Hi All!! HAPPY Midweek :D
How are you?! How's your week going so far?! Are you making LOADS of HEALTHY choices?! :D It's only Wednesday, so get moving baby! It can be as little as a 30-minute walk OR rediscover the fun (YES...FUN) in exercise by trying something that will make you laugh while you sweat!! Enjoyable activities keep you motivated, which means you'll make time for them, no matter how busy you are ;)
Today's post is on getting quality sleep. There's nothing more annoying then not being able to fall asleep! You're in your comfortable pj's, and you're wiped out, but still no zzz's for you!! Good news...there IS rest for the exhausted, thanks to a simple trick backed by recent research :D Spending a mere 10 minutes doing a tension-taming technique before bedtime significantly improves people's sleep quality, according to study published in the journal CHEST.
Participants chose from various types of deep breathing and guided imagery. The results? The techniques lowered the stress levels in 65% of participants. And as any sleepless sufferer knows, stress, and it's annoying effect on your busy brain, is a common sleep-stealing offender.
Reap the rewards when your head hits the pillow by breathing deeply for 10 minutes beforehand while practicing guided imagery. Concentrate on a specific image or sensation that evokes the emotions you want to feel :)
For more ways to relax before bed, try the following quick stress solutions...
- Give yourself a hug! When you think negatively about yourself, the brain's amygdala sends signals that increase blood pressure and raise adrenaline and cortisol levels. Researcher Kristin Neff, Ph.D., at the University of Texas, recommends the "surreptitious self-hug." Wrapping your arms around yourself and squeezing. Even your own touch releases oxytocin and other biochemicals that promote well-being.
- Be a jaw dropper! "Relaxing your tongue and jaw sends a message to your brain stem and limbic system to turn off the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol," says neuropsychologist Marsha Lucas, Ph.D. Simply let your tongue go limp in your mouth, and then open your mouth slightly, which will instantly loosen up your jaw. "These exercises help bring our parasympathetic nervous system online, which tells our bodies to rest and restore," Lucas says.
- Stop waiting to exhale! We've all heard that deep breathing is crucial to feeling tranquil, but the most important part of it is breathing out, says neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., the author of Buddha's Brain. "When you elongate your exhalations, you spark your parasympathetic nervous system, which slows down your heart rate." Take 3 long exhalations, making them twice as long as your inhalation.
- Think sensually! Next time you're feeling frazzled, try a tactile solution. During peak moments of stress, endorphins released into the brain relieve pain and begin a recovery period. Doing things that feel good physically, such as taking a warm shower, mimics this process and stops the stress deluge.
This post isn't just for the ladies...lol! Guys...quality sleep is just a few minutes away for you too!! No more counting sheep :D
Have an AWESOME couple of days!
Be sure to check back in on Fridayyyyy!!
Pamela Stewart, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Weight Loss Specialist