How to sleep better: My tips and tricks

happy birthday to you

Can we talk about sleep for a minute?  I have been really struggling for the past month or so with my sleep.  March was a rough month.  There were nights when I was barely getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night.  This is not healthy for anyone especially if you have a past history of seizures.  I tried taking some natural treatment like calms forte and melatonin, but these did not work for me.  So I had to resort to a sleeping aid to get my body back on track (doctor’s orders).  I do not like taking any type of medication, so this was a struggle for me.  Now that I am back on track with my sleep I am going to work on better sleep hygiene.  It’s just like working out, it’s something we need to do for our bodies and minds. Here are some tips and suggestions if you have trouble sleeping or bouts of insomnia.

First off relax!  If you are like me and you have a few nights of no sleep you can easily get anxious or stressed out.  Just relax.  If you always associate negative feelings with going to sleep and worry that you may not be able to sleep it will keep you awake.  Try writing in your journal before bed, listening to mediation guides (I love sleep ezy tonight on youtube), or pray.

I take some supplements to help me sleep as well.  Magnesium supplements can help the calm your nerves and lessen anxiety.  I take my supplement Magnesium Glycinate about 1 hour prior to going to bed.  It can also help with muscle soreness.  If you prefer you can take an Epsom salt bath with some lavendar essential oils to increase your magnesium.

Limit caffeine.  This is a big one for me.  I cannot even have decaf coffee after a certain point in the day.  I make sure I drink my coffee before 10 am.  I am very strict about this.   I only drink two cups per day.

Eat!  Don’t go to bed hungry. However, don’t eat a large meal too close to bedtime.   If you are hungry eat something small before bed that contains tryptophan.  Like turkey slices, eggs, or sip warm milk.  I like to steam a cup of almond milk with some cinnamon and turmeric and sip on that before bed if I am still hungry.

Exercise.  Be sure you are getting enough exercise.  Include a variety of daily exercise including interval training, strength training, yoga and walking.

Make your room a comfortable sleep environment.  If I get too hot I cannot sleep, so I keep my room cool.  The ideal temperature is between 60-67 degrees.  I prefer 64 degrees.  Use blackout curtains if your room is too light and make sure you have a comfortable bed and pillows.

Get some down time.  For me I have to have at least an hour before bed for some down time to just relax and so something to calm your mind and body.  Maybe you watch HGTV like I do or maybe you read a book.  Do what you need to do to wind down before bed.

One last note about technology.  Try to avoid using technology too close to bed.  Stay off your computer and your phone if you can.

One last thing (I really need to work on this one)!  If you can’t sleep get up and go to another room and try to relax.  Maybe read a book, meditate, or make a list of what is on your mind.  If you lay in bed and stare at the clock you will just become anxious and stressed and then you really will have trouble falling asleep.

I am still working on a lot of these areas in my own life.  I hope that these tips will help you get a good night’s sleep!

Of course I am not a doctor and these are merely tips and suggestions that work for me.  Always seek your doctor’s advice before starting any type of supplements or sleep aids.

Interval Workout

Today’s workout was a fun but tough one.  We all left class feeling very sweaty and accomplished.  Here is what we did today:

Warm Up (perform each exercise for 30 seconds)

  • Jog
  • Jack
  • But Kickers
  • Scissors
  • Walk Out’s
  • Toe Touches/Frankenstein

Interval Workout:  For this portion of the workout you will need a set of dumbells, a mat, towel and some water.

Perform each exercise 1 time through in the following times.  1st time 60 seconds each 2nd time through 45 seconds each, 3rd time through 30 seconds each and final time through will be 20 seconds each.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Goblet Squat (using dumbbell or kettle bell)
  • Burpees
  • Sumo Swings
  • Mt.Climbers
  • Alternating Side Lunges
  • Plank Hops (in plank position hop feet in to hands and out)
  • Shoulder Press
  • Downward Dog with A Kick High

Finish with some ab work:  Crunches, Side Planks, Scissors, Bicycles

Cool Down and Stretch

Peanut Butter Protein Rice Cereal Treats

Do you remember those yummy rice crispy treats you ate growing up or maybe you still do?  I loved those when I was pregnant with my 2nd daughter and one time I ate an entire pan.  OOPS!  Leave it to my mom to find a healthy alternative to those yummy treats.  She is a baker by profession and has been adapting recipes for me to fit into my healthy eating plan.  So I thought I would share this recipe.  It’s super easy and it has only 4 ingredients.  You could have it as a pre-workout snack or even dessert.  And my kids LOVED them too.  These would make a perfect lunch box snack.

Peanut Butter Protein Rice Cereal Treats

  • 5 Cups Crisp Rice Cereal (can use brown rice cereal)
  • 1/2 Cup Honey (adjust to your taste)
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter or other Nut Butter
  • 4 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder (I use Orgain) (approx. 1/2 cup)

Melt the honey and peanut butter and stir together until creamy.  Add the cereal and protein powder and mix well.  Scoop into a pan.  I used coconut oil spray to make sure they didn’t stick.  Press down into the pan (9×9) and let sit.  Cut into squares.  I cut mine into about 19 small squares.  You could also use chocolate protein powder as well.

Here is the nutritional breakdown.  I entered it all in My Fitness Pal.  Your numbers may vary depending on the size of your squares and type of protein and nut butter used.

114 Calories Per Square    4 Grams Fat     17 Grams Carbs     4 Grams Protein 

treats

February Workouts: Buns, Guns and Abs

Today’s class at the gym was a killer class.  My legs are going to be SORE tomorrow.  Our class is called Insane Bootcamp and today was INSANE!  Here is what we did:

Dynamic Warm Up (3 Minutes)

  • Jog 30 Seconds
  • Jack 30 Seconds
  • Side Lunges 30 seconds each leg
  • Lunges with a reach (alternating) 30 seconds
  • Walk Outs with a push up 30 seconds

Round 1    Complete each exercise in the rounds for 30 seconds, repeat the round 3 times or more. 

  • Side Lunge Right (for higher intensity add a hop)
  • Side Lunge Left
  • Heel Touches
  • Goblet Squat with (10-25 pound weight)

Round 2  

  • Sumo Squat Pulses
  • 1 Burpee and 4 Mt. Climbers
  • Plank Jack
  • Hold Plank Position and do hamstring curls 15 right and 15 left

Round 3

  • Squat Jump into alternating lunge hops
  • Jacks
  • Squat Kicks (right and left)
  • Alternating Curtsy Lunges (with or without weights)

Round 4

  • Squat Jacks
  • High Knees
  • Walking Lunges (with weights or without)
  • Wall Sits

Cool Down and Stretch for 3-5 Minutes.

This workout will really get your heart pumping and will work your legs.  Approximate time is 45 minutes.