If you scored lowest on your rest during your weekly check-in, there are a few areas to consider when it comes to improving this aspect of your health. These areas are sleep, mental stress and physical stress. There’s a reason I prioritized rest over all the other aspects of health outlined in the REBOUND program and that’s because rest is everything when it comes to health and weight loss. If you are sleep deprived or over-stressed, your body puts all of its resources into managing the stress and preventing any damage to vital organs. This is valuable if you are in a state of imminent danger, but most of us this day and age are not. Your credit card bill is not going to murder you in the middle of the night and yet it has the power to increase your stress response to the point where your body is putting off of its resources into managing this stress. It’s crazy and unless we can get a grip on this and rest our bodies, we’re not getting any where closer to healthy! So without more rambling, here are my tips to improve the three areas of rest: sleep, mental stress and physical stress.
First of all, break up with the 8 hours of sleep per night rule. It is a common misconception is that more sleep is better than less sleep but I would argue that less quality sleep is better than more mediocre sleep. In fact studies have shown that the amount of sleep required for each adult varies with the individual and there are plenty of people in the world who can function very well on just 6 quality hours of sleep a night. More is not more! For myself, I seem to do well with 7 hours per night…but that’s just me. Spend some time finding out what your ideal sleep length actually is. Here are some other suggestions to improve the quality of your sleep.
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Light inhibits our ability to produce melatonin which is critical to sleep. Some ideas to make your room as dark as possible:
- Invest in some black out curtains. Mine were a game changer for me.
- Get rid of your neon alarm clock. Do you really need to know what time it is in the middle of the night?
- Turn off your cell phone before you go to sleep.
- Remove the TV from your bedroom.
- Create a bed time routine. Doing the same things in the same order will train your body to start winding down for the night. Read about my night time routine here.
- Try not to look at screens for 30 minutes (at least!) prior to going to bed.
- Wake up at the same time every day…yep! even on the weekend! This was another game changer for me. My body loves to wake up between 5:30 & 6:00 am. When I committed to waking up at this time every morning (even if it means I laze around in bed sipping tea and reading a book), I felt my sleep quality improve.
Mental and Physical Rest
Rest is about self care. Self care is somewhat of a buzz term right now but it so important. Rest is about knowing when you need to back off and recharge your battery. We’ve all heard the phrase “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. If you are not rested, you will not be able to show up for yourself, let alone the others in your life. So if you’ve checked in this week and determined that rest is your number one priority, give yourself permission to rest and re-charge and you’ll be ready to give it hell again next week!