Along with what we eat and how we move our body - how we sleep is one of our most integral and important factors for good health. Sleep allows our body to recover, repair and regenerate in order to thrive and continue to face our daily challenges.
Sleep has a connection to all aspects of your health including physical, mental and emotional. Sleep is shown to have a significant impact on:
Physical performance - affecting training and productivity
Cognitive performance - affecting attention, decision making and memory
Stress and irritability - affecting motivation, mood and relationships
Fatigue and Restfulness - affecting energy levels and recovery
Sleep is such a key ingredient in overall health and achieving peak performance, it gives plenty of reason to optimize both quantity and quality of sleep.
Check out the tips below to improve your sleep habits!
ESTABLISH A BETTER ROUTINE WITH SLEEP
Routine is very helpful for sleep. Work with your nature and stick to regular wake times. Research has shown it helps your brain develop an efficient internal clock which tells your body when it’s time to rest and when it’s time to wake up and perform! Even if you can’t get to bed on time, you should get up and seek bright light at approximately the same wake time whenever possible, including weekends. Believe it or not, you can actually train yourself to be a better morning person.
REDUCE SCREEN TIME BEFORE BED
Screens emit light that signals the brain it’s daytime and suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone: melatonin. This enhances alertness, shifts your circadian rhythm and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. Eliminate or strictly limit the use of electronic devices before sleep, especially after lights out. When using your phone, turn brightness down as much as possible. If you are having difficulty falling asleep, resist the urge to distract yourself with checking or scrolling through your phone - a good practice is to plug your phone in a place which is out of reach. Out of sight, out of mind.
Consistent and timely physical activity is a key ingredient to slipping into a restful and restorative sleep. Our body can often feel restless without some form of exercise, so do something to move your body everyday. Even on a “rest day” it’s recommended to do something light that’s in compliment to your training plan (ie. stretching, light jog, low-intensity strengthening circuit).
PREPARE FOR SLEEP
Thinking about sleep an hour or so before bed is important to prepare your body for sleep. Incorporating a relaxing activity can become a great practice to unwind before bed. Some suggestions include: light reading, essential oils used for relaxing aromatherapy, taking a warm bath, having a cup of herbal tea, gentle stretching or yoga, deep breathing or meditation practice, the list goes on… any relaxing activity before bed is helpful so find something that works for you!
FORM A POSITIVE AND BALANCED RELATIONSHIP WITH SLEEP
Staying up through the wee hours of the night and then trying to function at a high level the next day is a recipe for burnout. Don’t resent the need for sleep, instead value it as an important key to optimal health and performance. On the flip side, don’t obsess over sleep. Worrying about drifting off to sleep can cause anxiety, which perpetuates into a vicious cycle and keeps you wide awake. Find a healthy balance.
These are just a few tips to help you improve your sleep and energy levels - can you think of others?
If you're someone who experiences aches or pains when going to bed or in the morning - it's imperative you have that addressed and our team is here to help you!