Sleep helps athletic performance. Good sleep is even more beneficial. It’s when our bodies recover from what we’ve put them through during the day, and the more we exercise, train or compete, the more sleep we tend to need. We’ve written about the benefits and importance of sleep before, with Get Some Sleep, but how are we supposed to get them?
The first step towards getting a sound night’s sleep is to admit you’re currently not getting what you need. Depending on caffeine to get through every day, failure to wake up without an alarm and sleeping very late on weekends are all signs of sleep deprivation. The bad news is that a study conducted at Penn State University claims sleeping in the weekends might not be enough to get your body back on track. The good news is you can alter your week night habits little by little until you’re eventually getting the good sleep your body requires. Here are five ways you can start working towards getting good sleep tonight.
Slowly increase hours. Start hitting the hay 15 minutes early for one week, week two turn in 15 minutes before that. It might take a while to adjust, and making a sudden, huge change in bed time can result in tossing, turning and laying awake with a racing mind. Gradually increasing your amount of sleep can make a big difference and within six weeks, you’ll be resting longer.
Hit the lights. All of them. Turn off the TV, iAnything and flip your glowing phone screen upside down. These artificial lights trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which makes it a whole lot harder to fall asleep.
Make bed a sleep only zone. Take the television out of the bedroom completely, move the clock that makes you anxious about getting up in the morning and hide the laptop underneath a chair. Using your bed exclusively for sleeping, and sex, will increase the strength of the association between bed and sleep.
Can the caffeine, and alcohol. Caffeine is great in the morning, but avoid it in the afternoon and evening. It can interfere with deeper stages of sleep, like REM, and seriously impact your ability to rest. Caffeine is also a diuretic, making it more likely you’ll have to get up during the night to use the bathroom. Alcohol might initially make you feel sleepy, but it, too, is a diuretic that will lead to waking up at night and result in restless sleep.
Establish a routine. Create a pattern for getting ready for bed. Meditate, read, listen to music or write down the day’s worries to bring it to a close. Set out your wardrobe for the morning, brush your teeth and take a deep breath before sliding under the sheets. Start this routine about an hour before bedtime, it will give your body time to relax and transition to good sleep mode.
Start working on your bedtime ritual today and get lots of good sleep tomorrow. For help getting more rest, ask us!