Category Archives: Life Health

Meal of the Week (burn your turkey edition)

This week for our Meal of the Week we are going to change things up just a bit. We are now 8 days out from Thanksgiving. We all know that this is the ultimate “cheat day.” Here at Union Fitness we truly believe in helping each and every one of our members in and out of the gym. You may spend 1-10 hours a week in Union Fitness and we hope to empower you during that time to be your best self and live your best life. Too often as strength and fitness professionals we all lose sight of the end game, a better life. So with this in mind we are preparing to stuff ourselves on Thanksgiving day with friends and family and invite you to do the same and feel no guilt about enjoying your day.

The other thing we want to do is take care of yourself and others. On Thursday November 28th we invite you (and friends, member or non-member) to come down to Union Fitness and join us in our biggest class. We have named this class the Turkey Burn. If you are using our discount and running the Turkey Trot with our friends at the YMCA we will let you slide on this one. If you are free come down and join in the superclass. All we ask of you is three things:

  1. Bring a canned good so that we may donate to those less fortunate than us. Don’t worry there will be coffee for after the workout.
  2. Bring your Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and maybe some friends or family to raise their holiday spirits too.
  3. Sign up for the class online so we know how much coffee to bring. We have already added more spots to this class three times so let’s burn some turkeys.

The workout will consist of some cardio class, some lifting as well as a special Powerful with CJ workout. We will have the entire gym to ourselves so should be a great day of training. The workout will begin at 9 AM and wrap up at 10 AM, just in time to check your burnt turkey at home.

If you have any questions please ask any of our staff members. Now let’s empower each other for greatness.

Meet the staff Monday


Happy Monday to all of you and let’s get this week started right with a Meet the staff Monday. We are doing our best at making sure our staff knows all of you and you know our staff. We appreciate you coming to Union Fitness and we also realize that we are what you make us. So with that said we are going to introduce you to our staff. Please feel free to speak to our staff with anything you need. Even if we are training we are still here to serve each and everyone of you. Now Catlyn will take the mic. 

Hey folks, 

Welcome to this week’s edition of Meet the Staff Monday! My name is Catlyn Brooke and you can catch me in the Strength Lab Monday/Friday for 6:30a #powerful and Tuesday/Thursday for 6:30a Bootcamp.  

I started at Union Fitness 2 years ago as a training client with Lindsey, at the times I was 6 months post hernia repair. I had a foundation in strength training from CrossFit (not how I got the hernia), and I wanted to learn how to squat “right” before lifting heavy again. After training for a few months with Lindsey and getting some women’s #powerful classes under my belt (you get it?), I decided Union Fitness was the place to continue my fitness and coaching journey. 

I have met so many amazing, hardworking, bad-ass people here who are my IRL #fitspo. The members who have come into my life in the past few months and have broken me out of my lifting slump. I was pretty much indifferent to training, not sure if I ever wanted to do it seriously or compete again. BUT! I have been convinced (aka hyped up) to do a meet in March with them. So now, instead of just seeing me teach classes or greeting your lovely faces at the desk, you will also see me lying on the floor after a set of 20 belt squats programmed by none other than our new General Manager and all-star beard grower, Todd Hamer.

What do I do when I’m not at UF? I spend the majority of my time at ASCEND Pittsburgh as the Events Director and a personal trainer. I also spend a lot of time singing annoying songs to my cats, baking, and reading. 

Come see me in the morning if you want to hear more about my cats (no, I won’t sing their songs to you) or if you would like to request a certain baked good(s). If morning isn’t your thing, you can find me at ASCEND in the afternoon, probably lying on the floor there too after slipping off a climbing hold.  

See you soon! 

Catlyn 

PS – ((Warning: Shameless self-promotion.)) I post about my cats a lot on Instagram. @catlyn_

 

Meet the Staff Monday

This Monday we introduce you to another one of our staff members. This week we bring you one of our personal trainers as well as our finest musician on staff, Mr. Ethan Raese. Ethan is one of the early trainers here at Union, he has been here for a few years now. Speak to any of his clients and you will see that he is as committed to seeing improvement in each and every person Ethan meets.

Here is a short list of some of what Ethan has done in his life.

9 years working in collegiate strength and conditioning.

7 years teaching olympic style lifting.

6 years working with Carnegie Mellon University.

Degrees in Psychology/Anthropology, Temple and Exercise Science, Pitt.

CSCS and USAW Certification.

Now let’s delve into the fun, Ethan has over 20 years as a touring drummer. Ethan began his first tour at the age of 15. Ethan has toured the world as a drummer for numerous bands. If you want to see him on tour search for one of his current bands Steel Nation. Why do I care so much about this? I want all of you who are reading this realize that we are more than what we see in the gym. Our goals here at Union Fitness is to empower you everyday to be your best and with someone like Ethan your can see that your best may occur inside the gym or outside the gym either way we are here for you.

To close this blog let me say Happy Veterans Day to all of our veterans!

 

CJ is ready to compete…will you join him?

Hello to all my Bumpy friends, 

For those of you who don’t know me, I am CJ and I teach #Powerful w/CeJ on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 5-8pm. I have been a college strength coach for 7 years and a Union Fitness coach for over 2 years. I’ve worked with the New York Mets, Ohio State Football, various universities (Slippery Rock, Robert Morris, Morehead State and Youngstown State) as well as youth athletes and weekend warriors. I have a passion for educating others and myself while motivating people to achieve their health and life goals! 

I am currently 1 week out from a powerlifting meet in Canton Ohio that 11 other Union Fitness Crue members will be competing in (come out and show some love). This will be my second powerlifting meet and I am excited to crush my Squat, Bench and Deadlift personal records and make the UF Crue proud. Since I am 1 week out I will be reloading (we don’t deload, we reload) and working on recovering and prepping my body for the meet. I plan to do some light Squat, Bench and Deadlift work and then lighter bodybuilding movements just to get new blood flow to my muscles and work out any aches, pains and kinks I have in the old body. Heck, I might even get a massage from one of our great massage therapists at UF and I definitely will do some mobility. 

My excitement is building as we creep closer to “show time” (Beetlejuice voice). The motivation and training environment at UF with the Crue have been amazing for months now and we’re about to show Canton Ohio all the work we put in. I will say I am more confident and stronger than before and I can contribute that to all my training partners. November 9th is soon approaching and then it’s time to Get Bumpy. 

Stay Strong My Friends, 

Saturday Squat Training:

1a. Dynamic Warmup-Mobility-Band Glute Activation

2a. Speed Squats 3×3 Work on Technique

3a. Fatbell Reverse Lunges 2x8e 3b. Fatbell Single Leg RDL 2x8e

4a. GHRs 2×10 4b. Hanging Leg Raise 2×10

5a. Band Ankle & Lower Body Stretch 5b. Donnie Thompson Hip Series 5c. Body Tempering

6a. Recovery Shake & a solid meal

CJ

 

 

Cayt’s Meal Of the Week

For those that may not know, powerlifting is a weight class sport and in hope to maintain the theme of the upcoming meet, I am going to talk about my mindset going into weigh-ins this meet.  This may be my first full power meet that I don’t try and cut weight to make a weight class.  The thought alone messes with my head a little for a few reasons, but I am trying to find peace with it being an option.  I am slightly above weight so once we reach 7 days out I will decide if it is something I can and want to manage.  

For someone with a past of eating disorders, I am very aware of my own triggers.  I am still learning how to entirely combat those feelings, but I am also learning to accept that it will be a process of good and bad days and even better and worse moments.  Leading into this meet, I am acknowledging that a few of my personal triggers are developing and when this happens I have to prioritize those that I can control and cannot control.  

With that said, for the time being, my goal is to eat enough to regain energy, to train and recover as necessary, and to COMPETE well.  

I made a big pot of chili over the weekend for one of my meals.  I rarely use measurements and tend to use my eyes as a judgment call for recipes like this.  However, these are all of the ingredients: 

93/7 ground turkey 

90/10 ground beef 

Black beans

Light red kidney beans

Dark red kidney beans

Carrots

Celery 

Onion

Green, yellow, and red pepper

Tomato sauce 

Diced tomatoes

Chicken broth

 

Hello from Hamer

New Challenges and New Goals.

For those that do not know me I am Todd Hamer, and I’m the new general manager here at Union Fitness. I have been working in collegiate strength and conditioning for most of my career. Most recently, I was the Director of Strength and Conditioning at The George Washington University. During my time in the college setting I was lucky enough to be able to train very successful athletes. I have been a part of a final four basketball run, trained olympic medal winners, and have seen many other great successes. The reason I am joining Union now is after twenty years working with college students, I have realized that while wins are great, improvement in yourself is better. I am here to help each and every one of us achieve our own goals. 

Success only builds upon itself, so when one of us wins we all will win. One of the first things I did was sit down with our staff to define what makes us Union. I would like to share with you what our staff came up with, and what they will hear from me over the next few weeks. I ask that you hold us accountable for this, as these are the seven tenets that we have come up with that will make us successful.

  1. Have a positive mental attitude.
  2. Create a great community by being a great teammate.
  3. Enjoy what we are doing and make it fun.
  4. Educate those around you while continuing your own education.
  5. Be under the bar and compete in something.
  6. Never forget that perception is reality, and never forget that those around you perceive you differently than you perceive yourself. 
  7. Be THE presence. Do not allow others to go unnoticed. Be a presence for everyone who enters our area.

If we can follow through on these seven tenets, I do not see how we cannot all be successful. As we move forward I would love to hear from more members. How can we serve you better? Our goals are all the same, and we will do what we can to make everyone that enters our doorway better. 

Yours in Strength.

Todd Hamer

Frequently Asked PT Questions with Jared Caroff, DPT

As a physical therapist, I get asked a lot of questions about pain and what to do about it (both in and out of my office) and I love being able to use my background and knowledge base to help guide people in the right direction.  I figured that this would be a good way to go over some of the most common questions I’m asked and hopefully help guide you if these are questions or issues you have dealt with.  To preface all of this, I want to say that if you are dealing with an injury it might be a good idea to be assessed by a medical professional in person first.  Nothing beats a hands-on assessment with someone’s undivided attention to see what the underlying issue may be.  With that being said, let’s dive into some of the common questions I’m asked!


“How can I get rid of my low back pain?”

Low back pain can be very complex based on your injury history, how long you’ve had it, what the symptoms are, etc.  Again, I recommend that you get assessed by a physical therapist or a physician.  That being said, here are some of my recommendations to start helping you help yourself.  First, you need to get enough sleep and make sure you’re hydrated.  Pain levels can increase with a lack of both of those two things.  Do those two things first, then you can keep reading…  You need to keep moving!  Although you’re having pain, find ways to exercise or just move that are relatively pain-free or that don’t provoke the symptoms as much.  For example, if a barbell back squat causes low back pain, try doing a high box squat, goblet squat or safety bar squat.  Change it up, but don’t give up squatting (or whatever the movement was) altogether if you can work around it.  If you stop moving altogether to “rest”, there is a lower chance your pain is going to go away. This might sound simple but find out if there are any positions that feel good and positions that don’t (like sitting or standing, bending forward or backward, etc.).  Try to avoid staying in positions that aggravate your pain and go into positions that don’t hurt.  For example, if bending forward and sitting increases your pain, try changing positions in your chair at work every 10-20 minutes, get up and walk, and use a lumbar roll against your back while you sit.  You could also try laying on your stomach or propped on elbows when you get home to extend your spine and stay away from the nagging position.  In summary: sleep plenty, stay hydrated, don’t stop moving and/or exercising, work around your pain (not into it), and try to stay away from positions that make it mad and go into positions that don’t.  Be patient, and over time you should start to notice improvements.


“What can I do to make my knee pain go away?”

Again, not to beat a dead horse, go get assessed… Now, some of the things I notice in people with knee pain are weak and/or immobile hips and ankles and a weak core.  The knee primarily acts as a hinge joint and is meant to be stable.  Because of this, if there are mobility restrictions or weaknesses in the joints above and below, excess forces can be placed through the knees and begin to cause irritation.  If you’re unsure what is weak or immobile, try performing some of these: half-kneeling soleus stretch, hip 90/90 stretch, banded hip abductor walks, sidelying clamshells, Copenhagen adductor exercise.  See what seems to be difficult and keep working at it. If the knee pain is more of a tendinitis issue, I do recommend using isometric (static holds) and/or eccentric (the “down” part of a movement) exercises for the quadriceps and hamstrings.  This can be with a squat or deadlift, RDL, quad extension, hamstring curl, etc.  Just don’t let the exercise increase your pain levels more than 2-3/10 from where they started.  Again, these are only some of the recommendations.  In summary: get your ankles and hips both strong and mobile and don’t be afraid to load the knee but do it safely and without increasing your pain too much.  There are a million reasons you can have knee pain, however, just working through some of these movements may help.

 

 

I hope that this little “FAQ” was beneficial.  If you ever have any questions feel free to find me around the gym (either working front desk in the early morning or attempting to pick up objects and place them back where I found them) or just shoot me an email (jaredcaroff@gmail.com).  Stay strong friends!

Getting the Most Out of Your Training Program: Part II

by Lindsey Pogson

Part 2: Trust the Process

 

Welcome to part two in this series on getting as much out of your custom training program as you possibly can. If you didn’t read part one (on providing detailed feedback), head on over that way now. Done? Great.

 

Now that you and your coach are on the same page as far as how the weights are feeling and what work you’re actually doing, you’re ready for the next step. You need to decide to put your trust in that coach and actually follow along with the program as written.

 

When you started with your coach – whether it’s one of us at UF, another in-person coach, or an online coach – you almost certainly had a chat about what you wanted to achieve with the program. Those goals are the backbone of your program’s design. If you came into your goal-setting meeting with the objective of losing 10lbs over the next two months, your program will reflect that. If you went in with the goal of doing your first powerlifting meet, your program will be designed to prepare you to compete in that sport. If you wanted to run a sub-20 minute 5k, your program will be put together with the intent to get you there.

 

Seems obvious right? Your coach puts together a program to help you reach your specific goal. So with that in mind, it’s in your best interest to FOLLOW THE PROGRAM.

 

At the beginning of every program, this is easy. You’re excited, you’re learning some new things, you’re fresh, it feels good. A few weeks in, things start getting a little harder. Suddenly you’re doing a lot of single-leg accessory movements and you’re bad at them so you hate them with a passion. Your coach is programming 3 minutes of rest between sprints and you don’t feel like you really NEED it and think you’d be better off resting less. You asked for a 7 day per week 2-a-day program because you want to do MORE but your coach put you on 4 days per week and you think you’ll just throw in some extra classes here and there because you sleep plenty and recover just fine. Your coach programmed a heavy single at 205 but 225 isn’t THAT far off so that shouldn’t be a problem, right?

 

I get it. I’ve been there too. That attitude sucks and is not helping you actually reach your goals.


There are a few hard truths we all have to swallow when striving towards big things. The first and hardest is that we don’t know everything.

On some level we understand that, since we decided to go to a professional for help in the first place! But when things come up that we don’t like, we can sometimes start to question that professional.

 

“No one knows me like I know myself, and I KNOW that I can handle more work than this.”

 

And you may very well be right! But fortunately/unfortunately, reaching a goal isn’t an exercise in running yourself into the ground. There’s some strategy involved. And often that strategy involves doing things you don’t want to do – be that training more, training less, training movements you hate and are bad at, doing more cardio, doing NO cardio, etc.

 

You went to a pro, so trust that pro. But know that you can ALWAYS ask questions. And you should! If your coach can’t give you a thoughtful reason for what they programmed, they’re not doing their job.


Hard truth number two: to reach one goal, you need to put all the others on the backburner.

If you go into your goal-setting meeting and tell your coach that your primary objective is to lose 30lbs by the end of the year, expect your program to actually reflect that over everything else. That means strength gains are NOT the priority, and will NOT be the focus of that program. Your coach will likely want to maintain your strength but isn’t going to push you to test for new maxes.

 

Conversely, if you go in saying you want to hit a 1000lb total by the end of the year, you’d best expect to see verrrrrry little cardio on your programming sheet.

 

Changes like these can be uncomfortable. It sucks to not be able to “do it all.” But it’s really more accurate to say that you just can’t do it all RIGHT NOW. Take 4 months to prioritize weight loss, then take a break from your deficit and the hard supersets and spend 2 months really working on strength while eating to maintain. If you can do that instead of trying to half-ass everything, you’ll be ahead of the game.


Hard truth number three: you’ll be tempted to go off track. You get to choose what’s more important – instant gratification or actually achieving your long term goals.

I can guarantee one day you’ll be in the gym doing what you’re supposed to do and someone will suggest you throw it all by the wayside and max out that day. Sometimes that will be a training partner or someone else in class, but often it’s that little voice in the back of our head asking “Is this actually working? Am I actually stronger/faster, or am I just spinning my wheels?”

 

At that moment, you have a choice. You can go for instant gratification – test a new bench rep max, or finish your long slow run as fast as you possibly can. You’ll feel good in that moment, with proof that you CAN do that thing. But consider now that you just did something extremely taxing, that requires recovery. You did it at a point in your training cycle that didn’t ACTUALLY make much sense and may make the other things you need to do that day/week/month a little bit harder. You might have a competition coming up, an event where you really needed to be peaked and ready, but that max attempt threw your schedule off a little.

 

Were you really doing that for yourself and your goals? Or did your ego need a boost? That’s your call.

 

Ultimately, it’s your program. They’re your goals to achieve. Your coach is there to put together a guide to help you get there, using all of their knowledge and training. You can choose to trust that guide or continue doing what you’ve always done. Know that it’s a choice, and the choice is yours.

Curtis’ Health Maintenance Tips

When it comes to taking care of our bodies, most of us put a good amount of time and effort into making sure that we are checking off all of the boxes. We do our best to make sure that we exercise regularly, eat balanced meals, stay hydrated, and get adequate sleep, just to name a few. These are without a doubt necessary for living a healthy life. But what if I told you that there are other areas that you may be missing out on? Areas that most people will overlook until it’s too late, and then they become necessary in order to get back to their previous level of health. Let’s take a look at a few areas that can improve upon your health and keep you strong and active for years to come.

 

I will begin by mentioning that I have personally used all of the services which I am about to discuss, and I have found each of them to be beneficial in their own way. I am in no way stating that it is necessary to use these services in order to live a healthy life. I’m simply giving my personal opinion and insight on a few things that I have found to be beneficial towards my overall health and performance. 

Below are 5 professional services that I think every individual, regardless of age, level of fitness, or personal goals, could benefit from.

 

1) Massage Therapy: This is the most popular and well known out of the group. Massage Therapy is a type of treatment in which a professional manipulates the soft tissues of your body including muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin, using varying degrees of pressure and movement. The benefits of massage therapy include: 

  • reduced muscle tension and pain
  • improved flexibility and range of motion
  • injury prevention
  • reduced recovery time from physical activity
  • improved connective tissue healing
  • increased sleep & relaxation. 

The most popular forms of massage therapy are:

  • Swedish massage: This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to help relax and energize you.
  • Deep tissue massage: This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, commonly to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage: This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage: This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

Here at UnionFitness, we are fortunate enough to have a great group of Massage Therapy professionals on hand who each specialize in their own unique approach while doing a great job of accommodating to each individual’s specific needs. Contact us today to set up your appointment and see the benefits for yourself.

 

2) Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is a branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises and equipment to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities. Although this is often thought of as a method used primarily for those who are injured and/or elderly, there are many benefits for individuals who are young, healthy, and active. Those benefits include:

  • Assess & address movement deficits and musculoskeletal pathology
  • Prevent and/or address muscular imbalances
  • Decrease pain without use of medication
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Help to identify other underlying health-related issues

I am very fortunate to have a good friend named Jared Caroff who is a great Physical therapist, as well as an employee here at Union Fitness. He has recently helped me to diagnose some issues I was having in my right hip and ankle for over 2 years and has helped me get back on the Powerlifting platform. You can find him covering the front desk in the mornings from 5am-7am. 

 

3) Chiropractics: This is a system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body’s functions. Chiropractic includes manipulation and adjustment of body structures, such as the spinal column, so that pressure on nerves coming from the spinal cord may be relieved. The benefits of chiropractics may include:

  • reduced back and neck pain
  • improved mental clarity
  • reduced joint pain
  • improved organ function
  • surgery prevention

4) Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a complementary medical practice rooted in traditional Chinese medicine that entails stimulating certain points on the body by using a needle lightly penetrating the skin in order to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions. These needles are inserted into points along meridian lines. These lines represent the body’s organs, and they are based on ancient Chinese medicine that includes balance and restoring proper flow of energy throughout the body. The main benefits of acupuncture include:

  • Reduced Stress
  • Reduced Back Pain, Neck Tension and Relieve Joint Pain in the Hands and Arms.
  • Relief from Headaches.
  • Improved Immune System
  • Enhanced Mental Clarity and Increased Energy.
  • Relief from Digestive Conditions.
  • Allergy Relief.

5) Dry needling: Dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. This differs from acupuncture in the sense that the needles are inserted into trigger points or tender bands of muscle located within larger muscles. When the needles are inserted into the trigger points, they elicit a response that releases the trigger point, therefore restoring normal function. The benefits of dry needling include:

  • Relief from muscular pain and stiffness. 
  • Improve flexibility and increase range of motion.

Although this practice is not legalized for use by Physical Therapists in the state of Pennsylvania, I was fortunate enough to have access to it while living in Maryland. This was one of the most beneficial procedures that I have found for recovering from muscular injuries, along with increased mobility and range of motion. 

 

In short, be sure to take the time and do your research to see which of these services are right for you. We only get one shot at taking care of our bodies. Invest in it, and it will be good to you for years to come.

Importance of Bedtime Rituals

By Alexa Ferri

 

Sleep… How much sleep did you get last night? Was it less than the recommended 8 hours? If you were asked to name three bedtime rituals that you practice every night, could you? Before we dive into a few things to set ourselves up for success, let’s talk about the importance of it all.

 

When we were young, our parents did something for us. We probably didn’t realize what it was at the time, but they created a bedtime routine for us. “Did you finish all of your homework?” “It’s 7 o’clock, get your jammies on.” “No more sugar, it’s getting close to bed.” “How about you go brush your teeth and floss.” “Can you read to me before bed?” All things we heard or said as a child at some point. As we grow into adulthood the structure our parents put into play, no longer exists. Now, we let life get in the way, school, work, gatherings, thoughts, cell phone screens, iPads, nightcaps, late night caffeine, etc.

 

We neglect ourselves from the importance of a system that is conducive to getting quality sleep. And why is quality sleep so important? Well most of us reading this are probably interested or into some form of exercise. Sleep is when most of your recovery takes place so that you can continue to train and train efficiently. Sleep is when our brain encodes new information, stores memories and allows us to make logical decisions so that we can score well on tomorrow’s test or remember our grandma’s birthday or function in any aspect of life, really.

 

Sleep is also crucial for glucose regulation. The pancreatic cells called beta islet, secrete insulin, and when sleep is low our beta islet cells are less responsive to glucose. This leads to other hunger hormone malfunction i.e. leptin and ghrelin thus, creating a spiraling effect and potentially leading to weight gain. Sleep is needed for a proper functioning metabolic state.

 

Last interesting fact, the brain’s emotional center called the amygdala becomes 60 percent more reactive when sleep levels are scarce. Something to think about when we are acting emotionally irrational with fear and rage, it could be the 2 hours of sleep we got the night before.

 

So, after hearing some of the importance’s of getting a good night’s sleep, let’s talk about some of the rituals we can adopt and things to be mindful of the closer we are to bedtime.

 

 

Bedtime rituals to have in check/things to be mindful of:

 

  • Caffeine

Did you have caffeine 5 hours ago? Maybe less? Caffeine has a half-life of around 5 hours. If you consume 100 mg of caffeine, you will have 50 mg remaining in your system 5 hours later. Be mindful of the time you take the last gulp of the liquid gold.

  • Alcohol

Large amounts of alcohol consumption close to bedtime can have an impact on sleep quality. Particularly, REM sleep. REM is the stage of sleep where we can dream, muscles become paralyzed, eyes move back and forth. REM is also important for our cognitive function. REM is when our brain’s process information and store for long-term memory. So, if you have some important events in life that require some increased cognition, try to make REM a priority.

 

  • Water

I feel this is a no brainer, but often easy to look past. Heavy water consumption 1-2 hours before bed is no good. Getting up multiple times per night is going to impact the quality of your sleep. Try to create a water cut off time 1-2 hours prior to bedtime.

  • Sleep Schedule

We all have 33 alarms set to wake us up in the morning. But, do we have an alarm set to get into bed at night? Setting a routine to wake up and go to bed around the same time every day, if not most days, will help create a healthy circadian rhythm for our body.

  • Exercise Before Bed

Exercising before sleep is not a great idea if you can help it. Our body’s core temperature needs to decrease to sleep optimally. Obviously, training cause our temperature to rise. So, try to limit training 2-3 hours before bed.

  • Bedroom Temperature

Your bedroom should be the coolest room in your house. This is to ensure your body’s core temperature to drop. Set it for around 65-67 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Light

Since it is 2019 and cell phones are a hot commodity, I think we have all heard about limiting screen time before bed. The omission of blue light from all the toys causes a decrease in melatonin production. You can have your phone set to shut off all apps 1 hour before bed to eliminate any temptations. Try this, as well as keeping your phone at a distance when sleeping.

Also, it is important to let your body know when it is day and when it is night. What I mean by that is, make sure you get some light exposure during the day and keep your house darker at night. Daylight is great for regulating our body’s circadian rhythm.

 

There it is! I hope this helps put into perspective the importance of sleep and how we function as human beings when we don’t get enough. Create a routine that works best for you. Happy sleeping everyone!