We all know that sleep is an important component of any training plan, physically sleeping allows our bodies to recover but not only limited to that, mentally as well. Whatever your goal may be, fat loss, muscle gain, training to run half a marathon, or just be fit and healthy so you may be super productive throughout the day, adequate and a good sleep is a must. A study done on adolescent students determined that insufficient sleep duration was a contributor to metabolic disruption, increased body mass index, less alertness and productivity, and ultimately obesity. Good thing is we know ways in which we can help you sleep better and get the most out of your day! Here are some strategies you may implement straight away!
Get More Sunlight
We should be spending at least 30 minutes out in the sun! Go for a walk, jog, run, get out and be active. Not only is it going to help you burn off bit off energy, but also help your body's circadian rhythm. Our bodies work at best when we do not disturb our circadian process, it is an inbuilt 24 hour system where the physiological process are influenced by the environment, in this case sunlight tells our body to get going, so do not deprive it of it! If you cannot get out, not to worry, sitting by a window or having lunch outside will do the trick.
Avoid Screens Before Bedtime
Limiting or even removing screen time at night is something you can do today to improve your sleep immediately. Yes, immediately. TV's, phones, tablets, hand-held games, all emit a blue spectrum of light that can trigger daytime hormones and disorient our body's natural preparation for sleep. Blue light has also been shown to suppress a hormone called melatonin that prepares our bodies for sleep!
Try implementing this strategy at least 60-90 minutes before bed, pick up alternatives such as magazines or paperback novels instead of reading on your phone or tablet. You may also find and download blue light blocking software for your devices, or if your phone allows for a night mode, making the best use of it would be ideal!
We already know that coffee and other caffeinated beverages run the risk of keeping us awake at night, often times this is a bigger issue then we realise. Because of the long half-life of caffeine-five to eight hours-even drinking a caffeinated drink six hours or more before bed time can have dramatic effects. In one study, participants consumed caffeine six hours before bedtime and physiological measurements showed they lost on average an hour of sleep a night, even though the subjects weren't aware of it themselves.
Try eliminating the usage of caffeinated beverages after midday or by the latest 2p.m.! This will allow your body to calm down from the effects of caffeine.
Time your meals
Do not go to bed hungry or stuffed. In particular, avoid heavy or large meals within a couple of hours of bedtime. Digesting larger meals may cause discomfort and it may keep you from sleeping. Preparation and organisation of your meals is the best strategy you can have. Consume big portion of your macronutrients earlier in the day, only leaving a moderate - light meal to be eaten in the evening.
Nicotine and alcohol deserve caution, too. The stimulating effects of nicotine take hours to wear off and can wreak havoc on quality sleep. Even though alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it can disrupt sleep later in the night.
Include physical activity in your daily routine
Regular physical activity can promote better sleep. However, avoid being too active too close to bedtime.
Spending time outside every day, doing a walk/jog will not only relieve stress but also help burn a few calories. This is a good thing, because not only are you going to hit your cardio numbers but also going to get plenty of vitamin D as a result of it. Making a routine out of a ritual as such is highly recommended!
Try to resolve worries or concerns before bedtime. Writing down what's on your mind and then set it aside for the next day. Getting organized with daily tasks, setting priorities and delegating tasks will help manage stress. Implementing a routine of meditating or simply spending time alone to gather thoughts can be an effective way of relieving anxiety or stress. Hot showers have also shown to help the body relax and prepare for recovery and relaxation.
By implementing these little strategies to our daily lives and altering just some of our lifestyle choices we can make a big difference to the quality of our sleep. After all we all need downtime and recovery to perform at our best.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.