Sleep is important to function in every aspect of life.
According to the Sleep Foundation, “sleep is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, leaving you refreshed and alert when you wake up. Healthy sleep also helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases.”
If you don’t get enough sleep, both your body and brain suffer. A lack of sleep can cause you problems as you attempt to concentrate and think.
What is “enough” sleep?
According to experts, you need at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Anything less than 6 hours of sleep a night, and you are putting yourself at risk of the following health problems:
●High cortisol levels
In addition to the above, you are also putting yourself at risk of experiencing a bad roundof golf if you don’t get enough sleep the night before. That’s because a lack of sleep can cause your mental strength to suffer, as well as your physical strength – both of which you need to play a good round of golf.
So if you find that you are struggling with your sleep, don’t worry. Here you’ll find some tips and tricks on how to improve your sleep so that you can enjoy your golf round more, and play better, too.
Top 6 Ways to Improve Your Sleep
1. Meditate before bed
Even if you don’t consider yourself someone who is good at or enjoys meditation, it is worth a try.
Take just an extra 15 minutes every night to calm your mind, unplug from all electronics, and get into a headspace where you can easily drift off to sleep.
If you struggle to do this on your own, there are some great apps out there to guide you through meditation. Some of our favorites are Calm and Headspace. These have specific guided meditations that walk you through the process until you feel like you can meditate on your own. Or, you may find that you prefer the guided meditations and continue to use them even after you’ve become accustomed to meditation.
2. Get active during the day
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sorts of issues.
If you aren’t getting enough movement in your daily life, you may find yourself suffering from the following issues:
●High blood pressure
●Type 2 diabetes
Regular exercise throughout your day is important to keep the risk of those issues at bay. Exercise is also great for improving your sleep.
How does that work?
Studies show that exercising daily can help you feel more tired when it comes time to go to bed. Exercising can mean a walk, a yoga class, a workout at the gym, some time and the driving range, and more.
Just note that being active for 30 minutes a day and spending the rest of your day being sedentary is not enough to keep you healthy and happy. You need to incorporate multiple breaks for some form of exercise throughout your day, even if it just means a quick walk around the block.
3. Only consume caffeine in the morning
It may feel as if some days, you can’t make it through the day unless you’ve got a constant flow of caffeine in your system.
However, doing so can negatively affect your sleep pattern.
Caffeine is shown to stay in your system for a minimum of four hours. So when that 3:00 afternoon slump hits, turn to other energy-boosting methods to help you get through the rest of the day. By consuming caffeine this late, chances are good you will struggle when it’s time to go to bed.
To help us get extra energy during the day when we are feeling tired, we love to take a walk, have a 10-minute stretch break, do some quick chores around the house, or make a phone call to a friend.
4. Cut electronics an hour before bedtime
Chances are good you’ve heard about the blue lights that electronics such as laptops, smartphones, and televisions emit.
And we are willing to bet that what you’ve heard isn’t great. However, according to Havard Health Publishing, the negative effects of the blue light exposure we get from our electronics are not as bad as many people think.
Things such as aging, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and more put you at a much higher risk of having any issues with blindness and/or macular degeneration than blue light does. In fact, the maximum brightness on new iPhones is 625 candelas per square meter, which is half as bright as the lights in most retail stores, and 10 times lighter than the ambient illumination from the sun.
However, you still want to put that phone away or turn off that Netflix show about an hour prior to your bedtime.
Because although they may not be causing irreversible damage to your eyes, those blue lights from your electronics are known to affect your sleep. That’s because they mess with your circadian rhythm and your biological clock.
So limit your use of these electronics at night, and swap your phone for a book when you’re nearing bedtime.
5. Drink plenty of water throughout the day
As mentioned above, you don’t want to consume a bunch of water right before bed, or else your sleep will suffer.
However, in order to help you get a better’s night’s sleep, it is important that you drink enough water throughout the day. A study found that people who slept 6 hours a night showed to have much higher rates of dehydration than people who slept 8 hours.
So work on consuming water throughout the day to keep your hydration levels up. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. That means if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume 75 ounces of water every day.
6. Establish a bedtime routine
Many people find that a bedtime routine helps them sleep better. Everyone’s bedtime routine may look different but having one can help to put your body in a relaxed state so that you’re ready for a full night’s sleep.
Some people find that setting an alarm for the time in which they need to start their bedtime routine is helpful. It serves as a cue that it’s time to start winding down.
As you wind down, you may find that some of the following practices help you get into the sleep mindset more easily:
●Turn down the lights
●Lower the thermostat
●Put on relaxing music
●Take a shower
●Create a to-do list for tomorrow
●Turn off electronics
●Do some night yoga
●Drink some chamomile tea
If you feel like your golf game isn’t the best, and it feels like it’s because you’re tired and lacking energy (both physical and mental), then chances are good it’s because of your lack of sleep.
Try incorporating some of the above ways into your daily life, and we bet that you’ll find your sleep improve, and your golf game, too!
Summer flew by and as I sit here enjoying my Pumpkin Spice Everything, I reluctantly realize that Gift Giving Season is just around the corner.
Every year I tell myself that I am going to get creative with my gifts for my favorite people and, not surprisingly, most of my favorite people are golfers.
But creativity and chaos don’t mix very well and since it can be such a hectic time of year, the actual thoughtfulness of gifts can fall by the wayside. The effort of merely shopping for the gift, wrapping it and getting it into the proper hands can be a daunting task. Adding the idea that the gift should also be creative might possibly send one right over the edge.
So this year I started early, made a list of ideas I wish I had thought of years ago, and want to share that list with you now. It’s funny…..some of the best responses to gifts have come from some of the simplest ideas. It doesn’t have to be extravagant……just something that touches the person. I found it to be quite easy to come up with gift ideas….as soon as I stopped making it hard. Follow? Good.
It seems like everyone’s golf bag includes a portable speaker these days. But for those who don’t have one, it can make a really fun gift. A designated speaker that you can keep in your golf bag ensures you never have to go a round without tunes. Yes, many new golf carts have built in speakers now, but do you really want to take the chance? Any personalization you might be able to add to the speaker only increases the fun factor. And extra points if you include a solar battery charger so they don’t have to think about charging that baby up before each round.
I once gave a ball marker from The Masters to one of my favorite golf partners. A ball marker. And you would have thought I gave her the world. I was touched by her gratitude. But then suddenly recalled my own appreciation for a particular wedding gift one of my golf buddies gave me. It was a silver ball marker in the shape of a perfect circle, engraved with our wedding date right on top. Every time I use that ball marker I think of my friend and my wedding day and those happy thoughts actually help my mental approach.
I also remember the first time Phil played in the British Open, or properly called, The Open Championship. He returned with a pack of 10 ball markers, each from one of the golf courses in the active rotation. I have those ball markers to this day and use them on special occasions.
So if you have played a special golf course with a friend, or know that a certain course has special memories for them, a ball marker is a gift that is usually a bigger deal than one might initially think.
The same could go for hats, shirts, yardage books, etc.
Simple, right? But, like the ball markers, this one goes over better than expected. Does one of your golf buddies have a certain color they are obsessed with? Tees in that color will not only make them happy every time they use one, but they will feel unique and special on the tee box. Again, it will only benefit the mental approach to your round of golf.
Having a hard time swallowing this one? My 10 year old son is obsessed with Fernando Tatis Jr. I gave him a bag of 100 pink tees (his idol’s favorite color) for his birthday. He told me they help him channel his “inner Fernando” whenever he uses one, making his tee shots much better. It was his favorite birthday gift. Golf tees. Pink. 100 for $5. I really need to stop over thinking his gifts.
Framed photo of fun round together
If you are anything like me, there is at least one photo op per round with friends. Cool view in the background? Photo. Matching outifts? Pic. Opportunity for great photo bomb? Get that camera out. So there should be plenty of portraits to choose from in your camera roll. Pick one of your favorites, use a flattering filter and frame that baby in something really cool and your gift value is off the charts. Again, simple but oh so meaningful.
Along these lines, if you happen to play a round of golf with a friend who either shot their best round, had a hole in one, etc., grab an extra scorecard (if you can’t snag the original), transcribe the scores for each hole and frame it in something special so they can put it on display. Extra credit if you can include a golf ball or other small token they used during the round.
Personalized Water Bottle (That Fits in Drink Hole Perfectly)
Just like portable speakers, one can never have too many water bottles, especially if it is personalized or includes a special photo of the recipient on one of their favorite golf holes or with some of their favorite playing partners. It’s fun to have something unique when playing your round, and if you happen to lose it on the golf course it is much easier to identify.
Don’t be afraid to get a jump start on your shopping list. In many cases personalization can take a little longer than expected so give YOURSELF the gift of time and start early. I hope the upcoming Holiday Season is peaceful and restorative for you and your loved ones.
Linda Small (black shirt, on the right) was doing what she does best running the 14th Annual George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic at Lakeside Golf Club. She was smiling, running around introducing folks - she doesn’t forget a name - putting out fires and making sure everyone was comfortable, from the mariachi singers that belted out lovely tunes on a Monday morning to celebrities like comedian D.L. Hughley, Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger and boxer Oscar De La Hoya on Oct. 4.
Even when she took a quick break to the go to the bathroom, her phone was still ringing. Event day stops for no one.
But this year was different than any other.
Small, the executive director of the George Lopez Foundation, had a little more on her mind than usual. A week after the tournament, she was scheduled to have TAVR surgery, a heart procedure to replace her aortic valve. She has a bicuspid aortic valve, a condition she’s had since birth.
She delayed the procedure for a bit, with her doctor’s permission of course, so that she could run the annual golf tournament that is such a big fundraiser for the George Lopez Foundation, which services underprivileged children, adults and military families, in addition to creating awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.
“This tournament means a lot to me,” Small said. “It makes a difference and we’re trying to feel some normalcy.”
All players and vendors had to be vaccinated or show a negative COVID test upon entry. Safety is important to Small, but especially given her upcoming procedure.
There was no tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Small wanted to ensure this one was like any other. The celebrities, tricked out golf carts, mariachi band, margaritas and more always make this tournament unique. And with Lopez’s debut of his new cannabis line Chingon, this is certainly unlike any button-up country club tournament.
Lopez, who had a kidney transplant in 2005, is so fond of Small and all she does for the foundation.
“All the kids get help and there’s all the things that happen because of this,” Lopez told the SCGA. “The toys we do at my elementary school or finding organs for people who need them. It’s my name but she’s everything about this tournament and this foundation. To even have the guts to go up and ring somebody’s bell at their house when they’re recovering from a transplant and she probably stayed in there for three hours talking to us. That was the day. If she didn’t ring that bell and bring that card that all those people signed we wouldn’t be here. It’s not the name. Whatever foundation. It’s all the parts that are great. When you have great friends who show up. It would hurt a little bit if everybody didn’t show up, for the (fundraising) number at the end of the day. When they show up, it puts everything in perspective that I didn’t have growing up, that people matter. And people around you matter and having a support system in place matters.”
And having Small around has been huge in Lopez’s mission to help others.
When Small was the director for the National Kidney Foundation, she went to Lopez’s house with that card that had at least 500 signatures on it with well wishes for Lopez. She showed up unannounced. Lopez initially said he didn’t want to be the “poster child” for kidney disease. But after talking to Small, he realized he had a big stage to help make a difference.
“I left the kidney foundation to come here and make a difference,” Small said.
Consider it done.
This year’s new presenting sponsor of the tournament was Natera, a genetic testing company that focuses on organ health, oncology and women’s health. There were dozens of sponsors, which speaks to the friendships and mission of the foundation.
There was a concert and dinner the night before the golf, and another dinner at Lakeside after the tournament.
For years, Small had always been so focused on event planning around golf but never golf itself. She recently started playing and now loves it. She’ll get back to swinging clubs soon.
“It’s such a bummer I can’t play. I took up golf but can’t do anything until after my surgery and I’m recovered,” Small said.
As for Small’s procedure on Oct. 12, Lopez will be there for her.
“I will be waiting to hear she’s all good and feeling better and repaired. And I’ll go ring her bell and see how she likes it,” Lopez said with that hearty laugh. “She’s just awesome.”