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6 Secrets People Who Get Enough Sleep Are Keeping

6 Secrets People Who Get Enough Sleep Are Keeping

Is sleep really important for living a productive and healthy lifestyle? And if yes, how so?

Let me fill you in on six secrets people who get enough sleep know to be true.

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1. They embrace dreams.

When you dream, neural synaptic connections are strengthened. This means that what you’ve learned during the day is branded into your memory. Research has shown that dreaming is an exercise in creativity and will help you to harness your own creative energies during your waking hours. Freud discovered dreams are how we express our unconscious emotions.

“And then, in dreaming, the clouds I thought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me; that, when I waked I cried to dream again.” ~ William Shakespeare

2. They have two bedtimes.

They know that in order to sleep soundly they have to quiet their mind and slowly transition into peaceful state to prepare for sleep. Neuroscientist (and avid sleeper) Russell Foster advocates bedtime routines for uninterrupted sleep. Because sleep arrives after a whole string of operations that happen inside your brain, it’s important to get into a  calm mental state to facilitate the brain’s functions. He suggests making the room as dark as possible, making sure the temperature is cool, and shutting off any screen time two hours before the actual time you intend to fall asleep.

3. They have two wake up times.

Ever woken up on the wrong side of the bed? Maybe it wasn’t the side that was wrong but the way you jolted yourself from blissful sleep into a harsh awakening. Waking up slowly helps the brain send neural messages to activate sections of the brain that are used in our awakened state. Our biological clock then kicks in. Set your alarm clock at least 15 minutes earlier than the time you actually want to wake up. Then enjoy a gradual waking period.

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4. They feel tired and know that sleepiness is a healthy part of our biological makeup.

It’s important to see fatigue as nature’s way of letting you know that it’s time to renew and restore. One of the many benefits of sleep is that the brain has time to sort through the neural connections you’ve made during the day. It will toss out the ones that don’t count and strengthen the important connections. (Like all the information in that 800-page text book you’ve been working through!)

5. They don’t stress about a sleepless night.

People who get enough sleep forgive sleeplessness. In fact, having a sleepless night or two is acceptable as long as you are aware of your body’s need to make up for your lack of sleep sooner rather than later. Worrying about whether or not you will fall asleep only makes the situation worse.

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6. They view sleep as a ‘me’ time.

Sleep is so critical to your own physical and mental health that it must be guarded. If you have children or live with others, teach them to be respectful of your sleep. Research has shown that adequate sleep is not only restorative and a healing process, but also contributes to a healthy body mass index, prevents the health hazards related to stress, and even prevents many forms of mental illness. Far from being a ‘luxury,’ shortages of deep sleep can be deadly. An estimated 31% of drivers will fall asleep at the wheel due to poor sleeping habits. Each year 100,000 accidents in the US alone are a result of sleep deprivation.

How much is enough?

Doctors recommend 10 hours of sleep per day for children. Teens are often thought to be lazy, but their biological changes demand a minimum of nine hours of sleep per day. And if adults want the full health benefits of sleep they should count on getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. Love yourself, love your sleep!

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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