Fitness Tips 

It is 1 a.m. and you have been laying there for an hour and a half, unable to sleep.

Your heart begins to pound. How will you cope with a full day in a busy office if you cannot sleep? What if this goes on night after night? First, you need to be reassured that insomnia is very common. Indeed, it is a symptom of modern life. Throughout most of human history, work was physically demanding but relatively stress-free. Today, the opposite is true, with many people spending their whole working day sitting still, while their minds and nervous systems are subjected to relentless stress: traffic jams, flickering screens, advertising, social media, and 24-hour-news frightening them with everything from overpopulation, to climate change.

Of course, nothing guarantees a good night, but you can at least improve your chances by trying the following

Get into a routine. The body loves routine.

But if you start napping during the day, or going to bed and getting up at erratic times, your mind will struggle to regulate its sleep patterns. Gaining control over the light/dark cycle is key. A certain amount of darkness is necessary if the body is to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. So get out of bed at the same time every morning, then go outside and put your face up to the sun. At night, go to bed at the same time and make sure your room is as dark as possible.

Have a settling down period.

For at least an hour before you go to bed, you need to calm the mind and nervous system. Think of your mind as a snow globe that has been shaken by the events of the day. If you are to sleep, you need those little flakes of snow to settle back down. Switch off all screens, whether that be TVs, smartphones, or laptops. And do not listen to the radio. Instead, do some gentle yoga and meditation, or read a book. If you do read, choose something light and gentle- P. G. Wodehouse for example.

Get moving.

The benefits of exercise can hardly be exaggerated. First, it will tire your body. Second, it will reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system. And, third, it will reduce depression. But take your exercise out of doors and try and do it during the day. The more light exposure you get, the more your body will desensitize to the artificial light of evening. Far too many people go to a late exercise class. Leaping about in a brightly lit hall a couple of hours before bed will make sleep harder, not easier.

Turn your bedroom into a sacred space.

Do all you can to make your sleeping place suitable. Most people find a messy bedroom more difficult to sleep in than a clean and tidy one. If possible, transform it into a minimalist space, removing heavy furniture, piles of old clothes, and anything else you can see. Next, make sure it is quiet and peaceful. If you have noisy neighbors, try masking their noise with earplugs. These do not always work, so try a CD recording of gentle rainfall or sea sounds as well. Finally, make sure it is dark and cool. During the summer months, you could even buy some black-out curtains.

Be careful what you eat last at night.

Eating a big meal just before going to bed is like stoking up the engine of a steam train before halting at a station. Above all, do not eat foods hard to digest, and stay away from alcohol and refined sugar. Obviously, caffeine should be avoided, and not only last at night. Research suggests that even the caffeine ingested at lunchtime can interfere with sleep. However, do not go to bed hungry either. Try a glass of warm milk, or herbal tea, plus a ripe banana and a handful of walnuts and almonds; these will supply you with tryptophan and magnesium, both of which relax and soothe the nervous system.

Insomnia is best tackled via a combination of things. So make your room cool and dark, minimize noise, take plenty of exercise during the day, go to bed at the same time, switch off all screens an hour before bed, practise a little yoga, and then eat a banana and drink some warm milk. And never forget that sleep is not some luxurious state. It is natural. Give your body time and help and eventually you will sleep.

Motivational story 

You wake up in the morning. A little groggy, look up at the ceiling and all you can think about is what to eat for breakfast. You get up, walk past the mirror and instantly start to feel down about how you look. Thinking “Why cant i just change? Why is this so hard? Everyone else seems to find it so easy…”!

You visit the toilet. Sit down and your stomach hits your thighs. You sigh and hold you head in your hands wondering when will this ever shift.
You make your way to the kitchen. The cupboards are all full, yet everything seems so empty. Food choices are so confusing… “I’ll eat porridge, as all the olympians eat that and they all look great. However, its carbs! Someone on the internet said that carbs are bad first thing in the morning. I’ll eat an apple instead. But wait… someone at work said that the sugars in an apple are bad for you! I’ll just have a coffee – it’ll be fine. No sugar or milk though, as thats all bad for me…. isnt it?”.
So you drink your coffee and for a moment you feel ok. The nice caffeine rush. The sun rise is breaking and its going to be a nice day. You turn to get washed and notice your shadow on the wall… wow, even my shadow is fat! Is this how people see me?
You get dressed and your trousers now become difficult to put on. You do a little jump to get your bum in. You poke down the bottom of your belly into your trousers and try to put the button in. The waistline is digging in so much that you’re convinced its going to cut your skin one day. You’ve now got an overhang and have to find a top to wear to cover that up. A nice baggy one will do… something that doesn’t cling too tight to your stomach and constantly remind you of how big you are.
You get to work and convinced that EVERYONE is staring at you. “that fat git… why cant they just diet and workout, its not that hard”… thats what you think they’re saying behind your back! The steps to your office appear to be a mountain and you’re worried that getting to the top of them and managing to breathe like a “normal” person will soon be gone.
Summers just around the corner. Time to invest in some lighter clothing, through fear of over sweating and then being the “smelly fat person”.
You get home – exhausted! Sit down. Starving as all you’ve eaten is a salad from the work canteen as you didn’t want people to think you ate crap, however the crap in the cupboard now is literally shouting at you. You cant drown out the screams.
You open the fridge – oh, one chocolate sandwich wont hurt… i haven’t eaten anything all day! You take that first bite and for a second, a split second, its just you and something that actually makes you feel human. Its sweet, its soft and it tastes so good. A bit more chocolate wont hurt.
You still havent really eaten that much – you know this. So you order a pizza. The menu in the draw says it only has 400kcal per slice and the government say i can eat 2,000 a day, so 3 slices wont hurt…. will it?
30mins later, you’re hungry again and the pizza arrives. It smells sooooo good. You tuck in, turn on the TV and before you know it 7 of the 8 slices have gone and you’re wondering if you should really eat that last slice. Its late now, bed soon, but you dont want it to go to waste – one more slice wont hurt!
As you finish it, the math quickly goes through your head. You’ve actually just eaten over 3,000 calories. You start to feel miserable. “Why did i just eat that! Why couldn’t i have stopped at 3 slices, like i planned!”.
You go to get ready for bed. You take your trousers off and the release on your skin feels so good, but reminds you of how fat you are. The shadow of your body on the bed reminds you again and you feel fatter than ever before! You lay down on the bed and its creaks… “thats a new creak” you say. You turn over, turn the light off and close your eyes….
A tear rolls down your cheek… All you can think of is “why…. why me!”
You wake up in the morning. A little groggy, look up at the ceiling and all you can thin