on the quality and quantity of sleep you enjoy. Make sure you practice self-care each day, and tailor your nighttime routine and environment to promote sleep. Making these simple changes can help you live life to the fullest.

“I hope it works!”

…are four words that will keep you stuck. Keep you from losing weight. From enjoying food and having the body you want.

“Hope is not a strategy” is famously used in business and politics. I want to bring it to a personal level.

When a client says to me “I hope it works” what she’s saying is she hopes the strategy will work. That she’ll lose weight.

Hoping “it” will work is giving your power to the thing. It. The thing you think will get you results. That is, the plan, program or process.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

The truth is, many things will work. Seriously, many. You could go vegan, paleo, do CrossFit®, go to a gym, workout at home, run, swim, do yoga, eat out, not eat out, drink alcohol, or not. Figuring out what will work for you is simple. It requires experimentation, fine-tuning and consistency. Repeat. Multiple times.

Hope does not get the result. You get the result. You following through with the experimenting, the fine-tuning and being consistent. Even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it’s hard and you feel like quitting. That’s where results come. Not from “it.”

“Aren’t you just playing with semantics, Heather?” Of course! Because words matter.

Here’s what I mean. How do you feel when you say “I hope it works”? Do you feel motivated and confident? Or do you feel desperate, maybe anxious? You want to cultivate the feelings that will lead to follow through. Even when part of you doesn’t want to.

One definition of hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” Did you catch that last part? A certain thing to happen. As though maybe you’ll be lucky, maybe you won’t. When we hope for something to happen, it indicates a certain passivity. Like we’re at the mercy of something outside ourselves.

What I really want you to know is this: You make it happen. The ability to enjoy food AND have the body you want is completely up to you. You can hope, but it’s got to be backed up with thoughts that generate action. Action that gets the result. The result you want.

You are capable of so much. Believing that will take you much further than hope.

Do your decisions feel like a chore or a choice?

A blog popped into my inbox last month from my colleague Conni Medina titled Choose Your Words Wisely. I recently wrote about elevating the conversations we have with ourselves so I eagerly read her piece. Spot on.

Her focus was on a particular set of words, those that hint at obligation rather than choice, like “should” and “have to.”  These are words I hear in every coaching call. In every prospect call. In almost every conversation I have with myself and others. We say them without question.

Many years ago, I trained with a Registered Dietician to learn nutrition and intuitive eating concepts. She told a story of finishing with her last patient of the day and as they left together, she casually said “I have to go to the gym.” Her patient, wheelchair-bound, said “you don’t have to go to the gym; you get to go to the gym.”

Consider the times you say those words:

  • I have to cook dinner for my family
  • I shouldn’t eat any more
  • I should exercise

Can we say drudgery? Deprivation?

But what if we change those around:

  • I choose to cook dinner for my family
  • I’ve decided to stop eating when I’m satiated
  • I’ve committed to regular exercise

When we use the language of choice, we use the language of freedom. And our brains like that much better than feeling forced to do something. But as Conni wrote, sometimes feeling obligated may indicate that you’re over-committed or doing things you don’t enjoy. How do you know the difference?

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Ask yourself and trust the answer. For example, would you commit to the project/position/task all over again? Would you bow out if given the opportunity? Would you make a difference choice today?

You don’t “have to” do anything. Sure, there are consequences to not doing the thing (like paying taxes), but be honest with yourself that it’s a choice.

Once you identify what you genuinely don’t want to do anymore, consider how you can remove yourself from those duties.

For the others, be purposeful with your words. Use the language of choice. You’ll notice an entirely different relationship to the tasks. Doing the things becomes easier. In some cases, effortless.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if losing weight and keeping it off, felt more effortless? It can be. Let’s talk!

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