9 Basic Exercises Everyone Should do For Better Fitness

9 Basic Exercises Everyone Should do For Better Fitness

A productive workout session should have the right balance of functional, isometric, and plyometric exercises. Functional exercises (push-ups) work on multiple muscle groups simultaneously while isometric exercises (planks) strengthen muscles. Plyometric exercises, however, aid in rapid muscle elongation for effective muscle strengthening (jump squat). These nine exercises should help you achieve your fitness goals.


1. Bodyweight Squats

The exercise strengthens the most powerful muscle group, i.e., the legs and the glutes. When squatting ensures your butt is pushed outwards while the thighs and the hips push your body outwards. If performed incorrectly, squats can take a toll on your knees. Your knees should move during the first half of the squat, leaving your hips to finish the movement.

Squats are particularly essential for expectant women as they help open up the pelvis. Holding the squatting position for 10-30 seconds also strengthens abdominal muscles and reduces back pain. But note, wearing the appropriate gear, e.g., maternity tops when performing the exercise enhances blood flow and proper movement.


2. Glute Bridges

Squats can take a toll on the glute muscles leaving weak and unable to perform additional body movements on the lower body. This creates a muscular imbalance to the body, which can result in an injury. Glute bridges eliminate this effect by working on a specific muscle group.


3. Lunges

This exercise works on all muscles located on the lower body, i.e., hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. There are many variations of this workout (walking lunges, split squat lunges, reverse lunges) so you can never get bored when performing it. Lastly, you can perform lunges after squatting or deadlifting.


4. Interval Training

The exercise involves alternating between long intervals of less intense activity and short bursts of intense activity. It is an excellent addition to any fitness regimen as it works the heart muscles. Interval training is also ideal for people working out to lose weight. It would help if you varied your pace throughout the workout to stimulate the aerobic system.

For example, if you are walking, you can incorporate short bursts of jogging into the brisk walks. People who are less fit can alternate leisure walks with short periods of fast walks. Other benefits of interval training include:

· It is more time-efficient as you can complete an entire workout within a short period

· No need for special equipment

· Improves aerobic capacity


5. Mountain Climbing

Just as its name, the exercise mimics how climbers mount steep peaks. The workout strengthens your core, arms, and legs as well as the back. If the exercise exerts excessive pressure on your wrists, lift the upper part of your body while placing your hands on an elevated place to minimize the weight placed on the arms.

Hikers at peak
Photographer: Mathias Jensen | Source: Unsplash

6. Push-up

The exercise works on the upper part of the body muscles, i.e., the shoulders, triceps and biceps, and the chest. Try performing different variations of the workout if the standard procedure is too challenging. You can complete the exercise using your knees to minimize the weight your hands need to lift. Also, you can place your feet on an elevated place to increase intensity.

Photographer: Sam Owoyemi | Source: Unsplash

7. Split Squat

It is a variation of the regular squat, and it usually works on the hamstring and quadriceps muscles of the legs. Your body goes from a half-kneeling position to a standing position while maintaining balance. Ensure your feet are firmly rooted on the surface during the entire movement. If you are finding it challenging to keep your body balanced, perform the exercise close to a wall to allow your hand to rest on the wall for support.


8. Planks

This exercise works on the core muscles because you need to hold the position for an extended period. It also builds strength on your upper body, lower back, and abdominal muscles at the same time. Planks are ideal for people with lower back pain. You can challenge yourself by placing your feet or hands up on an exercise ball as you hold the plank.


9. Burpees

Burpees is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that will increase your heart rate and help burn calories. Burpees work on different muscle groups and the lower and upper body muscles. Be sure to wear proper footwear when performing this exercise. This is because they have a high impact on the knees.



Building a workout regimen around these exercises should help work on different muscle groups. The idea is to alternate between strength and resistance exercises to work on multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

2019 & the future at Somnox

2019 & the future at Somnox

2019 – what a year. What started out as a student project to help our family and friends get rid of their sleeping problems, has grown into a company that helps thousands of people with sleeping problems all over the world. A year full of challenges, in which setting priorities proved to be the key to making the biggest impact on our mission to help 100 million people.

In 2019, we began shipping the Sleep Robot. Thousands of users have already slept more than 100,000+ nights with our solution. We’ve heard wonderful stories from sleepers around the world that give us goosebumps every single day. This resulted in 4.2/5 stars on Trustpilot out of 46 reviews. We also received several awards such as the Red Dot Design, Men’s Health ‘Best Tech Products of 2020’ and the Best Personal Care Innovations 2019 by Popular Science!

We now have 24(!) people in our office, including Kelly (ex-Nightbalance & Philips). She will accelerate our path to clinical validation. In addition, the Sleep Robot is partially reimbursed by Dutch insurer ONVZ and we have received initial (positive) results from pilot trials at care institutions of patients taking less sleep medication, recovering their sleep rhythms, and about patients who simply feel better during the day.

We had two Community Days that contributed to the further development of a vision for the future of Somnox. A future in which we want to make a good night’s rest accessible to everyone.

We can’t wait for the twenties. The beginning of a new decade in which we will take steps to let 100 million people experience the superpower of good sleep and the feeling of relaxation during the day. We will face greater challenges than ever before. We will have to move faster than ever before. But don’t worry: together with you, we’re going to make it a decade that will be at least as beautiful as the previous one.

Best Natural Sleep Aids

Best Natural Sleep Aids

When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep? You know, seven or eight hours of uninterrupted slumber … what a crazy concept, right? A good night's sleep seems simple, but in reality, it can be quite difficult to fall — and stay — asleep for seven hours in a 24-hour period. Sleep aids and meditation may help you calm down and unwind at bedtime. Exercise, melatonin, lavender, and proper nutrition play a part too.

Understanding the Sleep Process

When you hit your pillow and close your eyes at night (or during the day), the brain cycles through a few stages. During the first stage, usually 5 to 15 minutes or so, your eyes are closed, and you’re dozing, but can awaken easily. Stage two is light sleep, where your body temperature and heart rate drop. Deep sleep occurs in stage three. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep typically comes within 90 minutes. As each REM stage gets longer, you’ll start to dream.

Lack of “good” sleep usually leads to low energy, moodiness, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating. Acute insomnia occurs when you’re stressed out about a particular situation. But chronic insomnia is a term for poor sleep, at least three nights a week, that lasts three months or longer. Reasons for chronic insomnia may be changes in the environment, your biological clock, work habits, or a medical or psychiatric issue.


Although the human body produces its own melatonin, it doesn’t actually make you fall or stay asleep. Sleep experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine say you should use melatonin supplements sparingly. They work best when you get outside in the sunlight as often as possible. If, after a week or two, you find that melatonin supplements aren’t working, stop taking them and consult your doctor. The supplements can be dangerous if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, or suffer from depression, seizures, or an autoimmune disorder. A Sleep Robot may be your best solution since it helps you slow down your breathing naturally, and enables you to slip into sleep without dangerous chemicals.

Plants Are Perfect!

Scented and air-cleaning plants are natural sleep aids. You just need to place a few in your bedroom.

Aloe vera produces oxygen, and it won’t need a lot of water or direct sunlight. Aloe fronds release a gel that’s great for use on cuts and burns. When you get an aloe, be sure to keep soil and a few small containers on hand, as these plants are very prolific.

Peace lilies filter air toxins and increase the bedroom’s humidity. More humidity keeps airborne microbes at bay and reduces allergic reactions, so you’ll breathe better at night. Peace lilies thrive in shade or filtered sunlight. Keep them away from pets and small children.

Jasmine is a fragrant exotic plant that will help you relax. Its foliage and flowers are used in tea, perfumes, oils, soaps, and bath products. Jasmine usually blooms in white, but flowers may be light pink or ivory. Place a few jasmine plants in your bedroom and then drift off to dreamland.

Lavender emits a pleasant scent for calming and relaxing the body. You can grow plants in your bedroom if you have a window with direct sunlight, or a plant light will do. Lavender oils and bubble bath soaps help take the edge off a stressful day.

Notice, we didn’t include the famous poppy flower. L. Frank Baum may have been toying with artistic license when the flowers put Dorothy into a deep sleep in The Wizard of Oz. Poppies contain opium, but unless you ingest or inject it, the flower is not a sleep aid. (Hey, he created a talking scarecrow, lion and tin man as well!)


Exercise and outdoor activities get you moving — and tuckered out. Get off the couch and get active! Give yourself at least 30 minutes to wind down after a workout.

Falling and staying asleep can definitely be stressful. But you can help the process by altering your sleep environment. Block out unnecessary light, turn off the TV, and power down the outside world. Unlike sleep supplements (which can hamper your ability to wake up in the morning), the Somnox Sleep Robot uses calming music and your own breathing rhythms to help you fall asleep naturally.

Connie Proctor, a former professional dancer, is now a physical therapist and yoga instructor who advocates for wellness for people of all abilities.

New: Somnox Support 2.0

New: Somnox Support 2.0

Where can I find the right information? In the app? The manual? On a website? Or should I make a phone call? Why isn’t there one central point where I can find everything?

We heard you. Therefore we are pleased to announce the Somnox Support 2.0 – a new way to support you through an updated live chat, an always up-to-date knowledge base and support messages for new Sleep Robot users.

Renewed Support Center

A large part of our Somnox Support 2.0 is our renewed Support Center. The latest information is now always available through the app. You can look up a question in the app:



Or you can use your browser of choice on your phone, tablet or computer to go to https://support.somnox.com and type in your question:



Get direct help from us

You want help. By real people. We understand that. You can now reach us on weekdays from 09:00 to 17:00 CET via our renewed chat. Click on the chat icon in the lower right corner of your app and start a conversation with one of our Sleep Supporters:



Improved experience for new users

For the past few months, we have only sent messages via e-mail to help you and other new users on their way. The biggest stumbling block was that we didn’t reach you in the right place or when you were actually using your Sleep Robot. That’s why we found a solution that allows us to send messages to new users at the right time and the right place: via the app when you’re actively using the Sleep Robot. By doing this, we want to make it easy for everyone to understand the Sleep Robot.

“I like the fact that everything is now in one central place.” – 100% of test users

Start your sleep adventure

If you are a Sleep Robot user, you can make use of all the benefits of Somnox Support 2.0. Download the update on iOS (click here) or Android (click here). If you don’t have one yet, you can order the Sleep Robot with our 30-night sleep trial. You will be actively supported by our new Somnox Support for 30 nights, so that you can finally feel rested again.

18 Tips to Create the Ultimate Sleep Environment and Improve Your Quality of Sleep

18 Tips to Create the Ultimate Sleep Environment and Improve Your Quality of Sleep

Picture this: Despite your jam-packed schedule, you’ve still reserved enough time to unwind and relax before bed. Your bedroom is cool, calm and dark, and you’re able to fall asleep and stay asleep without any trouble. The next morning, you manage to wake up before your alarm and feel well-rested, perhaps even energetic, and ready to take on the world. If this sounds like a scenario you can only dream of, you’re not alone – only about half of Americans wake up feeling well-rested. We’ve gathered the 17 best tips for creating the ideal sleep environment to improve your quality of sleep so you can (finally) get a good night’s sleep.

Create the Ideal Sleep Environment

  1. Declutter your room. Keeping your bedroom tidy and removing any potential distractions is essential for your body to begin to relax. Important work documents, busy artwork or even a treadmill are all examples of the stressful reminders of your responsibilities that can distract you while you are trying to sleep. Instead, try to keep your room clutter-free and the décor to a minimum.
  2. Reduce light exposure. For an ideal sleep environment, try room darkening window treatments, heavy curtains, or an eye mask to eliminate as much natural light as possible. Light can come from anywhere—streetlights, your hallway, even the moon and the stars—all of which can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Blue light exposure can also affect you quality of sleep. Research shows that blue light exposure keeps you awake by increasing alertness, shifting your circadian rhythm, and suppressing the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Set an alarm an hour before you want to lay down signaling it’s time to give up your devices, and begin your bedtime ritual or take up reading instead. You may even consider investing in filtering eyeglasses to wear throughout the day as you are looking at a computer or phone screen to avoid straining your eyes.
  3. Use Essential Oils. It’s no surprise that smell influences how we feel by associating scents with emotions and memories. Often overlooked, essential oil for sleep can help you wind down, relax, and eventually drift off. Essential oil aromatherapy is a quick and inexpensive solution to combat poor sleep, helping you relax physically and mentally. Lavender and vanilla are the more popular oils to help you sleep and can be added to an aromatherapy diffuser or vaporizer to disperse into the bedroom.
  4. Emphasize symmetry with furniture placement. For a better sleep environment, it’s essential to think about the positioning of your furniture as this plays a role in the functionality and symmetry of your bedroom. For optimal balance, position your bed against the middle of a wall as far away from the door as possible, and with room on both sides. When lying in bed, you should be facing the door with your feet closest to the entrance. If possible, try to avoid lying with your head underneath the window.
  5. Find your ideal pillow. To maintain spinal alignment while you sleep, the standard rule of thumb is to replace your pillow every 1 to 2 years. However, if you lie awake unable to get comfortable, or wake up with headaches, neck aches, and shoulder pains, you might consider finding a replacement earlier. When choosing pillow firmness—ranging from softer choices like down pillows to firmer choices like buckwheat pillows—keep your sleeping position in mind. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer a thin pillow, back sleepers find that medium support works best, while side sleepers favor thicker pillows. Furthermore, if you have allergies or asthma, hypoallergenic covers are an option, protecting from any allergens that may trigger your symptoms.
  6. Invest in a new mattress. It’s equally important to take into consideration your sleeping position as this will determine whether a soft or firm bed is the right choice for you. Whichever mattress type you’re leaning towards—perhaps memory foam, natural fiber, or a cooling and heating mattress—be sure to test out the options in-store. Even mail-order mattress companies offer free home trials. Although most mattresses last up to 10 years, the upfront cost can indeed be intimidating. If finances are tight, foam toppers can be added to your mattress as a comfort boost and to help prevent waking up stiff and achy. Some mattresses are designed with specific health conditions in mind, so check with your doctor when selecting a new mattress if you have sleep apnea, sciatica, scoliosis, etc.
  7. Use the Somnox Sleep Robot. If stress and anxiety have affected your ability to fall asleep, the world’s first Sleep Robot can help calm your mind and relax your body. The robot is equipped with calming music, replicates breathing rhythms, and fits naturally against your chest for enhanced comfort and a sense of security. You can now relax and fall asleep easier by subconsciously adapting your breathing pattern to slow down and synchronize with that of the robot.
  8. Consider new sheets. When shopping around for sheets, you’ll notice that there are several different thread counts, weaves and materials to choose from. These all contribute to the warmth and softness of the sheets, and choosing the ideal bed sheets depends on the type of sleeper you are. Do you wake up in the middle of the night shivering, despite the endless layers covering you? Popular choices to combat the cold are fleece and jersey, followed by silk. Or maybe you wake up feeling as though you’ve been sleeping in a sauna. If this sounds like you, consider looking into materials like cotton and linen or maybe even bamboo bed sheets. Designed for “hot sleepers”, bed sheets with breathable fabric and temperature-regulating properties trap in less heat to help you sleep through the night.
  9. Discover the perfect bedspread. Offered in many different styles—from comforters and duvet covers, to blankets and throws— these top layers give extra warmth and style to your bed. Every bedspread provides a different level of weight and texture and what works for your sleep environment and comfort is entirely up to you.
  10. Paint your bedroom walls a soothing color. Color has a powerful effect on our mood and can influence our sleep quality by creating a calm environmentResearch shows that the best bedroom color for sleep is blue, followed by yellow, green, and silver. Try to stick to neutral, pastel, or muted shades, as bold colors can trick the brain into thinking it needs to be alert.
  11. Use a sound machine/conditioner. If you have a partner that snores, live on a busy street, or catch yourself lying awake lost in your thoughts, a white noise sleep machine might be just what you’re missing. Light sleepers may prefer an app that offers a variety of nature-like noises such as crashing waves or light rainfall. Or, a simple bedroom fan could do the trick for someone uncomfortable in pure silence.

Develop Healthy Habits for a Better Night’s Sleep

  1. Select the ideal sleeping temperature. Whether you reside in Detroit, MI in the middle of winter, or Tampa, FL in the summer, the best temperature to support a healthy night’s sleep is usually between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this varies from person to person, and other elements in your environment—such as climate conditions, bedding type, and pajamas—can have an influence on your best temperature for sleeping. Some people tend to be warmer sleepers than others, which could also sway their ideal sleeping temperature. Nonetheless, temperatures over 75 and below 54 degrees Fahrenheit are sure to disrupt your sleep.
  2. Refrain from sleeping with pets. You may think of your pet as a member of the family, so why wouldn’t you share your bed with them? 45 percent of Americans allow their dogs in bed but that may be what is causing your restless nights. Many people have allergies to cats and dogs that can be aggravated when sharing a bed. These allergens can linger in clothes, pillows, and bedding and could cause a reaction. With a wide range of styles of pet beds and crates to consider—such as a nesting bed, elevated bed, or a heating bed—it could be time to look into an alternate sleeping arrangement for your companion.
  3. Avoid caffeine consumption after 2 p.m. We’ve all been there—it’s 10 p.m. and you are still wired from that afternoon cup of joe. Research shows that consuming caffeine even 6 hours before bed can disrupt your sleep. If you rely on a daily afternoon pick-me-up, chances are your caffeine-infused stimulant could be affecting your sleep quality and duration. Begin your day with highly caffeinated drinks and slowly reduce your caffeine intake throughout the morning by switching to tea or decaffeinated coffee. You’ll definitely want to cut out caffeine altogether by 2 p.m.
  4. Exercise regularly for better sleep. Exercise not only releases endorphins but also helps you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling well-rested. Even as little as 10 minutes of exercise at any time during the day can greatly increase sleep quality. Joining a local gym, meeting regularly with a personal trainer, or finding a physical activity that you enjoy are all ways to get a good sweat in. If you have a limiting schedule, you can even create an in-home gym for flexibility and convenience.
  5. Create a nighttime routine. Most activities that many of us do in the evening—such as watching TV or using our phones—can be overstimulating. By staying consistent with a calming bedtime ritual, your body will recognize that it’s time for sleep, and screen time may not be as tempting. Your nighttime routine can be as simple as brushing your teeth, washing your face, flossing and maybe even enjoying a decaffeinated bedtime tea. The options are endless, and how you begin to wind down is ultimately up to you. Dim the lights, unwind, and relax.
  6.  Avoid naps too close to the evening. While short power naps are encouraged and offer many benefits, long naps in the late afternoon and evening can have negative effects on your sleep quality. Instead, limit naps from 15 to 30 minutes in the early afternoon. This will increase your chances of waking up feeling rejuvenated while still being able to fall asleep easily come bedtime. Your circadian rhythm drops in the early afternoon—between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.—and can leave you feeling more sleepy and in need of a nap. This is the best time to doze off without disrupting your sleep at night.
  7. Resist snoozing the alarm. You actually wake up more tired after snoozing your alarm, especially if hitting the snooze button multiple times is part of your routine. You can’t reach the restorative level of sleep between alarms, ultimately confusing your brain and throwing off the natural wake up process. If you sleep for seven to nine hours per night, your body shouldn’t need the extra sleep and could even begin waking up on its own before your first alarm goes off. Try gradually reducing the number of times you allow yourself to snooze the alarm clock until you are waking up after just the first.

Originally published on Redfin