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By Bing Pilates, Dec 20 2016 10:13PM

We looked at how to improve your morning routine recently. So it's only fair to the moon and stars that we look at ways to improve your bedtime routine to give yourself the best chance of having a cosy night's sleep. In fact Joseph Pilates himself wrote in a book advice on how to sleep better, so let's start there...

1) Environment — your room should be cool, quiet, well ventilated, and dark. Your mattress should be firm and your pillow not too bulky. Also, don't use too heavy a cover — use the lightest cover possible to make you warm. Thanks, Joseph.

2) Reduce blue light — exposure to light during the day is beneficial, but at night it has the opposite effect. This is due to its impact on your circadian rhythm, tricking your brain into thinking it is still daytime. Blue light, which comes from things like mobile phones, TV and laptops is the worst in this regard. Try not looking at any of these at least an hour before you sleep.

3) Give up caffeine — not forever! Just late in the day. The stimulation of your nervous system from drinking it may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. If you're really desperate for the beans at night, try a decaffeinated coffee instead.

4) Give up booze — again, not for all eternity! Just not in the evening. You may think that it helps you nod off better, but it will disturb your sleep pattern once it wears off.

5) Make sleep a priority — don't banish the land of nod to something you *groan* "have to do". Embrace it and get a schedule going so that you are in bed and ready to sleep at the same time each night (as much as possible). Without regular good sleep, you'll be half the person you are. Or zombified at best.

6) Don't sleep with work — leave all traces of your daily work outside of the bedroom. This ties in with the previous blue light tip. Don't lie in bed with your laptop doing work late at night— it might only serve to stress you out and bed is your place of peace and harmony. Remember, work is not your life and has no place in your bedroom.

7) Eat light in the evening — a heavy meal too late on in the evening won't help you drift off when bedtime comes a-knocking. Try to finish eating big meals at least two to three hours before hopping into bed.

Until next time, readers...zzzzzzzzzzz......

By Bing Pilates, Jun 29 2016 12:42PM

Pilates isn't only good exercise for your body. It’s also a chance for you to disconnect from the external stresses of life and give your mind a deserved rest. Below are just a few reasons we believe your mind will benefit from Pilates:

1) A stressless body equals a stressless mind Put simply: when your body feels stress, your mind feels it too. Your body releases hormones when stressed that causes your muscles to tense, and this can result in physical pain. Doing Pilates is a great way to ease any pain in your muscles. Once there is a reduction of pain like this, your mind will feel more at ease.

2) Pilates makes you feel happier When your body is positively stressed, like when doing exercise such Pilates, endorphins are released into the body. These chemicals are what make you feel good. And when you feel good, you feel happy.

3) Your emotions are easier to control Your emotions and breathing are connected. For example, your breathing increases as you become worked up over something. A more controlled breathing allows you to control your emotions more. Breathing is one of the six core principles in Pilates. So if you can master this technique in class, you can use it in your day-to-day life to help in any stressful situation.

4) General serenity Like meditation, Pilates allows you to concentrate on you, just you. And everyone knows that a bit of mediation helps release the mind manacles of modern life and put your mind at ease. So as with meditation, that chance to focus deeply on yourself during Pilates, without any external distractions, gives you ample opportunity to help discover a peaceful state of mind.

5) Increases your confidence Pilates helps you to realign your body by giving you good body posture. It also helps tone your muscles and increase their strength. And if you feel that your physique is in good shape on the outside then your confidence will be boosted on the inside.

And relax. But if you're still not, do some Pilates (it's very good for the mind).

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