Fit Farmer — Ep. 11: Giving quality sleep a chance

If you’re sacrificing the amount you sleep during busy farming seasons, do yourself a favour, and focus on quality, for not just your health, but also your safety.

“Sleep affects us in a lot of ways,” says Gary Chambers, co-host of the Fit Farmer podcast. “It affects our overall health, our ability to manage stress, our weight loss, our energy levels, our cognitive abilities…all of our decision making capabilities are still based in how well we’re getting sleep, and what type of sleep we’re getting.”

Chambers says it’s more important to focus on the quality of sleep, when it’s busy, like harvest time. For many, that means using sleep tracking technology.

“We assume that we had good sleep, we assume that we’re getting good quality sleep, but we don’t really know for the most part.”

In tracking his own sleep, co-host Shaun Haney says, “one of the things that I have found, is that I overestimated the amount of sleep I’m actually getting.”

In this episode of the Fit Farmer, Haney and Chambers discuss sleep — why it’s important, how to track it, some myths and surprising truths, and tips for improving its quality, if not quantity.

Tips for improving sleep, via the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

  • Go to bed, and wake up at the same time every day,
  • Have the same sleep schedule for weeknights, weekends,
  • Use the hour before bed as quiet time – avoid strenuous exercise; bright, artificial light (including TVs and computer screens),
  • Avoid nicotine and caffeine before bed, remembering the affects of caffeine can last as long as 8h,
  • Avoid heavy/large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime,
  • Avoid alcohol before bed,
  • Spend time outside every day,
  • Keep physically active,
  • Be careful with naps – do not let a nap exceed 20 minutes, and limit them if you have trouble falling asleep at night, or move them to earlier in the afternoon,
  • Keep the bedroom quiet, dark, and cool,
  • Have a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bed.

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