New Year, improved you: Health hacks to kick-start the New Year
Here are five health hacks to start your New Year strong
You’ve had a wholesome brekkie, worked up a sweat at the gym and purchased your daily caffeine hit, but your energy levels are more unstable than CBD traffic during peak hour. In short, you’re doing all the right things, but you’re still feeling sluggish.
It could be your night-time routine that’s letting you down. A productive tomorrow really begins the night before, and a good evening routine can set you up for the kind of deep sleep that ensures you wake up well-rested, restored and bursting with energy.
And no, falling asleep on the couch with a vino in hand while watching the latest Netflix series definitely doesn’t count.
The goal of any good night-time routine is to get you to the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep (aka the dream state) as quickly and easily as possible. Having enough of this good-quality sleep will allow you to wake up feeling rested, motivated and ready to kick some goals. Not only will your energy levels be up, but a good night’s rest can also help improve your mood and memory, speed up your metabolism and help your body to recover and repair.
Here are my top tips for an epic night-time routine:
It’s not easy to unwind when you’re glued to a laptop, phone or TV. That’s why you should aim to avoid all screens at least two hours before your scheduled bedtime to get into the ultimate chill mode. The blue light emitted from our phones at night can throw our body’s circadian rhythm out of whack, by sending a signal to our brain that it’s daytime even when it’s not. It can be tempting to check your phone during the night, so to minimise the negative impact of blue light it’s best to leave all screens outside your bedroom.
Setting intentions for tomorrow will clear all the clutter and noise going on in your head before bed, so you can have a restful sleep without the stress or worry of what’s to come. A good tip is to leave a notepad and pen by your bed so if you can’t stop your brain ticking away overnight, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you can write any thoughts down quickly and then get straight back into your dream state.
Alcohol can have a sedative effect, which is why it’s a common sleep aid. A few drinks might put you to sleep, but as alcohol is broken down rapidly by our bodies, it can lead to a withdrawal effect later on in the night leading to restlessness and poor-quality sleep. That doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking altogether (although there are many benefits to cutting down or giving up alcohol). It just means that for the best night’s sleep, you need to stop drinking alcohol and eating a few hours before bedtime, as you need to be in the rest and digest state to get in that deep restorative zone.
Get prepped for the next morning by laying out your clothes before you hit the sack. This is particularly great for those that have an early morning alarm set for the gym. This will save any unwanted, stressful thoughts throughout your night and will get you bouncing out of bed in the morning knowing that you have one less decision to make.
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary. Clear the clutter, diffuse lavender essential oil, light a candle, sip on chamomile tea and enjoy a good book. Once you’re feeling nice and relaxed, pop an eye mask on and enter the sleep zone. All of these things will get you prepped for a deep sleep.
Give these tips a try the next time you’re ready to hit the hay, and I promise your mind and body will thank you for it in the morning.
Cassey Maynard is one of Sydney’s most recognised fitness experts and health advocates. Also known as The Energiser, Cass (@cassey.maynard) is passionate about energising people’s lives through health and fitness in a playful, fun and educational way.
For more articles by Cassey, check out The Check Up’s dedicated section.