Start 2024 with a healthy sleep routine
Personal trainer (and former chef) Ian Eassom shares his tips on how to get the best night’s sleep for your overall wellbeing.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year! As we embark on a fresh start, it’s essential to prioritise our well-being.
One aspect we often overlook is the importance of sleep. Many of us have had a hectic run-up to Christmas, juggling work, family matters and festive get-togethers. Late nights and indulgent meals can disrupt our sleep patterns, affecting both our physical and mental health. As we set our new year’s resolutions, including exercise and fitness goals, let’s remember that adequate rest is crucial.
Importance of getting enough sleep
Quality sleep is as vital as exercise and diet, if not more so. Without it, our bodies can’t function properly, and we expose ourselves to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and dementia. Additionally, poor sleep can impact on our mental state, making us more susceptible to depression and less able to cope with stress.
On the 3rd of January, we celebrate the International Festival of Sleep, Mind-Body and Wellness Day. To help you improve your sleep and relaxation, we have introduced a few gentle stretches suitable for any time of the day. These stretches can be performed before or after exercises, and they also work well on their own to relieve stress and reset your circadian clock, thus improving sleep quality. We’ll also be sharing a sleep-inducing smoothie recipe to give you an extra boost.
Gentle stretches before bed
Here are four of our favourite stretches that you can do before bed. Hold each pose for up to 30 seconds and repeat as desired:
Upward Facing Dog
Benefits: Opens up the chest, strengthens arms and wrists, and improves wrist flexibility.
How to perform: Lie face down on your stomach, place your palms flat on the floor, and push your hips down while lifting your sternum. Release by bending your elbows.
Benefits: Calming, stretches the back and hips, improves shoulder range of motion.
How to perform: Kneel with your knees hip-width apart, lower your torso towards your heels, and stretch your arms forward while keeping your back straight.
Benefits: Increases shoulder and back range of motion, strengthens legs and improves posture.
How to perform: Kneel with your knees hip-width apart, lift your chest as you curve your spine and let your hands reach your heels.
Benefits: Strengthens glutes and back muscles, stretches the chest and spine, and calms by opening up the lungs.
How to perform: Lie on your back, bend your knees and raise your hips to create a straight line from knees to shoulders.
Embrace the New Year with the knowledge that good sleep is a foundation for well-being. With a combination of relaxation techniques, a nutritious smoothie and healthy habits, you’re on your way to a year filled with rejuvenating rest and improved health.
By following the seven tips below and incorporating gentle stretches and a sleep-inducing smoothie into your routine, you can enjoy a happier and healthier year.
Top sleep tips
• Establish a consistent bedtime
• Pay attention to your diet and reduce high-energy foods before bedtime.
• Create a peaceful environment with candles and a good book.
• Minimise daytime naps and opt for a brisk walk.
• Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
• Reduce stressors in your life that are within your control.
• Maintain a balanced diet and stay hydrated.
For a relaxing smoothie to wind down or prepare for the day ahead, try this recipe. It includes ingredients rich in protein, magnesium, omega-3, calcium, and vitamin D, all of which support your immune system.
The addition of celery, known for its sleep-inducing properties and antioxidant benefits, makes this a powerful concoction.
Ian Eassom is a Lincoln-based mobile personal trainer. Ian can offer individual training sessions (one-to-one, couples or small groups) in your own home, garden or public space, or online, with bespoke exercise and diet plans. There’s a special offer for Lincolnshire Life readers! Visit www.ianeassom.co.uk