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A Love Letter to Sleep!

Sleeping is one of my daily pockets of joy. 
Why? Well, other than the obvious (it feels so delicious), I get huge joy knowing I am spending 7 or more hours so productively. (Anyone who knows me knows I thrive on productivity.) Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health habits—it positively impacts literally all aspects of your physical and mental health. Sleep re-balances your hormones, helps your body and brain recover, assists with weight loss, improves your ability to say “no” to sugar and “yes” to exercise, and supports your immune system.  

Now, I know that “getting quality sleep” is easier said than done! Falling—not to mention staying—asleep can be a challenge. No problem. I’ve got you. This month’s newsletter is a trove of advice and exercises that will aid your sleep journey. “Three Tips for Better Sleep” sets you up for better quality sleep, the exercises of the month are meant to be done at bedtime to help you fall asleep, and the suggestion of the month will help you actually prioritize sleep and put your wishing into action. Once you are getting enough sleep you’ll be better able to avoid indulging in what I call “unhealthy healthy foods”, you’ll have the attention to prioritize sitting less, and you’ll have the willpower to make exercise a non-negotiable.  


Olive is always ready to play ball!

Before we get to the articles, I need to say a big thank you to all my Facebook followers. Because of you, my blog was voted on Flock Brain as one of the top 25 fitness blogs

In search of some fitness motivation that you can listen to instead of read? Try my podcast interviews with Bevan James or Dr. Krause. I love the fact that podcasts allow me to connect with people halfway across the world! Looking to start an exercise program but not sure where to start? Check out my spread in The Eden Magazine
 

Three Tips for Better Sleep 

1. Set yourself up for success 

Hope is never a good strategy—you can’t simply “wish” your way to better sleep! Set yourself up for success. Make a plan. When will you start getting ready for bed? What do you need to do to make sure you get to go to sleep? Think kids, work, family obligations, etc. How can you make your bedroom friendly and inviting? Think temperature, bedding, mattress, etc. What situations, behaviours, people, etc. typically keep you from going to bed? Plan solutions for these problems in advance.  

Create some type of sleep routine: 

  • Consider setting an alarm to tell yourself when to start getting ready for bed. Otherwise, you’ll realize you should be sleeping when you still need an hour or more to get ready for bed. 
  • Consider a screen cut-off time to give your brain time to get into sleep mode. 
  • Make a list of things that calm you down: meditation, baths, stretching. Aim to do one thing on your list before bed.  


2. Get your sunshine, “close the kitchen,” and stop the caffeine 

If possible, start your day with a bout of sunshine and end your day with a strict “close the kitchen after dinner” rule. Sunshine will help reset your circadian rhythm, and nothing keeps you up like sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and an overly full stomach. Unless it’s a special occasion, stop eating at least 2 hours before bed. Nothing healthy is ever eaten after dinner. I have a strict 8 pm cut-off time. Choose a window that works for you—but know that food timing is critical for sleep. Also, learn when you need to stop drinking coffee for your body to get a good night of sleep. The time it takes your body to reduce the amount of caffeine to half the original amount is called the half-life. The half-life of coffee is 6 hours, but the quarter-life (reducing the caffeine to only a quarter of the amount) is 12 hours.  
 

3. Write out your worries 

It’s impossible to sleep if you are anxious or have a to-do list running through your brain. Write down any worries/nagging thoughts or your list for tomorrow before you go to sleep. Also, have a piece of paper beside your bed. If you wake up worried or with an important thought, simply write it down; erase the worry from your mind so you can sleep like a baby. 
 

The takeaway is you can’t simply wish or buy your way to better sleep! Supplements, blue light glasses and other sleep aids are not a panacea. You can’t drink coffee until all hours, consume sugary foods and alcohol, sit all day and ignore your mental health and expect to sleep like a baby just because you drink sleepy time tea or wear expensive glasses. There are no shortcuts. You can’t leap frog over the hard work of creating a positive sleep routine. You can’t buy your way to better sleep. Get sunshine in the morning, exercise, stop drinking coffee by 12pm, limit your sugar, move your body and consider some type of meditation practice.  

 

Sweet dreams! 


Kathleen's Media Round-Up


#fitnessfactfriday
Unhealthy "Health Foods"
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Play Ball! 
Some fitness inspiration from our favourite pup, Olive!

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FIT AFTER 45
25 top Canadian fitness influencers

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Woke Wellness
Ep. 32: Kathleen Will Kick Your Ass With Compassion!

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FLAMAN FITNESS
How to use your stationary bike

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The Bevan James Eyles Show, Episode 182 with Kathleen Trotter
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THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Strengthen your glutes for better balance and less pain

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South Blend Healthy Living: 3 Unhealthy "Health Foods" Derailing Your Success! 
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Exercising in Isolation Doesn’t Have to be Boring, but it Does Have to be a Daily “Non-negotiable”
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THE HUFFINGTON POST
35 or over? Consider these 4 exercises non-negotiable

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BUZZ FEED
35 or over? Consider these 5 exercises non-negotiable.
 

Kathleenism

Exercise of the Month:
"Chill" on the Roll

 

Lie lengthwise on the roller. Head supported.  

  1. Let your arms fall out to the side into a “T” shape. Relax and breathe for 10+ seconds.  
  2. Bring your arms over your chest and hug yourself. Repeat 5+ times, intentionally breathing as you move your arms. 
  3. Come off the roll and place the roller lengthwise under your neck. Turn your head side to side.
  4. Hold your head to one side and nod your head “yes” to massage out the occipitals.  

Enjoy! 

For more fun ideas on how to use the foam roller, check out my Fitness Friday Fact or the original segment on the Marc and Mandy Show

Foam Rollers...not just for stretching! 

Foam Rollers...not just for stretching anymore! 

Suggestion of the Month: Journal

Why journal? As the famous business adage states, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” You can’t work on sleep patterns until you know how much you are currently sleeping and the impact other lifestyle choices are having on your sleep patterns. Consider journaling your sleep, hydration, exercise, and food for two weeks. Your future self is more likely to make sleep a priority when your current you knows

  1.  how much you sleep
  2. that you feel better when you get a good night’s sleep, and 
  3. the factors—such as food and exercise—that help set you up for sleep success!  

Read my CanFitPro article to find out more about journaling

As an added bonus, here are templates for two of my favourite Kathleen-approved journals!

The X and O Food Journal Template - DOWNLOAD
The Mood Journal Template - DOWNLOAD
Just for fun! James, Olive and I out and about. Enjoy your weekend!!!
kathleentrotter.com
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Copyright (C) 2020 Kathleen Trotter All rights reserved.

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