It’s easy to think your doing everything right yet not getting where you want to be. Your training hard and consistently and your nutrition is on point but your still stuck in a rut.
One of the things people massively overlook is sleep. A poor sleeping pattern can’t be overlooked. It’s one of the most important things you can change to improve your training.
If your not getting enough (quality) sleep you’re not going to perform at 100% and even if you could your body still won’t recover properly.
The frustrating thing is most of the time sleep can be improved by simple life style changes.
When it comes to sleep most people do everything wrong. So with that in mind here are my top 10 tips to getting a great nights sleep.
1. Not everyone needs 8 hours sleep. For some 8 hours might be perfect, others can manage on 6 and some may need even more. What’s important is consistency. Decide what time your going to go to bed and what time your going to wake up and stick with it.
2. Stop using your phone in bed, stop watching tv in bed, stop doing pretty much anything in bed apart from sleeping. (Except that). This is literally killing your sleeping pattern. Your body should associate your bed with sleep and nothing else. Also staring at a screen until the moment you try to go to sleep then complaining you can’t sleep is the modern day equivalent of putting your hand in a fire and complaining you got burned. We are simple creatures and your body wants to sleep when it’s dark and be awake when it’s light. Staring at a screen is literally telling your body to stay awake. Turn everything off 30 min before you eat to be asleep.
3. Avoid coffee or any form of caffeine after 12pm. Yes some people can get away with it but, if your having trouble sleeping the powerful stimulant you’ve been Ingesting all day may just be the cause.
4. Have your last meal 2-3 hours before you want to be asleep. So if you wanted to be asleep by 10 you wouldn’t eat after 8. You shouldn’t be leaving it that late to have your last meal and snacking before bed is a terrible habit anyway especially if weight loss is your goal. A good tip is to brush your teeth straight after your last meal. It should stop you craving unnecessary food.
5. Get your feet up. When you lie down your body will slowly wind down which will help you get to sleep. If your on the go right until you get into bed your not going to get straight to sleep. Be in bed lay down at least 30 minutes before you want to be asleep.
6. Leave the window slightly open. This will allow the carbon dioxide your breath out to escape and a fresh supply of oxygen in. Which is beneficial for your health as well as your sleep. You should also feel less groggy In the morning.
7. Following on from point 6 you want to try and keep cool during the night. Your body likes to regulate your temperature and if your either freezing or boiling it’s having to constantly work hard to keep the balance. You shouldn’t be freezing cold but if you’ve got a set of thermals on, the heating on full blast and an electric blanket your not going to have a restful night.
8. Make sure you go to the toilet before you go to bed. This ones pretty self explanatory
9. Do something calming before you sleep. In the 30 minutes before I go to sleep when everything is turned off I personally listen to a 30 minute sleep/meditation tape to wind down. Does it work? Well I’ve never made it to the end of the tape so I assume so. I also have one of those alarms that gradually lights up to mimic sunset/sunrise. I’ll also set this to go from brightest to dimmest during this period.
10. Try to go to bed happy. If there’s anything on your mind try to settle it before you go to bed. Your never going to sleep if your stressing. Whatever it is isn’t going to helped by thinking about it so learn to shut off.
So, now you know what to do to get to sleep and how get the most out of that sleep. But, what about when you wake up? None of us like waking up, especially waking up early; I should know my alarm goes of at 4:30am.
However with a simple routine you can make things a hell of a lot easier and make waking up early a positive experience.