We all suffered an unfortunate but inevitable tragedy the past weekend. The clocks have cursed us with an hour’s less sleep that left us blurry eyed and winey. As part of a healthy lifestyle we need sleep for our bodies to recover from exercise so here are 8 ways we recommend making the most of your shut-eye.
It’s as important as our training and nutrition plans. While we rest, our bodies are working hard to ensure that we are fit and ready to go the next day During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. For athletes, it’s also our best time to heal. Making sure we are well rested is one of the best ways to reduce the effects of DOMS as well as reducing our risk of obesity, physical development and our immune system.
Usain Bolt often credited his 2008 records at 100m and 200m to sleep saying that he needs it for his training to be “absorbed by my body”. If it’s Usain’s secret, then surely these are worth a try.
8 tips for a better nights sleep
Stick to a sleep schedule
Try to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at similar times. Your body will quickly get used to what time you go to sleep and start telling you you’re tired and it’s time for bed. It’s widely researched that 7-9 hours is an ideal amount of rest.
Shut it all down!
The soft blue glow from our mobile phones and tablets can hurt your sleep. The littlest distractions like a quick glance at a bedside clock can make our minds race. Turn off your TV’s, computers and other sources of blue light an hour or so before bed. It can also be handy to turn your electric clocks away from view so they don’t distract you during the night.
Dim the lights and get in the mood
Melatonin is the hormone that brings on sleep. We can trick our bodies into producing higher levels of it by dimming light 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. This will ease you into a gentle and deep sleep, the best way of letting our bodies repair.
Always keep it natty!
To make sure we’re most comfortable it’s important our necks lie naturally when we sleep. If you wake up with a stiff neck blame your pillow. Do you sleep on your side? Line your nose up, centred to your body. And don’t snooze on your stomach because you’ll twist your necks.
Bedtime rituals help you relax
Having a pre-bedtime ritual helps your body build an association with something meaning sleep. A lot of people read before bed which helps calm them down and relax them before trying to sleep.
Now it kills me to say this but avoid caffeine. Don’t worry it still healthy to squeeze in your mornings pick me up but even small amounts that can be found in chocolate can affects your Z’s. Check your labels, some painkillers and weight loss capsules can contain caffeine so always know what you’re putting into your system.
Eat right at night
Have a light evening snack if your hunger bug strikes. Don’t eat anything too heavy or too late because it can affect our digestive system which affects how well you sleep. To make sure you don’t wake up to the sound of your own stomach, finish eating at least an hour before bed.
Work out smart
Exercising obviously tires the body so making sure we exercise is paramount to a deep sleep. The buzz we get after a workout can keep you away so aim to cool-down and stretch off 3 to 4 hours before you head to bed.