February 17-23, 2019
REM Is Where It’s At!
Continuing our month of quality this week. Even sleep has levels of quality. Get yourself more REM sleep this week and also keep your heart rate in check on your aerobic training sessions.
THINGS TO PRACTICE:
1. Make Your Distance Count. During this portion of the year, building an aerobic base is paramount. The goal is to make a big aerobic engine so that you can add speed work later as you are trying to peak for an event. Building an aerobic base is not as easy as just going out for a run. It is important to make sure your intensity as at the right level to allow for the proper changes in aerobic capacity to take place. Keep your heart rate under lactate threshold. If you are not tracking your training with heart rate, then keep yourself at a pace where you can talk fairly easily. Build your distance up with keeping your heart rate low. It is all too common for people to train too fast and at too high of intensity at this time of year, and they miss many of the benefits of long and slow aerobic training. If you often plateau during the later parts of the year, you may have missed this part of training previously.
2. REM Makes All The Difference. Not all sleep is created equal. Your body goes through several stages of sleep each night during sleep cycles. Each sleep cycle roughly lasts about 90minutes and should finish with a chunk of time in REM sleep during every cycle. The goal is that each cycle have a higher percentage of time in REM sleep. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is where most of your bodies recovery processes actually occur. Getting into REM sleep allows your body to wake feeling rested, recovered, and ready to go. Typically the more sleep cycles your body goes through in a night, the greater the percentage of your night is in REM sleep. During the first sleep cycle, you may only get 10-15minutes of REM, but in the 4th or 5th sleep cycle of the night you may get 50minutes of REM during that cycle. Check out some of our tips below to get more time in REM sleep.
- Track Your Sleep. Use a watch with sleep tracking (apple watch, garmin, fitbit, etc) to really track your sleep. See how much time you spend in light sleep tossing and turning and how much time you get in REM sleep. If you don’t know how you are currently sleeping, it is tough to make improvements to it.
- Go to bed at the right time. The more sleep cycles you get in during the night, your REM sleep get progressively longer with each cycle. Allow yourself enough time before you wake so you can get at least 5 sleep cycles (each cycle is roughly 90minutes, so allowing at least 7.5 hours before your morning alarm is good). If you have to wake up early, make sure to go to bed earlier.
- Consistency of schedule. Your body operates on rhythms and schedules. If you go to bed and wake at a very similar time every day, your body will get use to this rhythm and your hormones will peak at the right times to allow for better sleep and more time in REM.
- Exercise. You should already have this down, but regular exercise aids in sleep habits and allows for more time in REM sleep. On the flip side, exercising right before bed, can negatively affect your REM sleep as your body takes a bit of time to ramp down from a vigorous workout.
- Reduce screen time. We live in a world where screens are everywhere. Reducing your amount of screen time, particularly before bed, can make a big difference on sleeping habits. Swap out your nightly show for a book or a magazine over the next couple weeks and see how your sleep is affected.
- Get comfortable. If you find yourself waking due to being uncomfortable during the night, it is time to make some changes. Change your pillow, change your mattress, get a pillow-topper. Make sure your sleep setup is comfortable and allows you to wake feeling rested.
- Watch your caffeine. Try not to have too much caffeine intake throughout the day and really try to stop your caffeine intake in the afternoon and evening. Caffeine doesn’t just mean coffee or tea, caffeine is in many foods. If you have the dark chocolate craving after dinner, this is also a form of caffeine and can affect sleep habits.
THIS WEEK’S RECIPES
We love to keep meals healthy, easy, and tasty! Try some of these awesome recipes this week.