A few months ago, I was warming up at the gym and I felt my hip flexor pop and a sudden shot of pain went through it. I thought for sure I had an injury. I limped over to my coach and told him what happened. I was expecting him to tell me to go get adjusted or see a physical therapist. But instead he asked me a question that took me COMPLETELY off guard.
He asked, “How’s your sleep?”
My husband and I had been making the big decision of whether to take a job in another state, move away from our family, take a professional/financial risk in doing so, and leave everything we’ve ever known.
As you can imagine. I wasn’t sleeping well.
My eyes welled up and I knew that my coach’s simple question and diagnosis was spot on.
Sleep is perhaps one of the most important aspects to your health. And if you’re not making it a priority, I’m serious ….SPEND THE EFFORT TO MAKE IT ONE. As you sleep your body repairs and restores your systems. When it comes to weight loss, sleep gives your body a break from all the hormonal responses that happen every time you eat. Studies show sleep-deprived people are more likely to become insulin resistant, which is a precursor to Type II Diabetes.
When you’re sleep deprived you’re also less likely to stick to your healthy habits and goals. Your body knows that it needs energy and the quickest way to get it is through simple carbs. After a 3 hour night sleep, you’ll be letting your guard down quickly when your coworkers start passing around the doughnuts.
Here are some simple tips I suggest (and personally use) to make sure you get quality sleep.
-Set your blue light shade option on your phone to automatically turn on in the evenings.
-Stop eating and drinking at least one hour before bed
-After dinner, treat yourself to a warm cup of sleepy time herbal tea
-Take a Chelated Magnesium supplement before bed – this has been a HUGE game changer to my quality sleep as magnesium helps your muscles relax
-Try a Melatonin 20 minutes before you go to bed. My doctor tells me these are non-habit forming and are safe to take on a regular basis
-Try a meditation app or some relaxing yoga before bed. I like the app “Smiling Mind.”
-Listen to your favorite podcast or audio book as you fall asleep. I have the hardest time turning my mom brain off when I get into bed. If I can focus on someone else’s words, it gets me out of my head and I’m able to fall asleep more easily.
Some experts claim you can catch up on sleep on the weekend. There is some debate on whether that’s true. I know I’ll never EVER turn down a Sunday afternoon nap though.
In any case, please – please - please take this advice of mine and work on getting more quality sleep. It will improve every aspect of your life. Stop living in a sleep deficit and covering it with a day full of caffeine. That’s not doing your body and emotions any favors.
As for my hip flexor? I took a few days off and focused on getting my sleep on point. I also practiced some specialized stretches and deep belly breathing my coach prescribed and I was ALL better in 3 days, without ever seeing a doctor or specialist. Our bodies are incredible machines if we give them the opportunity to do their jobs.