Sleep is important. Very important actually – it’s the biggest opportunity for our body to recovery from the daily stresses we, sometimes inadvertently, put it through.
A sound night sleep is vital to general health and wellbeing as well as athletic performance and recovery. We are inundated with sleep aids from lavender scented pillow sprays, special pillows and bedding, sleep technology, air purifiers, supplements, white noise and more. It’s such big business these days, with some elite sports teams hiring the services of professional sleep consultants. Some professional athletes even bring their own pillows and bedding away with them.
The phrase ‘slept like a baby’ is right on the money. That unbroken, tranquil, harmonious sleep that not even next doors yappy dog could wake you from – bliss! Here are 4 simple tips you can start straight away to aid a restful night in bed.
Regulate sleep and wake up times
Our body works best with rhythm and routine. Irregular sleep patterns will be detrimental to sleep quality. Your bedrooms should be in complete darkness… not too hot or not too cold.-somewhere between 16-21 degrees is the best way to go!
Reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake
People metabolise at different rates and there isn’t a golden answer as to when you should put the glass down, or when make a swift exit from the Starbucks queue (other expensive high street coffee shop chains are available). Both caffeine and alcohol can affect the time we spend in a deep sleep, so try to limit your intake post mid-afternoon.
Reduce the use of tech 60-90 minutes before your scheduled bed time
Blue light can prevent our body from having a good night’s sleep. Scrolling aimlessly through social media, replying to messages and/or emails will inevitably lead to higher than desired internal stress levels.
Practice mindfulness or other calming measure
Telling your partner that you are going away on holiday last minute is not a conversation to be having 10 minutes before you go to sleep! Instead, try reading (perhaps nothing that will invoke deep, unsettling thoughts), or light stretching, yoga and a breathing routine always help.
At the end of the day it all comes down to a simple bedtime routine. Let your body and mind wind down, alleviate the day’s stresses and enjoy the sleepy rewards.
A large percentage of people report that they get somewhere between 5-7 hours of sleep and rarely make it through a whole night without waking, or they struggle to drift off in the first place. Experts recommend 7.5-9 hours in order to maximise the sleep cycle in its entirety.
Following these simple tips should help promote the production of a hormone called melatonin, which has been shown to improve the onset, duration and quality of sleep.
I hope you find this article helpful, and it hasn’t put you to sleep (unless you are reading at night with your phone screen brightness dimmed right down, eh-hem!).
Strength & Conditioning Coach