Unless you’ve been living in a cave (in which case you wouldn’t be reading this), you’ll know that sleep is important.
Most of us are probably guilty of not getting enough shut-eye and although it will vary from person to person on how much sleep we require (for most it’s 8 hours) we all need a good amount to allow us to perform at our best and aid recovery - not just when it comes to our training but in everyday life too.
Better quality sleep equals more energy, which equals better results.
Sleep deprivation also appears to increase hunger and it’s more than likely that unhealthier food options will be chosen as a result.
A lack of sleep can also effect your levels of cognition meaning things such as problem solving become a more difficult task.
So basically you get the drift... sleep is vital.
Here are 7 things you can do to get the most out of your sleep:
1. Minimise your caffeine intake
It’s been said before but it makes a huge difference, caffeine acts as a central nervous system stimulant and the more you drink, the more alert you are. Perhaps opt for a decaffeinated version later in the day.
2. Wash the day away
Taking a bath or shower before you go to bed and putting on a fresh pair of pyjamas will make you feel cosy, comfortable and hopefully more relaxed before going to sleep.
3. Set an alarm to turn your phone on airplane mode 2 hours before you want to go to bed
This is an important one! This will help you not be distracted by social media apps and group chats and texts, prioritising your time to getting into a bedtime routine or switching off thoughts of any external distractions. It will also mean spending more quality time with loved ones (brownie points!)
4. Read a book in bed (not a kindle)
NED (no electronic devices) before you go to bed can help prepare you for sleep. Studies have shown that even the small amount of light coming from your personal devices can promote wakefulness. Get a good old fashioned book and enjoy getting lost in its pages instead.
5. Mind dump before you go to bed
If you're feeling anxious or worrying about a million things you have to do then write it all down; clearing it from your head and having it on a piece of paper in front of you can help ease any late night worries you have.
6. Join an evening yoga or Pilates class
If you have the time and access, try a class in the evening instead of watching TV at home; it can be a great way to practice being mindful and clear your head from the distractions of the day.
7. Stick to a regular bed time
Pretty self explanatory, but getting into a routine will help your body clock know what it’s supposed to do. You'll not only be able to sleep better but waking up in the morning should be a less difficult task too.
The bottom line is that we need to do everything we can to optimise the quantity and quality of sleep that we get. Rest and recovery is often over looked when it comes to getting results in the gym, but it's a key part of your programme and sleep is the main player.
... Hopefully you got some good tips (or at least were reminded of what you already know from reading this blog) and we didn't bore you to sleep...!