We’re in the midst of Winter, and the last thing you might be thinking about is prepping your body so that it’s beach ready for Summer. But now is the perfect time to smash those health and fitness goals!
Before you start groaning because you think we’re going to urge you to get up at the crack of dawn to go for a run when it’s still freezing outside, hear us out! We actually have a suggestion for achieving a healthier body that may be far more appealing to you. And it doesn’t involve setting your alarm for a ludicrous time in the morning. Want to know what this enjoyable activity is?
No, we aren’t kidding! The first step to being fit as a fiddle is getting enough of those hard-earned Zzz’s! You can’t run a marathon exhausted after all! Winter is for getting to bed early when the days become shorter and ensuring you have at least seven hours of restful sleep a night. Here’s why you should be working towards maintaining a regular sleeping pattern.
The many health benefits of sleep
Sleeping is vital to maintaining a healthy body and mind. Many studies have been undertaken to determine just how beneficial sleep can be, and these are just a few of the discoveries made:
- Sleep will improve your memory.
- Sleep can prevent your hair from going grey prematurely!
- Sleep helps to reduce stress.
- Sleeping will keep your immune system healthy and fight off common viruses such as a cold.
Ensuring you get enough sleep every night can vastly improve various aspects of your life. It makes you sharper, more sociable, healthier and keeps you looking young and spritely!
How to get a good night’s sleep
While some of us are natural sleepers and could snooze through an earthquake, achieving 7-8 hours sleep every night can be a real struggle for many people. Sometimes it’s kids poking you awake at 2 AM after a bad dream, other times it’s an erratic work schedule that will limit how often you can catch a few Zzz’s, and on many occasions, it can be your brain refusing to shut down for the night. The age-old advice of counting sheep doesn’t always work to assist you in drifting off, but there are a few other tricks that you can try!
Put away your mobile phone! Scrolling through Facebook isn’t going to help you get to sleep, and staring directly at a light certainly isn’t either. Try reading a book for half an hour before heading to bed instead.
Try to establish a sleeping routine. By going to bed and waking up around the same time every morning and night, your body will get used to this regularity and know when it’s time to relax for the evening.
Don’t eat directly before going to bed. This can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable, hindering relaxation and sleep. Have dinner a few hours before you intend on sleeping, and no snacking afterwards! If you feel like something else, herbal teas such as chamomile will relax your nerves and muscles, and make you sleepy.
Ensure that you have a comfortable bed. You’d be surprised at how many people sleep on uncomfortable mattresses! We know that beds can be expensive and that this can often keep people from investing in a mattress and frame which will help them get a better night’s sleep. If you’re living in a share house or short-term accommodation, you may also avoid buying a bed because your living arrangements are only temporary. Consider renting a comfortable bed to maintain a decent sleeping schedule!
Exercise. You thought we’d forgotten about mentioning it, didn’t you? Alas, no. While sleeping will improve your health, staying active will also assist you to sleep. They both come hand in hand when achieving a healthier body, mind and lifestyle. If you feel limited by the amount of outdoors exercise you can achieve during Winter because it gets darker earlier, consider hiring a treadmill or cross trainer for your home. Exercising will help to tire your body gradually (just don’t overdo it!), will release tension and anxiety, and will drop your body temperature, preparing it for sleep.
So there you have it; sleep is good for you! Focus on maintaining a regular sleeping pattern this Winter, and give your body a chance to rest and repair in the evenings so that you can look and feel healthier.