If you’re a little extra groggy on this particular Motivation Monday, I feel your pain. Here in New York not only did we trudge around in bitter cold temperatures all weekend, but now we’re bracing for what could be a monster blizzard tonight into tomorrow. Despite the weather where you live, most of you reading this post also changed the clocks for the start of Daylight Saving Time. While we added some welcome sunlight to our days, we also lost an hour of something most of us never get enough of: sleep. So why not use this drowsy day to take stock of something too many people overlook: your sleep habits.
Research shows along with helping us stay energized, sleep helps us retain information and boost our mood. Search the Internet, and you’ll even find studies linking inadequate sleep to weight gain. On a personal note, when I rack up too many consecutive nights without enough shut-eye, it’s harder to concentrate on everything from my work to my workouts. I also find myself being annoyed by the little things that usually roll off my back.
Here are some ideas to make sure you get those all-important zzzz’s:
- Exercise: Physical activity can help you sleep. However, if I exercise less than two hours before going to bed, the endorphins keep me up. Aim to wrap a workout three hours before bedtime.
- Alcohol: My repeat readers know I enjoy a glass of wine at the end of the day. However, too much alcohol can have the opposite effect of calming the nerves and end up wrecking your night. And obviously, having a hangover in the morning is never a good thing.
- Caffeine: Some of my friends can have coffee at 8 pm and still fall asleep at 10:30 pm. If I have caffeine after 3 pm, I’m looking at a rough night ahead. The key is to pay attention to how your body reacts. Make sure you check for “hidden” caffeine in things like flavored teas and chocolate.
- Stress: This is an area under never-ending construction in my life. One thing that’s I’ve worked on during the past year is writing down my to-do lists and long-term product ideas at least an hour before getting into bed. Putting my tasks and even my worries “on paper” gives me a clearer outline of what’s ahead instead of letting it swarm around in my brain while I lie in the dark.
- Shutting Down: If you scan the Internet, you’ll find plenty of research on how watching TV in bed and using smart phones and other portable devices can be overstimulating when your body is trying to wind down. Aim to power down at least 30 minutes before closing those tired eyes for the night.
Remember, if you’ve made the commitment to workout and watch what you eat, you owe it to yourself to give your body time to rest and recharge. It’s all part of the winning formula to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!