We are very excited to bring back monthly challenges (and get a little playful community competition going again) beginning with November’s “No Screen Time November.” Our challenges always aim to inspire positive change in your lives inside or outside of the gym, so please don’t be misled by the title of this one! What we want to focus on in November is improving your sleep, beginning with your pre-sleep routines and habits.
Sleep is one of the most influential parts of your health and wellness goals. Arguably, even more important than your nutrition and daily exercise routine! Proper sleep allows us to recover and rebuild from tough days in the gym, long days at work, and other stressors. While you sleep, your body is hard at work boosting your immune system, repairing damaged cells and tissue, and recharging your cardiovascular system. When your sleep is disrupted, due to a variety of factors, it can affect a whole range of other systems, throw various hormones off including melatonin and cortisol, affect your focus, concentration, and productivity, among others. In addition, many of us who aren’t sleeping well or sleeping enough, rely on caffeine to get us through the day, which can also have impacts on our sleep patterns.
We could go on forever about the benefits of adequate sleep. However, let’s get back to our challenge. For the month of November, your goal is to unplug from all screens 30 minutes prior to bed (or longer!) as many nights as you can. This includes televisions, cell-phones, laptops, even e-readers that don’t reduce the amount of blue light they give off. As we mentioned above, there are all sorts of new routines and habits you could implement into your daily life to help with your sleep pattern, but our hope is that while focusing on this one, other habits might fall into place as well. For example,
*Setting a bedtime! If you have a conscious plan for when you will be starting your 30 minutes, that will hopefully help you be thoughtful about getting to sleep at an early enough time to get those important 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
*As is the case with most things in the health and wellness world, consistency is the key to success and progress. We are hopeful this challenge will bring a little more consistency to your pre-sleep routine as well as the number of hours you are getting each night.
How it will work:
Anyone who wants to participate will grab a sheet from the coach’s stand at the beginning of the month. You will check off which days you were successful with having 30-minutes of technology-free time before you get to sleep. You will also mark off, for yourself, how many hours of sleep you got each night. And lastly, every Sunday, we want to hear a little bit about how you are feeling, any changes you’ve noticed, what you’ve been using your 30-minutes for instead, etc.
At the end of the month, our top 3 finishers will win a prize!
Two fantastic tech-free ways to wind down at the end of the day are reading and journaling. We wanted to offer a gym “book club,” as a fun community piece of the challenge. For the book of the month, we chose Atomic Habits, by James Clear, as a great and relevant read if you so choose. Another recommendation is the Five Minute Journal, which involves small prompts for the beginning and end of each day that help you focus on the positive, practice gratitude, and reflect on things you want to move towards in life. Both can be found on Amazon if you decided to participate, but it’s certainly not mandatory to participate in the challenge.