SHEEX Athlete Sleep Ambassador Brad Walker, the American Record Holder in the Pole Vault, shares his tips for healthy goal setting that will benefit you all year long! Follow Brad on Twitter for more updates and exclusive deals on SHEEX!
By Brad Walker
Goal setting seems easy enough, but I see people over and over again struggle on how to set realistic goals. The most common problem…they shoot too high. Yes too high, and this is coming from a guy who jumps as high as the average house for a living and who claims his next goal is the world record.
Setting clear attainable goals keeps me focused, determined, and satisfied. There are many people in my sport who talk about the world record, yet haven’t even jumped 19′ which is a far cry from 20 feet 2 inches (the current world record). Setting the bar unattainably high at any given time makes it feel like more of a dream. If a goal seems so far out of reach it can become less motivating because of the mountain of work you know you must accomplish to come anywhere close to it.
While not everyone is shooting for the world record, many people set high goals for themselves regarding either losing weight or getting into better shape. Many people believe that they need to make a super drastic lifestyle change: change my diet, no more junk food, no more beer, no more sleeping in, get up early and go to the gym before work, eat salads for every meal, etc. etc. What happens? It becomes a mountain of work that is so drastic from your daily life, it lasts for a week and nothing sticks. Time to set some new goals, ones that are easily attainable, and satisfying.
Here are three health goals Brad uses to stay on track that will help you achieve better health and your personal goals too!
Goal #1. MAKE….IT….FUN. You can get exercise by playing ball, hiking, kayaking, swimming, playing volleyball, cross country skiing or a million other things. Don’t get up an hour before an already dreadful alarm and try to pump out weights before breakfast. Enjoy what you choose to do. I try to get people who are short on time to wake up to their morning coffee on an exercise bike for 15 minutes. It will not only stimulate your metabolism for the rest of the day, it will even make your coffee more efficient. And don’t think it isn’t enough, 15 minutes of exercise is better than 0 min of exercise. Remember, small attainable goals.
Goal #2. Want to change your diet? Stick to unprocessed foods. If it comes in a box, and has words you can’t pronounce, put it down. Stick to the outside edge of the grocery store and pick up fruits, veggies, and meats. If that’s too hard, just do that for a couple of days in a row. Two pieces of advice for the non cook: one, spend as much money as you would for an entire knife block, on one good chefs knife. You won’t regret it. Two, buy a veggie steamer and a rice cooker. They are “do-it-yourselfers”–put in your food, push a button, out comes perfectly cooked fresh food with minimal effort and cleanup.
Goal #3. Sleep more! We’ve all seen the studies about how the average person is sleeping less and less. All sorts of good things happen while we are deep asleep and recovery is at it’s absolute highest. Good hormones are being pumped out to deal with the days stress and rejuvenate us for the next morning and countless other body processes. Get comfortable. There is no better way to do that then with SHEEX which help regulate an optimal body temperature for sleep! I am very serious about how nice it is to jump into a cozy, comfortable bed to end the night, and SHEEX does it better than any other bedding I have tried. It really does make a difference. Finally, my last piece of advice, if you have to wake up to an alarm, make it a peaceful one. Over Christmas I overheard my dads alarm (the ridiculously aggressive nuclear bomb alarm on the iPhone) and almost jumped out of bed swinging!! Lets keep the stress and dread of that awful wake-up to a minimum.
It is safe to assume that most everybody who visits the SHEEX website is concerned about sleep. Whether it is for themselves, a friend or a loved one almost everybody is looking for ways to sleep better, get more sleep and rest more comfortably. These typical sleep goals aside, the University of Minnesota Health department has put together “5 Sleep Resolutions for the New Year” created by Michael Howell, M.D. who is “a sleep and breathing expert and is certified by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.”
In addition to sleeping with SHEEX Performance sheets, here are 5 ways you can improve your sleep as part of your 2013 health resolutions:
1. Reacquaint yourself with the morning sun. Your circadian rhythm evolved more than 4 billion years ago and is reset daily with morning bright light exposure. There is a special layer of cells in your retina (the ganglion layer) that only serves to reset your 24-hour clock. The absence of morning light leads to a progressive delay resulting in more trouble falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning.
2. Discover your ideal sleep time. “How much sleep do I need?” That’s the wrong question to ask. Seven hours from midnight to 7 a.m. may be just as physiologically refreshing as 8 hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
For one week, attempt to fall asleep whenever you get sleepy at night and sleep until you wake up naturally (no family, pet, or alarm clock waking you up). You will have a rebound period of extra sleep that usually lasts for a few days but by the end of the week you will have a good idea of what your natural sleep time is.
Once you have your ideal sleep time, try to achieve it as frequently as possible. Or, if that is not feasible (for example: your body wants 2 a.m.-10 a.m. but you have to get up for class or work at 6 a.m.) then attempt to advance the clock by bright light in the morning (preferably sunlight, barring that then a 10,000 lux light box) and low dose 1 mg melatonin in the evening (3-4 hours prior to bedtime).
3. Never fight the body. It’s a fight you can’t win. Surrender by becoming a good napper. Napping is an acquired skill. You may notice that if you sleep too long you may feel groggy for a while after waking. This is related to mistiming the length of your nap. We normally sleep in 90 minute cycles so try to get either less than 20 minutes (not enough time to get too deep) or about 90 minutes so that you have finished a sleep cycle.
4. Watch out for the Jimmy Legs. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is the condition that shall not be named. It is pervasive, common and disabling; however, most patients recoil against the diagnosis as they feel the name trivializes their suffering. Treatment exists.
5. Never drive while sleepy. More motor vehicle accidents are due to fatigue than to alcohol. Even if you are not falling asleep, you are impaired. Your family and fellow drivers will appreciate you.
People are talking up SHEEX! And we’re listening – over the past few months, we’ve been hearing from all different types of audiences as to why they love SHEEX.
SHEEX are not only for athletes so they can sleep better and play better. Really, SHEEX are for everyone who wants to sleep better so they can ultimately live better. We’re thrilled with some of our recent media hits and the reasons why each outlet and audience loved our product.
Below are some August press hits highlights that we wanted to share and an excerpt from each.
- The Huffington Post included SHEEX in a recent feature on bedtime routines that help you fall asleep faster:
I’ve tested them (hey, I get a few perks for being your resident sleep blogger) and really did notice the difference.
- Discovery Channel’s “Gear and Gadgets” blog touted SHEEX as a top-five “ingenious product engineered to make you sleep better”:
Temperature fluctuations can be a major cause of sleep disruption. SHEEX Performance Sheets with SLEEP•FIT Technology are engineered to keep your entire bed as cool as the other side of the pillow.
- PlayGoesStrong.com, an NBC Universal property, is part of the Life Goes Strongnetwork, a premier destination for mid-lifers who are living well and still going strong.Writer David Weiss was initially skeptical of SHEEX, saying he’s continually amazed by the “plethora of overhyped schlock” out there, adding:
Knowing me for the faithless curmudgeon that I am, you can imagine how my reflexive cynicism kicked in when I got wind of a whole new lifestyle genre: Performance bed-sheets (not that kind of performance, but who knows?).
But after sleeping in SHEEX, David declared himself “a convert.”
I slept soundly, and awakened without the muscle pain that has plagued me ever since [a basketball injury two years ago]. That was far more than I expected.
- Yoga & Spa magazine featured us this month and highlighted the benefits of sleeping in SHEEX.
SHEEX can help us achieve the restorative sleep we all need to boost our performance amongst the elements of both our natural and man-made environments.
- Finally, we got a great mention in the September issue of Health magazine, in their “Bring on the Bedtime!” round-up. Never be hot and bothered and again.
Nothing is worse than waking up all sweaty at 3 a.m. Enter SHEEX Performance Sheets. The breathable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps you cool (a proven sleep inducer).
Whether you love the luxury of ridiculously soft sheets, want to avoid uncomfortable night sweats, or are looking to get a performance edge for sports or life (aren’t we all?), we want to hear from you: Why do you love your SHEEX?