Within a 24-hour day, it is hard to fit everything in: the commute, work, meals, family time, volunteering, activities for your kids. It all compiles into a quick 24 hours. But two of the most critical components to a healthy lifestyle are probably missing during the busiest of schedules: sleep and exercise.
Insomnia affects 50-70 million Americans which includes only those seeking help and getting diagnosed. A lot that are diagnosed may be individuals that sleep a full seven or more hours but are not receiving a quality night sleep.
What is the difference and how does quality matter? Quality is defined as the excellence of something or a distinctive attribute. Without a complete, quality-filled seven or eight hours, the sleep is unfortunately all for nothing.
Quality sleep is the difference between your FitBit showing spikes in restlessness or your spouse poking and prodding your side when you keep tossing and turning. And although we have all experienced a night or two with quality-lacking sleep, the majority of your 7 nights of rest each week should be restful and quality-rich.
To put quality into perspective, a study in Psychology Today studied a group for 16 weeks: one sedentary group and one exercising group with four 30-minute session per week. The researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine were careful to not just study the effects of exercise on sleep, but also the effects of sleep on exercise.
“After 16 weeks, the exercise group had improved sleep significantly and across several measures of sleep, including sleep duration and sleep quality, as well as daytime sleepiness. The exercisers also reported improvements to their moods and to their quality of life,” reported author and clinical psychologist Dr. Michael J. Breus.
But how can you find the right fit for you? The first place to start is your personal wellness.
There are various ways a person needs wellness: spiritual, emotional, and physical are just a few. Many may discount the act of spiritual wellness to a healthy balance but University of California Davis defines this as a way to “find meaning in life events and define our individual purpose.
Spiritual wellness can be defined through various factors including religious faith, values, ethics and morals.” This does not tie you into a specific religion but helps define how you make decisions and live with those decisions to create balance.
Exercise including yoga, meditation, or running can help unwind your anxiety and release the toxins clogging your mind and body. By pursuing the right mix of physical activity, a short 30 minutes creates the balance needed for a restful night and a clear conscience.
According to the Sleep Foundation, a nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women, ages 18-85, found that 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week “provided a 65 percent improvement in sleep quality.”
Another avenue for some is weight or powerlifting. Though recommended at 8 hours of average sleep a night, an athlete who is focusing on lifting requires more sleep (up to 10 hours) a night.
“Getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night is the equivalent of fasting. Fasting is catabolic to engaging muscle growth in athletes and bodybuilders. Many people will try to eat a small meal of protein before sleep to further encourage protein synthesis that can lead to bigger gains and faster gains over time.”
Repairing the muscle in recovery during sleep can ensure not only a healthier frame of mind when focusing on lifting, but it will also help prepare the body during the rest stage for leaner and stronger muscles.
Depending on what time you fit lifting into your daily routine, make certain you are setting yourself up for success by establishing a routine. For many, 10 hours of sleep is hard to fit in to an already busy day. But during competition or goal-training, make certain to carve the 10 hours out to improve your recovery and performance.
Not only does a healthy physical physique improve the mind, but talking out your anxieties with a professional can help promote emotional wellness improving sleep quality even further.
Your family physician or obstetrician asks at your yearly check-up if you have any recurring issues with sleep, anxiety, or depression so open up. Be honest. If they feel you need additional help, they can provide a therapist or sleep clinic to get to the root of the issue.
A place to start is at your workplace. Find a friend and walk outside or join a mall group to walk some laps. Everything starts with a small step towards success and nothing comes without trying.
Maybe for those morning people it is setting your alarm 30 minutes earlier to take a light jog or walk in the neighborhood. For others it can be biking with your kids. Whatever gets you motivated, starting now is the best time.
It really is that easy! For some though, it may be more underlying physiological issues your body is experiencing that is causing a lack of sleep. And if exercise is already part of your routine and you still are not getting adequate sleep, visiting your physician is your first step.
For a comprehensive analysis, you will need to schedule a sleep study with your local sleep clinic, such as Alaska Sleep Clinic. Our experts can provide a fully comprehensive evaluation of your sleep troubles and prescribe the best treatment for your dilemmas. If you live in the Alaska area, then be sure to give our experts a call for a free evaluation.