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Sleep Better

Sleep is really important to general health and your training regime.  It’s amazing the power regular, good quality sleep can have on your training energy and success.  Don’t underestimate it!  Good quality sleep will do more for your progress than any supplement.  Rest and recovery is just as important as intense training.

Here are some tips from InTech Health that may help you sleep more soundly:

  • Have a warm bath or shower 1 hour before going to bed – the cooling down process after a bath is known to help aid sleep. For a more extreme method try ice baths designed to cool the body rapidly.
  • Make your bed as clean and comfortable as possible.
  • Ensure your room is calm and a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove all items associated with work or stress from the bedroom environment, particularly electric items.
  • Ensure the room is well ventilated and cool.
  • Go to sleep on your back.
  • Maintain a regular routine and in particular, go to bed at the same time each night.
  • Wake up at a similar time each day and avoid snoozing beyond your alarm.
  • Exercise regularly at a level that is comfortable and suitable for your fitness level.
  • Get your heating and thermostat to warm up the house to a suitable temperature in time for your “wake up” time to avoid the comfort of warm sheets on cold mornings.
  • Explore relaxation exercises such as meditation and yoga.
  • Prepare your day and anything you need in the morning the night before.
  • If you don’t already eat a healthy breakfast, ensure you start your day with a good low-fat high carbohydrate and protein breakfast.
  • Speak to your doctor about techniques and suggestions that might suit your health status.

In addition, try some of these techniques…

Practice positive self-suggestion during the daytime!

 Saying to yourself “I really want to sleep well tonight” in a doubtful, downbeat voice, with a heavy and resigned feeling won’t feel good – or help you sleep! Check that you are saying good things to yourself and feeling good whilst you do. Avoid giving yourself negative suggestions – “If I don’t get a good night’s sleep tonight I’ll feel really bad tomorrow….

Dump the ‘rubbish’ in your head at bedtime:

If you have lots and lots of anxious “what if..” and “yes but…” thoughts on your mind, then keep a pen and pad by your bedside, write down each concern as it occurs to you… and next to it write what action you will take about that concern in the morning – even if it’s only to seek help from someone else. Then you can sleep with a clear mind.

Work on Mindfulness & Managing Stress:

When you have too much to do and too much to think about; your sleep is likely to suffer.  To help restore peace to your life, consider healthy ways to manage stress.  Try mindfulness or meditation.  This can be as simple as taking a few minutes here and there during the day to relax, clear your head and think positive thoughts.

Exercise For A Good Night’s Sleep:

Exercise can really help with sleep and it can also be fun!  Getting plenty of good physical activity during the day and at a level suitable to your fitness can be beneficial as it can make you feel better and encourage natural sleep through the bodies desire to recuperate.

Experts suggest that regular exercise improves the quality of sleep and can help to reengage the natural cycle of sleep, making it regular and higher quality.  Below are some good ways exercise can help with sleep;

Improve Your Mood During The Day:

Whether it’s a gym work out or a 30 min walk, exercise is known to improve mood and can have calming effects.  It also provides a distraction that can ease stress.

Doing physical exercise helps to stimulate certain brain chemicals which in turn can help to encourage feelings of positivity, happiness and relaxation.  In addition, it can make you look and feel better which in turn can benefit confidence and self-esteem.  Generally feeling better and being more relaxed is known to help improve the quality of sleep.

Manage Your Weight:

This may seem obvious, but should not be overlooked.  Keeping yourself at a comfortable, healthy weight* and feeling fit may help to create better feelings and combat negative thoughts.  Being able to feel good about your weight and being fit will help combat sluggishness during the day and may help you to feel more positive which will in turn, as some have found, will help with sleep patterns.

Improving Diet, Improving Sleep:

As with exercise, eating the right things can have positive effects on both your physical and mental state.  Eating good foods in a balanced way and avoiding too much high fat food is a great way to start increasing energy.  In addition, eating well can improve your desire and performance in fitness and whether you want to lose weight, build muscle or just be more fit it’s just as important to eat correctly as it is to exercise and in many ways more so.  Remember it’s not about the number of calories, but instead about the quality and correct balance of calories in line with your body type and amount of daily exercise*.

* It’s recommended that you consult a medical doctor if you are unsure of the level of exercise and physical activity that is right for you.

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