May 23, 2016 stephen rodgers

Building Better Habits Series Part 1

The best month to begin building better habits has reached it’s halfway point and we are here to help keep the momentum strong! Bike to work month encourages everyone to get out from behind the steering wheel and slide behind a set of handlebars. While the benefits of cycling far outweigh the benefits of driving, the time and effort that goes into biking everyday can be daunting to the point of avoiding the idea all together. DON’T GIVE UP! WE ARE HERE TO HELP! We are going to be running a series about building better habits and ways to keep them far beyond bike to work month. Let’s jump into the hardest part, waking up.

The alarm blares for the third time and your hand hits the snooze subtracting the minutes from your morning routine. The blankets are cozy on the skin, the pillow is still cold a few inches to the left, and there is so much sleep on your eyes. Trying to get out of bed before the sun hits the horizon is one of the toughest habits to accomplish. The biggest factor in being a successful morning person lies in the evening before.

Gallup polls1 found that nearly 67% of people fall short of the recommended eight hours of sleep. Getting to bed earlier helps the body fulfill its needed sleep cycles in order to wake up refreshed instead of regretful. It isn’t just about hitting the hay before 10pm, but it is also necessary to begin the preparations for sleep earlier.

morning-time-alarm-bell

Building a pre-bed routine allows your brain a chance to decompress and get ready to sleep. A couple of good activities to add to your pre-bed routine are setting up tomorrow’s clothes, making your lunch the night before, and setting everything you need to remember by the door. These simple actions the night before allow that once awake you can focus on more important items. The best way to wind down before going to bed is to avoid using any electronics. AND YES THAT MEANS PUTTING DOWN THE PHONE!

According to Sciencedirect2, the light produced by a phone suppresses the production of melatonin (the chemical which helps induce sleep) for nearly an hour. Scientists have pegged the suppression of melatonin to the types of light produced from the cellphone’s display.This light triggers the body to stay awake and alert due to the brain believing it is still the middle of the day. By putting the phone down and using the time before bed to get ready, read a little, or even just lay down and think, you provide your brain time to process all the day’s activities and produce the melatonin necessary enter the deeper levels of sleep. Let’s put this post to bed…haha

So be sure to get a routine down in the evenings so that your brain has time to get ready for bed along with you. Setting up a few of your morning chores in the evening helps clear up the time before work, and putting the phone down keeps your brain focused on sleeping instead of your status updates. On the next “Building Better Habits” post we will go over making the most of every minute in your hectic mornings. The scary news is that it may mean beating the sunrise