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SOUL INSPIRATION

Alexandra's Healthy Sleep Tips

Fall back, rest up! With the end of Daylight Saving Time, sleep in on our mind. We talked to LA instructor ALEXANDRA JOSLIN about why shut-eye is so important, how to unwind, and what to eat before you hit the hay..



We've heard it before but tell us again: Why is sleep so important?
Sleep is by far the most important part of LIFE Recovery. We all need rest to recover from training and to allow our muscles to repair and grow. Sleep should be just as important as planning your weekly workouts and prepping your meals as an athlete. Sleep is also very important for our mental health and immune system. If we don't get enough sleep, our body won't function properly, our health will decline, and our athletic performance will be negatively affected. The bottom line: Make your bed as cozy as possible and enjoy a good night's sleep and don't ever feel guilty for sleeping in or taking a nap!  

How many hours should you sleep?
I think everyone is different. I would recommend seven to ten hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Anything less than that puts unneeded stress on the body. 

Are you a stomach sleeper or do you snooze on your back or side?
All of the above. I move a lot. 

How many pillows?
Just one feather pillow. If my hips are bothering me, then I use one between my legs. It really helps. 

What's the best thing to eat before bed?
I always strive to eat at least two to three hours before bed time. Typically a lean protein, some fibrous veggies, and a clean carb like yams or quinoa. (Note on carbs: If you weren't very active that day, then keep your clean carbs to a minimum on your final meal.) If I'm craving something sweet, I will allow myself an apple. When we eat late and consume starchy carbohydrates or sweets it can spike our blood sugar and insulin levels which affects melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone our body makes to help us relax for bed time. So try to avoid starchy carbs and sweets before bed time. 

Best thing to drink before bed?
Chamomile tea, which helps calm your mind and body. I also enjoy a glass of red wine; it helps me relax after a long teaching and training day. However, intoxicating sleep disrupts our REM stage of sleep. REM sleep happens 90 minutes after we fall asleep, and it is known to restore us. If we don't get our REM sleep we suffer from daytime drowsiness, irritability, and lack concentration. So keep your alcohol to a minimum before bed time. 

What is the best midnight snack?
I try to never have one. If you're challenged by this, train your mind not to. Keep your metabolism fed every three to four hours throughout the day to prevent midnight snacking. 

Do you have an unwinding ritual? 
Always a hot shower, a glass of red wine with my man, a TV show we're into, a movie, or a book. 

When you can't sleep, what do you do?
Meditate, read, turn on some ocean music. If I'm really having a hard time, I take a melatonin sublingual. You can find them at Whole Foods or at a local natural market; I use the brand Source Naturals. I think it's also really important to leave your phone on silent or don't bring it in the bedroom if you're tempted to check it. Be distraction-free while you sleep. Enjoy letting your mind and body be quiet and at ease. Leave your bedroom as a cozy, quiet, dark, TV-free, clutter-free, toxin-free, loving sanctuary... 

Okay, sleep covered! What's the way to wake up?
Feeling refreshed and blessed to live another day full of endless possibilities! 

Catch classes with Alexandra at Soul Brentwood, Soul Malibu and Soul Santa Monica. Questions or comments? Email blog@soul-cycle.com!

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