How Fitbit Brought Attention To My Sleep Patterns (And Changed My Evening Routine)

Johanna May Pilates, JMP, Sleeping, Insomnia

Dear Readers:

On Tuesday, I shared a few ways to get a better night’s sleep and wondered, how have your sleep patterns have been this week?

Since getting my Fitbit, I have become somewhat fascinated with my own patterns as the device can track them with specific attention to deep sleep, restlessness and how many times you awake during the night. To have this information (and acknowledge it) has really brought attention to my evening pattern and I have started to make changes where needed.

This week, I wanted to share my new evening pattern with all of you.

I have begun to have an earlier dinner, though it’s not always a realistic or sociable goal. I do try and dine before 8:00PM on most nights. I am, thankfully, getting pretty good at the “no alcohol during the week” rule these days. This helps me to fall asleep with more ease and I definitely feel fresher when waking up. I enjoy a long, hot shower with drops of eucalyptus. I breathe in the steam and eucalyptus, which serves to relax my mind (lavender is a great oil for sleep as well).

Comfy clothing is also important to me. Seriously, I cannot recommend this enough. Soft, breathable fabrics are key for relaxation (at least for me). I try to crawl into bed by 9:30PM and put my phone away. I suffer from Tinnitus and can find it quite hard to get to sleep in absolute silence as it sounds like mosquitos are coming to get me. Alternatively, I fall asleep to the sounds of music or nature. Its very subtle, but its just enough soothing sound to put the ringing at the back of my mind.

I do have one bad habit I continue to follow; I tend to check the time in the middle of the night. Winter is truly here in Australia and it is very dark when my alarm goes off at 5.50AM. The sky looks much the same at 2AM. This can induce a panic when I think I am running late. On average, I get 5-6 hours of deep sleep and around 1-2 hours of light or restless sleep per night.

What is your evening routine? What are the habits you feel you need to change, if any?

Much Love,

Jo

5 Ways To Sleep Better (and Make It To Your Morning Class Awake and On Time)

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Dear Readers:

If you have ever found yourself hitting the snooze button several times in a row only to finally pull yourself out of bed and attempt to gather up enough motivation to get your booty into your barre class, you know the importance of getting a solid night’s sleep. While there are some who can place their heads to their pillows and drift away without much effort, many others struggle with sleep issues. Bottom line: on a scale from 1-insomnia, most of us are tossing and turning in the middle. If you’re a part of our sometimes sleep-deprived pack, here are five ways to sleep better (and have a better morning workout, hint hint).

Put Your Electronics To Bed. Late night Instagramming (is that a word?) and texting might be loads of fun, but they can wreak havoc on your sleeping patterns. Numerous studies have shown the blue light emitted by electronics inhibits the production of melatonin which is needed to become sleepy.

Try This: Say goodnight to your iPhone, TV and computer an hour before bed. Take a hot bath or shower and crawl into bed and write in a diary or read a good book (as in a real book, or a magazine if you rely on an e-reader) before bed.

Monitor Your Caffeine Intake (and Not Just Coffee). Most of us know not to down a cup of caffeinated tea or coffee before bed, but how many times have you had a bit of chocolate or enjoyed a sip of soda only to lay wide awake in bed?  Caffeine, even in small doses, is a stimulant, so it’s best to enjoy it no less than four hours before bedtime.

Try This: Enjoy your mid-afternoon coffee, but try not to enjoy it past 1:00PM.  Caffeine has a half-life of 3-5 hours (the time it takes for ½ of the drug to be out of your system) and can stay in the body up to 18 hours.  See why that 3:00PM cup may not be such a great idea?

Watch Your Wine-Down’s. Titles aside, all alcohol impairs your sleep by reducing your REM which is why those who drink often wake up seriously groggy, even without being hungover.

Try This: Cut yourself off by 7:00PM, if possible.  Enjoy a glass of red or white with your dinner and then move onto seltzer.

Be Grateful For Winter: Well, cooler temps aren’t all bad. As it turns out, people tend to sleep better in cooler weather.

Try this: If possible keep your home in the 16-22 Celsius range as it is noted as the most beneficial for a good night’s sleep.

Schedule a Morning Workout: Ah, and we come full circle.  Studies have shown that physical activity too late in the evening can stimulate the body, making it harder to sleep.

Try This: Well, this seems obvious, but how about we do everything in the post, and if we notice a difference, we make a morning class a priority?

What is your best “sleep better” tip?  

Much Love,

Jo