Sleep! It’s the thing we crave the most, yet often get very little under their daily recommended 7 hours. As many as 16 million UK adults are suffering from sleepless nights as a third (31%) say they have insomnia. Two thirds (67%) of UK adults suffer from disrupted sleep and nearly a quarter (23%) manage no more than five hours a night.
As we all know, sleep is very closely linked to athletic performance, when you aren’t well rested, you won’t perform at your peak, and conversely, a good nights sleep can help fuel harder, longer training sessions and boost recovery.
Check out our top tips to see how you can improve your quality of sleep, and quality of life in the process!
1: More isn’t always more. Stick to a schedule!
Most people equate more = better when it comes to sleep, yet this isn’t always the case! Make sure you set aside no more than 8 hours sleep each night for the optimal nights rest, the recommended amount of sleep for a healthy adult is at least 7 hours.
Make sure you go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day, and try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule to around 1 hour between weekdays and weekends. Remember, consistency is key and being consistent reinforces your bodies sleep/wake cycle.
If you’re struggling to get to sleep, staying in bed often isn’t the best solution. Try get out of the bedroom and do something relaxing, like listening to music, reading or drinking a herbal tea.
2: Keep an eye on what you eat & drink
Try to stick to a set dinner time a few hours before you plan to sleep. Eating large meals close to bedtime will often lead to discomfort and a restless nights sleep.
It also important to make sure you are eating the right foods, stimulants such as sugar, caffeine or nicotine take hours to wear off, and can severely impact your ability to sleep.
3: Write away your worries
If you are the type of person who struggles switching off, and are busy worrying about what you have to do tomorrow, try to write down what’s on your mind before you get into bed. The goal is to manage your stress by setting it aside for tomorrow.
Start with the basics, such as getting organized, setting priorities and delegating tasks. Meditation also can ease anxiety.
4: Create a restful environment
Create a room which you feel comfortable sleeping in, this often includes the lights off (duh), quiet or white noise such as a fan, or TV on a low volume and a cool temperature. Sleeping in a colder room can improve your sleep quality and even help you combat insomnia episodes. Scientists link this to the fact that our body temperature naturally drops at night. Hence, the metabolism rate slows down, and we spend less energy during sleep.
If you use your phone before bed, try to switch on night shift. By removing the blue light from your screen, night shift automatically adjusts the colours of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum – making the display easier on your eyes and less likely to keep you awake even after you set the phone down.
5: Exercise regularly!
Physical exercise is key when it comes to a good nights sleep. Studies show that moderate exercise on a regular basis can help relieve some of the tension built up over the day. But make sure you do not do vigorous exercise, such as running or the gym, too close to bedtime, as it may keep you awake.
Try out a low intensity group class on MyVT a few hours before you go to bed to help drift off to sleep, or perhaps a high intensity 121 session in the middle of the day to melt away your tension before bedtime comes calling.
And there you have it! Our top 5 tried and tested tips for a better nights sleep!
Until next time, The MyVT team