6 Tips To Improve Your Sleep

A good night’s sleep can be elusive to many people. The bad news is—lack of sleep may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts!

How does poor sleep affect weight loss?

If you are sleep deprived, your metabolism will not function properly (your hormones may be out of whack).

The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat. When you are sleep-deprived, your body excretes more ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin OR you are more resistant to it (researchers aren’t sure). High circulating ghrelin plus a lack of (or resistance to) leptin is a recipe for disaster!

To add to the “hormones out of whack” issue, the more sleep-deprived you are, the more your adrenal glands excrete cortisol. Cortisol stokes your appetite :-(.

Hormones aside, when you’re tired, you’re more likely to make food choices based on whatever is easiest and will make you feel better in that moment.

Hormones that are out of whack combined with a tired brain that can’t make good decisions spells disaster for someone trying to eat better!

So, one thing I tell my San Jose personal training clients is that if they want to have better weight loss results, they MUST take note of their sleep–both quality and quantity.

Here are my top 6 tips for getting better sleep:

1). Support your body’s natural rhythms
-Be careful of napping too long (stick with about 30 minutes)
-Avoid sleeping in too long on weekends
-Attempt to get to bed at the same time each night

2). Control your exposure to light
-Expose yourself to natural light as soon as you can in the morning
-If you work indoors, try to work near natural light
-If you work indoors, get outdoors a few times a day
-Avoid electronic devices right before bed. The LED light interupts melatonin production
-When it is time to sleep, make sure your room is DARK (watch out for LED clocks!)

3). Get regular exercise
-The more vigorous the exercise, the more sleep promoting it is
-Exercise too close to bedtime can interfere with some people’s sleep

4). Be mindful of what you eat and drink
-Be careful about afternoon caffeine
-Avoid big meals late at night
-Figure out if evening alcohol disrupts your sleep in the middle of the night
-Avoid too many liquids in the hour before you go to bed

5). Improve your sleep environment
-Optimal room temperature is 63-67 degrees
-Dim the lights in the 30 minutes leading up to bed
-Keep noise down
-Experiment with pillows, mattress toppers, etc. to find the best bed/pillow combination

6). Wind down/clear your head
-Create bed-time ritual (yoga, stretching, meditation, reading , aromatherapy)
-Create a to-do list for tomorrow…….and then let all the “head chatter” go

If you can improve your sleep/sleep habits over time, you may just start to see excess pounds drop off just a little bit easier!

“I would argue that sleep is probably the most important thing a person can do if they’re ready to lose weight,” –Michael Breus, PhD, sleep specialist

Image credit: www.flickr.com/table4_9

Getting Enough Zzz

Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by altered consciousness, relatively inhibited sensory activity, and inhibition of nearly all voluntary muscles. Sleep is sometimes a luxury to many. Everyone needs to sleep. Getting enough sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy.

Everyone’s lives are busy and people are constantly on the go. Sleep is often compensated to make time for other activities. Over time this can be very dangerous to a person’s health because sleep is necessary for the body to function properly. While you are sleeping, your body uses that time to rejuvenate and prepare for the following day. As you deprive yourself of sleep, your body begins to wear down and becomes more susceptible to disease, poor health, and poor mental condition. Sleep is especially important when you’re involved in a workout routine. Sleep is the most important part of your workout program. When you are sleeping, your muscles are healing and getting bigger. Getting enough sleep should be a priority.

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night to be productive. Kids need even more sleep than adults. Getting enough sleep has many benefits:

  • Get sick less often
  • Stay at a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk of high blood pressure and diabetes
  • Boost your brainpower and your mood
  • Think more clearly and do better in school and at work
  • Make better decisions and avoid injuries

It’s an excellent idea to keep a good sleep ritual that will get you to bed at a reasonable hour each night. Try these key points to healthy sleep habits.

  1. Go to bed at the same time each night.
  2. Limit your caffeine intake to earlier in the day, stopping caffeine after 4 p.m.
  3. Try to turn off the TV and computer an hour before going to bed.
  4. Have some tea (caffeine free), listen to soft music and read a book before bed.

Just as exercise and nutrition are essential for optimal health and happiness, so is sleep. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality, and even your weight. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort.

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Diet and Sleep

Sleep is so important in our health. And what we eat during the day can have a huge impact on our sleep. Food can affect how easily you fall asleep and the quality of the sleep you get. Some foods help your brain to calm down, while others stimulate it. If you have trouble getting to sleep or sleeping well, your food intake may be unwittingly causing problems.

Your food choices can sometimes affect the amount or even the quality of sleep that you get. Also, your food choices can help you achieve a better night’s sleep. We’ve all heard to limit alcohol and caffeine consumption near the end of the day. Good nutrition is important, but the right portion sizes are just as important. You don’t want to overdo it or you’ll also defeat the purpose of trying to get the right amount of sleep.

If you eat too much or eat the wrong thing before bed it can cause acid reflux during the night causing food to rise up in your throat. Acid reflux is irritating and painful and if left untreated will develop into a major health issue. Try a homemade quick relief remedy of an ounce of apple cider vinegar and a few ounces of water. Drink the mixture before bed.

Melatonin is an essential element necessary for promoting sleep. A few walnuts would be a perfect snack before bed because of their melatonin content. Almonds are another source to help you get to sleep because of the magnesium content they have.

Foods containing an amino acid called tryptophan are known to induce sleep. Tryptophan can help make you sleepy, and sleep better through the night. Foods without this may disturb your sleep. Adding carbohydrates with tryptophan-containing protein will help relax your brain. However, a carbohydrate-only snack is likely to stimulate you and make it hard to sleep.

Here are some foods that contain high amounts of tryptophan:

  • Whole grains
  • Hummus
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Dairy
  • Meats, Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Beans
  • Hazelnuts and Peanuts
  • Soy Foods

Lighter meals are better to help you relax. Avoid high-fat meals and large servings because they make your digestive system work too hard and may end up keeping you awake longer.

Try these ideas for dinner options that will help you sleep:

  • Pastas
  • Meat/Poultry with Vegetables
  • Stir-fry Tofu
  • Scrambled Eggs and Cheese
  • Seafood with Cheesy Pasta

When you get enough sleep along with good nutrition habits the two work together to help your body naturally repair itself and prevent health issues. Providing your body with sleep and good nutrition, your energy as well as your quality of life will naturally improve. Eating better and having a healthier lifestyle is one of the ways you can feel better every day and rest better at night.

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Tips for Better Sleep

Getting better sleep seems to be something many people in busy Silicon Valley should focus on. Not being able to sleep is frustrating, and lack of adequate sleep can  lead to serious health problems. Your body needs at least 6 hours of sleep every night in order to be active again the next day.

Sleep allows you to rejuvenate, and to fight off colds, viruses and disease. It allows you to function well the next day. It can even help you have a more highly functioning, fat burning metabolism.  Test subjects in an American Journal of Epidemiology study who slept less than seven hours a night were more likely to gain weight.  Other research has shown that even partial sleep deprivation increases the production of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.

In order to get to sleep and/or stay asleep some people will take take prescription sleep aids or over the counter medications.  If you’re troubled by poor sleep or not enough sleep, hold off on the pharmaceutical help and try a few of these ideas first.

Tips for Better Sleep

  • When it comes to sleep, the more routine, the better.   Make an effort to go to sleep at the same time each night.  If you’re not getting 6-7 hours, begin creating a situation at home that allows you to slowly transition your bedtime routine to begin earlier.
  • Create a small buffer of time to “segway” into sleep.  Turn off your phone and your computer.  STOP WORKING. Create some sort of 10-15 minute ritual that will signal your body to begin to shut down and relax in preparation for sleep.  This might be a hot bath, reading in a quiet room, meditation, listening to relaxing music or reading a short chapter of a book.  Sometimes before I go to bed, I put on some soothing scented lotion before putting my PJs on, and I do a 5-6 minute stretching routine on my bedroom floor.  Other times I’ll read for about 15 minutes.  This creates a nice segway between the hustle and bustle of household activities and allows me to wind down clear my mind.  This “routine” also signals my body that it’s time to sleep.
  • If you think about work at night, write out tomorrow’s “To Do” list well before bed and put it away somewhere (like your laptop case) .  When you put it away, tell yourself that you’re shutting down from your brain being on work.  Let it go until tomorrow.
  • If you like tea, try having a cup of decaffeinated Chamomile tea about 1 hour before bed.  Chamomile can have a calming effect on many people.
  • Avoid eating too close to bedtime.  Being really full when you lie down is uncomfortable (and might lead to gastric reflux if you’re prone to it).  By the same token—don’t go to bed starving.  This is a surefire way to wake up in the middle of the night!
  • Consider black-out curtains if you find that light coming into your bedroom window affects your sleep.
  • If you have a hard time falling asleep, try adding a drop of lavender oil (available at Whole Foods Market) on your pillow at night might help you fall asleep faster .
  • If you aren’t currently exercising, consider beginning a regular exercise program!  People who exercise tend to have better quality sleep.  Just make sure that you don’t exercise vigorously too close to bedtime, as this might make it harder to wind down.


If you’re local to the San Jose, Campbell or Los Gatos area, give us a call at 408-265-1540 or check out our San Jose boot camp schedule and grab yourself a FREE one-week trial at one of our boot camps.  We’ll get you in shape AND help you get better quality sleep!




Remember, a good night’s sleep always helps to keep you healthy by giving your mind and body time to replenish. Use the tips above to help you wake up each morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

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Sleep Better at Night – Tips for the Perfect Bedroom

Are you having trouble sleeping at night? If so, then the problem may actually be in the layout and look of your bedroom. In fact, making a couple of changes to your room could have a substantial impact on how well you sleep at night. Let’s take a little look.Let’s start with the colour of your wall. Did you know that it could actually be too stimulating for you? Researchers have indicated the best colours to paint your wall are ‘calming’ colours. It also needs to be matted as opposed to glossed. There is no ‘perfect’ colour. You just need to find one which resonates with you perfectly. This is actually the top reason as to why you’re not be sleeping well at night.

The temperature of your room is also going to have a major effect on how well you sleep at night. This means you need to get a thermostat installed. You will want to keep the temperature somewhere between 65F and 75F to allow your body to slip into sleep much easier. You may also want to install a lock on your door to make you feel safer at night. Most of the time, whether you feel safe or not is not something you are actively thinking about, but it can actually be detrimental to how well you are sleeping at night. Install a lock and you will feel much safer in the evening.

Do you have a television? If so, get rid of it. Remember, your bedroom is a place to sleep not to ‘entertain’ yourself. Even if it isn’t turned on it could still be ‘playing on your mind’, which of course is going to be highly detrimental to your sleeping activities.

Have a lot of noise outside? If so, you may want to consider investing in a sound machine. They are actually fairly cheap nowadays and can block out that traffic pretty well. If there is a lot of noise then it is highly likely that there will be a lot of light coming in through your window. Experts have said that the best way to get a good night’s sleep is to eliminate as much light in your room as possible. This means installing a pretty heavy curtain. If you must have lighting when you sleep, opt for ambient lighting as opposed to a big light hanging down from the ceiling. This will quickly lead you into the world of dreams. Ideally, you will also want to eliminate those alarm clocks that have bright red lights on them. Again, this is going to affect your sleeping patterns.

Finally, let’s work on making your bed a little bit better. Starting with your pillow. If you find that you are waking up in the morning with a stiff neck then you will need to get a more supportive pillow. If not, opt for something softer. In addition to this, you will want to replace your pillow at least once a year to keep it comfortable.

If you can afford it, purchase a memory foam mattress. It really will be so much more comfortable for you. Many people’s sleeping problems are actually caused by the quality of their mattress. Choose the best possible mattress for your needs, make sure you check out as many as possible.

If you bear these tips in mind, you honestly will be on the quick path to a much better night of sleep. This is going to allow you to feel refreshed in the morning.

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