Good sleep is one of the most important elements of health and wellbeing, alongside athletic performance and improvement. Most of us are very intentional about the way we train and the way we eat, but sleep is a key factor that is often overlooked.
How much sleep and the quality of the sleep we can have a huge impact on our recovery, growth, appetite, cognitive function, mood and motivation, amongst other things!
Without a good nights sleep, we'll find it tough to perform at our best and achieve our goals!
Here are nutritionists TORI DUESBURY'S Top 10 tips for better sleep!
- Establish a sleep routine by going to bed and waking up at consistent times each day. This is probably the most important tip for getting a good night’s sleep because a regular sleep pattern will make falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning much easier. Try setting a bedtime alarm as well as a wake-up alarm to help build this habit. Adults should aim for 7 – 9 hours per night.
- Have a caffeine cut-off time. Caffeine is a stimulant and it can take up to 8 hours for its effects to wear off fully. Try to avoid caffeine after midday.
- Avoid alcohol close to bedtime. Alcoholic drinks might make you feel sleepy and relaxed, but they can keep you in lighter stages of sleep which is why you’ll often wake up feeling groggy despite getting ‘enough’ sleep.
- Leave time to relax and wind down before bed. Taking a hot bath, reading, meditation and stretching are all activities that could be included as part of your bedtime routine.
- Exercise, but not too close to bedtime. Exercise helps you sleep deeper and for longer, but try to keep it at least 2 – 3 hours before bedtime to give your body time to calm down and relax.
- Put down your phone or tablet at least one hour before bed. This is because these devices transmit blue light which can delay sleep onset and disrupt the quality of your sleep. They also stimulate your brain meaning you’ll find it harder to fall asleep, particularly if you scroll past something that triggers distracting thoughts, emotions or anxiety.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet. Your body temperature drops during sleep so a cool room will help you settle and maintain sleep throughout the night. Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
- Get enough daylight. Exposing ourselves to natural light in the day is key to regulating sleep patterns. Try to get outside in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes each day, preferably in the morning. Dim the lights at night as bright indoor lighting can suppress the production of melatonin (sleep hormone).
- Avoid large meals close to bedtime to improve sleep onset and prevent indigestion. Stay hydrated throughout the day but limit fluids close to bedtime as they can cause frequent awakenings during the night.
- Don’t take long naps. If you need to take a nap, restrict it to 20 – 30 minutes and try not to nap after 3 pm as late afternoon naps can make it harder to fall asleep at night.
For all blog inquiries, please contact us at email@example.com