Poor quality and insufficient sleep can have a detrimental effect on your overall health and well-being. Improving your sleep patterns has been shown to have a great effect on your mood, body composition, energy levels and overall vitality. Nothing beats a good nights sleep! For those that may be struggling with their sleep here are five simple tips to help you regulate your sleep better.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule
The recommended daily amount of sleep for an adult is between seven to nine hours. Something that is often overlooked however is the timing of your slumber.
Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, including weekends. Being consistent reinforces your body’s sleep-wake cycle (known as your circadian rhythm). Our body craves routine and having an erratic sleep-wake cycle is one of the most common disrupters of sleep quality.
2. Change your morning routine
The quality of your sleep will always be dictated by your morning routine. The whole process of improving your sleep-wake cycle should start as soon as you get out of bed.
We recommend tying the following three morning health hacks to set your circadian rhythm for the day:
– Have a cold shower first thing (aim for 60 seconds at the end of your usual shower).
– Try and get some daylight exposure within 20 minutes of getting out of bed.
– Aim to do some form of exercise within one hour of waking up.
All of the above will help raise your morning cortisol levels. Cortisol is our main stress hormone and it plays a big role in improving mood, motivation and energy levels. Having high levels in the morning should help it decrease in the evening which allows us to relax and switch off.
3. Create a result environment
Keep your room cool, dark and quiet. Exposure to light in the evenings makes it more challenging to fall asleep as it can inhibit your production of melatonin (the main sleep hormone). Consider using black out blinds, an eye mask, ear plugs, a fan or other devices to create an environment that suits your needs.
Doing calming activities before bedtime such as taking a warm bath, light stretching or meditation/breath-work can also help to promote a more restful nights sleep.
One other thing to consider is to upgrade your mattress and pillows. We spend around a third of our lifetimes in bed so investing in a high quality mattress, pillows and bedding that you find truly comfortable may be the best health investment you ever make!
4. Manage worries
Try to resolve your worries or concerns before bedtime. Consider starting a journal to jot down what’s on your mind and then set it aside for the next day. Something else that you may find useful and calming is to write down three things that you’re grateful for in your life just before you go to sleep. Focusing on the positive things in life can have a profound effect on reducing stress.
Meditation and simple breath-work focusing on belly breathing can also be hugely effective tool to aid in reducing anxiety related issues. There are many apps out there such as Headspace to help you get started.
5. Set an evening alarm clock
Most of us set an alarm clock in the morning to ensure that we get out of bed in time! Most of us do not enjoy hearing this alarm when it goes off and it can often be a very stressful way to start the day.
We recommend introducing an alarm in the evening to help you start your “wind-down” routine. Set it for at least one hour prior to your planned bedtime. Once it sounds implement the planned strategies you have in place that will help you switch off for the evening. For example you could start by turing off your phone to limit your screen time and instead read a book. The light emitted from TV’s, phones and tablets will inhibit your ability to fall asleep quickly. Other things you can do are to dim the lights in the room that you’re winding-down in and enjoy a calming tea such as camomile.
We hope you enjoyed this article and found these tips useful, if you would like any more advice please call us on 020 7315 4260 or email email@example.com.
Please stay tuned for Mark Roper’s upcoming series on all things training related!
Written by Mark Roper, Head of Education at COACH LONDON