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CHAPTER NiNE - IT'S NEVER TOO LATE® Be Fabulously Fit as you age - by René Burton

aging and sleep - ARE YOU GETTING YOUR ZZZ’s?

You’ve had a long day. Work, children, shopping, cooking and you are exhausted. You want nothing more than to spend a few hours alone snacking in front of the TV before going to bed. While this sounds great and you may think this is the perfect thing to do, research shows that it’s the worst thing you can do if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

If you want to end your day ready to sleep and get a restful night’s sleep, you should schedule some form of exercise during the day. As I stated in my article about finding your exercise personality, you should determine what time of day is best for you to exercise.


Exercise helps our body transition between the phases of sleep more regularly and more smoothly. Adding exercise to your daily routine can dramatically improve your sleep quality. Simply raising your heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes a day six days a week is enough to improve your sleep quality as well as your sleep time. People who exercise regularly report fewer episodes of sleeplessness than people who don’t exercise.

 With obesity a national epidemic, there is no doubt that Americans are becoming more sedentary. Our lifestyles don’t encourage physical activity. We drive everywhere, eat out more often and sit in front of the TV instead of going for a walk. No wonder we can’t sleep.


“You can’t always control when stress hits but you can control how you handle it", says David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention and Research Center. “The key is to first acknowledge its presence." Give yourself a brief time-out. Do some deep breathing,inhale through your nose for five counts, and exhale through your mouth for five counts until you start to feel calmer. Try yoga or meditation to calm your thoughts.


Do you really need to hear about the economy, the war, the bad weather forecast? The nightly news can leave you feeling unsettled, which can make it tough to fall asleep, which can spell trouble for your health.

Getting good sleep is crucial to keeping your entire body running smoothly.  Studies have associated poor sleep with everything from obesity to high blood pressure and diabetes, which can lead to lowering your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu. We need at least 7 to 8 hours of good sleep, that is the amount of time we need in deep sleep, the phase of sleep during which our bodies repair themselves and boost our immune system.

I personally make sure that I am in bed by ten every night, so that my body has time to recover from the day and to re-boot my immune system.


What you eat and when you eat affects how you sleep. One of the keys to a restful night is to get your brain calmed down rather than revved up. Make it a point to eat no later than 7 p.m. so you don’t go to bed with a full stomach, which will keep you awake. Eat small portions of protein and veggies. If you go out to eat share a dinner with your friend.

Contrary to certain thoughts, alcohol before bed will keep you awake. You may fall asleep but then wake up about an hour later and not be able to go back to sleep. This sets you up for a next day of being totally exhausted which in turn will make you drink more coffee and eat high calorie snacks, which adds to your frustration and causes further lack of sleep.

If you are trying to get more shut-eye, take a look at your diet. Eating the right foods before you go to bed may help you fall asleep faster and even improve your quality of sleep. You can retrain your eating and sleep habits. Remember to stop eating or snacking at least two hours before bedtime to give your body enough time to digest your food properly.

Find out which magic foods will help you relax and get to sleep ...



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