Written by Mike Merkt
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep! You finally stop that dreaded noise that is coming from whatever device you choose to help wake you up. In today’s day and age, many of us view sleep as rest and think that it doesn’t serve much purpose. Since we view sleep in this regard it does not seem like a very important aspect of our lives. It especially seems like a waste of time if we realize that we spend over 1/3 of our lives sleeping. That means if you are 90 years old, you have spent over 30 years of your life sleeping, which seems like time wasted, doesn’t it?
Sleep is absolutely NOT time wasted. It has been shown that sleep has dramatic effects on your overall health. Many people think that when we sleep that the body shuts down. Sure you aren’t eating, working, thinking, or exercising when you sleep. Parts of the brain shut down when you sleep but other parts increase their activity during sleep.
There are many reasons thought by scientists why we sleep, but there are really 2 main reasons, which are restoration, and brain function. There are certain parts of your brain that are specifically turned on only when you sleep that help with the restoration of your mind and body. One of the most important things that happens when you sleep is brain processing. This may sound complicated but when you sleep, information from the day is sorted and stored. This means that someone who is sleep deprived is not able to recall and come up with solutions to problems as quickly and as intuitively as someone who has proper rest along with an increase in creativity. It’s been estimated that a good nights sleep gives you triple the advantage to solving complex problems compared to those who are sleep deprived. This information alone makes it obvious that sleep isn’t something that just takes up time.
Research has shown that lack of sleep causes poor memory, increased impulsiveness, weight gain, increased stress, decreased immunity, and poor judgement.
How do you know if you aren’t getting enough quality sleep? If you need an alarm clock to get up, if it takes you a long time to get up, if you need lots of stimulants (coffee, caffeine), if you’re grumpy and irritable, or if you’re told that you look tired are all hints that you’re not getting enough sleep.
So now that we know that sleep is important, what are some ways that we can get a better night’s sleep? Here are 3 tips for a better night’s sleep!
Cool Down. I know that this probably sounds silly but it is important. The first thing is make your room slightly cool, around 65 degrees. Something worth noting is that you might fall asleep faster if you warm your body before bed. Going from a warm environment into a cooler environment can slow your body’s metabolism, which makes you a little drowsy allowing you to fall asleep quicker. I know that you might think this sounds funny since you are jumping under a warm blanket but researchers have also found that a cool head is more conducive to sleep.
Use Light to your Advantage. When going to sleep make your room as dark as possible, also be sure to be careful when you are brushing your teeth before bed. It is best to do this with dimly lit lights as it cues the brain to prepare for sleep. It is recommended that you dim your lights 30 minutes before you are going to go to sleep, this includes shutting off your phone and computer. When it is time to wake up expose yourself to bright light, either by looking out a window or turning on your bedroom or bathroom lights. This helps the brain wake up and also establishes a better sleep cycle for your body.
Use Technology to your Advantage. I know I know, in the above tip I told you to put away your phone and computer 30 minutes before you go to sleep. This doesn’t mean that we can’t use them to our advantage. Although you should get up without an alarm most people use an alarm to help them get out of bed. Something to incorporate with your alarm clock is the use of a sleep app. With a sleep app it will tell you how much you move around, if you snore, or what cycle of sleep you are in. Have you ever been sleeping then forced to wake up because of something but then you feel extra groggy? That is probably because you were woken up at the wrong time in your sleep cycle. Apps like SleepBot have a “smart alarm” that actually wakes you at the correct moment of your sleep cycle.
Written by Colbie Rose
I see you there. You’ve been going to the gym for a while. You know your way around; you feel confident when you step through the front door. Yes. You are here to workout.
Then January 1st rolls around. You groan a little. It’s time for the New Year’s Resolution-ers to start filling up your precious gym. You preplan your workout schedule to try to avoid peak busy times. You complain about how full the gym is. Maybe you even glare a little.
Stop that. Stop that right now. You were not born in a gym (probably). Even if you were, you were not born knowing your way around said gym. To put it in the language of the internet in the 2000s, you were a noob once too.
So. When you see new people in the gym, here’s what I want you to do. Think back to when you started. Think back to WHY you started. Think back to who you were as a person at that time. Then take a look at yourself now. Think of what you have gained from this experience, whether it be mentally, physically or what have you. Think about why you are still here. Hopefully, it’s because you are trying to better yourself in some way. Maybe you’re an athlete that wants to be nationally competitive. Maybe you’re a dude that wants to pull a 500lb deadlift. Maybe you love the feeling of being out of breath after interval training. Maybe running makes you feel alive. Whatever the reason, know that you are in the gym for a reason. You have a purpose in being in that wonderful space that is DEDICATED to better yourself. That’s pretty damn awesome.
And that is exactly the same reason why all these “new” people are there. You cannot fault someone for wanting to improve themselves.
Instead, try to be the person you would have liked to have known (or maybe did know), when you started this fitness thing. Be the person that smiles at newcomers. Be patient and understanding. You were there too, once. Don’t be in such a terrible rush; there’s plenty of time in life to do the things you need to. And if this ONE workout has to be modified a little, so be it. Fitness goals are not short-term. Your health is not short-term.
Now, depending on where you work out, how much you interact with other gym members may vary. At my gym, we have a very close-knit community and are fairly involved in each other’s lives. If you go to a gym where that’s the norm, please, please introduce yourself to new members. Praise their progress. Contribute to making the gym a positive environment. If you go to a gym with less member interaction, just use some basic common courtesy. I still think a “hey, you’re doing great!” is an acceptable comment, provided you stand a “safe” distance from said person (at least a meter), and make an effort to seem genuine. Do not go up to someone and start critiquing their form on a certain exercise. If it looks like someone is confused or in need of help, ask “would you like some help?” Respect their decision, no matter what their answer. If you see someone doing something that is flat out dangerous, alert the gym staff.
Too many people don’t go to the gym because they feel like they don’t fit in. They don’t want to stand out with their lack of knowledge. It takes time to find your groove in this whole fitness thing. It’s never easy, eventually, we all learn how to make it look easy. New people don’t know that. They haven’t discovered the wonderful joy that comes with doing a workout you LOVE, even if it leaves you shaking and sore. So I challenge you. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Effect positive change!
And if that’s too much to remember, just think. Hey. Dude. Be nice.