Sleep deprivation can be disastrous to your health, increasing your stress hormone levels and the number of sugar cravings you experience during the day as well as causing lessened productivity and lethargy during your workouts.
Beyond that, getting adequate sleep also helps with recovery and repair, disease control and a host of other benefits. Clearly, sleep is important!
So how do you get better sleep? Start with these tips:
7 Tips For Getting Better Sleep
Remove caffeine from afternoons – You probably already know that it’s a bad idea to drink coffee right before bed time, but drinking caffeinated beverages any time after noon can be detrimental to your sleep. If you really do love the taste of coffee, try switching to decaf after lunch.
Reduce room temperature – You will sleep both longer and better in a colder room. At the very least, you want to avoid being uncomfortably warm. This can be tricky – and costly – during the summer, but the improved sleep is well worth the investment.
Reduce fluid levels – Getting up to go to the bathroom partway through sleeping might not seem like such a big deal – it’s certainly preferable to waking up in a wet bed – but it’s extremely bad for your quality of sleep. Try to avoid drinking any large beverages after dinner so you can sleep through the night.
Reduce stimuli – This means putting all your fun gadgets away well before bed time. TVs, computers, even mobile phones can inhibit your ability to wind down so you can actually sleep. Bright lights also make it difficult for your brain to relax enough to sleep, so invest in a low-powered lamp or a dimmer switch system so you can lower the level of light in your home well before you actually try to crawl into bed.
Lose the bedroom TV – Your favourite late night show really isn’t worth it. You shouldn’t be doing anything other than sleeping and having sex in your bed except for maybe a little bit of light reading.
Relaxation/breathing routine – A concentrated effort to relax before you actually get into your bed can make a big difference. Many people choose to meditate or do yoga routines before bed to calm their minds and their bodies. If you’re not sure how to get started on this step, there are hundreds of resources online, including yoga videos and guided meditations designed to help you relax. If you choose an online resource, make sure it’s something you can download purely in an audio file so you don’t have to watch it on a brightly lit screen.
Get in routine – This helps your body know what to expect, and the most important part of your routine is when you go to bed and wake up. Try to go to bed and wake up in the same two hour window every day of the week. This means if you wake up at seven during the week you shouldn’t wake up any later than nine on the weekend. It can be tough to give up sleeping in at first, but once your schedule has adjusted and you’re getting more sleep overall you won’t miss getting out of bed at noon at all.
Try these tips for yourself and enter the wonderful world of better sleep!