Sleep is an essential component of health and wellness. Sometimes, we can address all the elements recommended for sleep hygiene and still have trouble getting a good night’s rest. What then? We need to dive deeper. Here are some additional areas beyond the basics to consider.

Food

Undoubtedly this is the biggest factor in sleep variance in our own home. Did we eat too much and/or too late in the evening? Did we have sugary treats right before bed? These are the biggest culprits we notice on nights when our sleep is off, and it’s like clockwork when we partake in the offending eating behaviors.

A few guidelines around food to consider:

    • Eat your last meal at least 2 hours before bed.
    • Keep the carbohydrate content of evening meals low. Eating too many carbs too close to bed means your glucose levels are high when you are trying to fall asleep. High glucose levels literally mean more energy for your cells. You’re trying to rest, but fueling your body for work.
    • Sugar is of course also carbohydrate. Sweet treats after dinner can be especially hard on sleep. Whenever possible, opt for special treats earlier in the day, or a low sugar type dark chocolate for an evening treat.

Booze

The only reason alcohol isn’t the biggest factor in our sleep is because we don’t drink! Motivated largely by our desire to improve our sleep, we stopped drinking almost two years ago. The cascading effects of regular alcohol consumption are so clearly detrimental to good sleep that we gave it up. If you’re serious about good sleep, limited alcohol is a worthwhile trial. Plus, ladies, see the hormone section below. Alcohol is also an impediment to detoxifying hormones from your body further layering on the disruptors to sleep.

Hormones

Ladies, it can be really tricky to find restful sleep at certain times of your cycle if you are aged 35 and above. If you’ve carefully monitored your food intake (especially carbs) and timing, tried no alcohol (at least as a test) and still find sleep difficult, it might be time for medical help. Indepth labs and hormone therapy can make worlds of difference. The experts at BioLounge are our go-to resource for hormone support.

What do you know about your sleep?

Investigate what you actually know about your sleep. There are a myriad of fitness trackers on the market from your watch to Whoop bands and Oura rings. If you’ve addressed everything else and are still coming up short, it might be time to track things to see what’s going on with your sleep cycle and stages. If you have a tracker in place, you’ll also be able to see results from food/booze/hormone trials that you might be testing out. Technology can be really helpful here.

You might be asking, what does sleep have to do with strength training. And the answer is, everything! Without proper sleep, we can’t recover from our workouts and realize the benefits we work so hard for in the first place. Rest is essential.


Author Lee Carson is a writer, business strategist, health advocate, principal and co-founder at both Hyatt Strength + Wellness and Florasophy. She believes in a minimally processed whole-foods approach to nutrition, and loves sharing ways to use food and movement as catalysts and tools for optimal health. Learn more about Lee, or get in touch with her by emailing us at Go@HyattTraining.com.