Over the weekend, I put a lot of thought into which topic of health I wanted to start off with this week. There are so many topics in which I could choose from, everywhere you turn someone, or something is giving you advice – the perfect diet, the newest exercise craze or the most promising bio hack. That’s when I thought about why I am reaching out now as a health coach. I realize that all of this knowledge can be overwhelming and challenging to figure out what is the best fit for your body and lifestyle. I want to help you come up with your basic health foundation. So that when life happens, you fall down and takes a minute or days for you to pick yourself back up again - you have a system in place to get you back on track. Because life DOES happen no matter how hard you try to plan out every minute of every day. Believe me – I know, life happens to me all the time!
What does your foundation of health look like? For me these are my priorities: sleep, movement, breath, diet, hydration and sunlight. Not in any particular order but when it comes to my daily habits – this is where I start. For the next 6 weeks, I want to walk you through the meaning and purpose behind each of these pillars and explain their importance and why my mind, body and spirit appreciate them so much.
Sleep is crucial! The old thought was “In order to be at the top of my game and most competitive I must work extremely hard and therefore sacrifice my sleep”. We all know the outcome: you become overly taxed, your body runs out of steam and eventually you crash. The most successful people are prioritizing their sleep, they understand the importance of sleep. They realize in order to keep up their competitive edge they cannot afford to be sleep-deprived. It has been shown that most people need at least 7.5 – 8 hours of sleep each night. Our bodies go through 5 different sleep cycles lasting about 90 minutes with each cycle. In order to determine what time you should go to bed, think about what time you wake up or need to wake up, then count backwards. For instance, if you wake up at 6:00am, then you should aim to get to bed by 10:00 or 10:30pm. It is important to get a restful night of sleep for your body to go through these 5 different sleep cycles. If you wake up several times at night, your body restarts the sleep cycle and most likely will not get through all 5 cycles which leaves you feeling tired and sluggish the next day even when you think you are getting the acceptable 8 hours of sleep.
Benefits of a proper night's sleep: Increases immune function, decreases blood pressure, decreases pain, reduces stress, better cognitive functioning, better decision making, increased creativity, you are more positive, better at recognizing emotions, happier in romantic relationships, lose weight, reaction time is better and your mental speed is better. After reviewing these benefits, why would you not want to optimize your sleep? Right…. you do! But how? This is what works for me: having a good bedtime routine, going to bed at the same time every night, keeping our bedroom cold and dark, having my last meal no less than 2 hours before bed and removing or silencing any noisy electronics. By establishing small habits each day, you will be able to optimize your sleep quality. Start with just one, get on a consistent schedule – choose a bedtime by counting backwards from the time you wake up. What time are you going to bed tonight? Looking forward to hearing how your sleep quality is improving! Remember – consistency is key to sleep and changing habits!