We all know that sleep is important. And it’s easy to say you’re going try to get more sleep at night. But how do you actually accomplish it?
Here are five tips to help improve your sleep…
1. Go to bed earlier
The first and most important way to improve your sleep is to get to bed earlier at night. Research shows that 7-9 hours of sleep is the recommended amount for adults each night. Which means, if you’re setting your alarm for 6 hours of sleep every night then you’re already behind. And that’s if you sleep those entire 6 hours. There is no replacement for time. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
2. Find a dark room
Light plays an important role in our biology. So important, in fact, that our circadian rhythm – our body clock – is directed by light. Our patterns of hormone production, brain activity, and cell growth are all related to the daily rhythm of light and dark. When there’s light, our bodies are awake and alert. And when it’s dark we sleep and recover.
Artificial light bypasses that natural rhythm; keeping our bodies alert long after the natural light is gone. That makes it tough to get good sleep. So, turn off all artificial light when you sleep – night lights, lamps, TV screens, computer screens, phones, tablets, alarm clocks. Create the darkest room possible to help your body’s natural sleep cycle.
3. Ditch the electronics
Electronics are great for a lot of things; but not for sleeping. That’s because electronics emit a certain type of light called blue light. This blue light has a particular way of keeping your brain active long after you’ve put the phone down. And it’s one of the major reasons people struggle to get good sleep at night – too much blue light too close to bed.
The best way to avoid that is to turn off or put away all electronics at least 15 minutes before bed. That means anything with a screen – TVs, computers, cell phones, tablets. Use that time instead to do something productive like read, stretch, or pack your gym bag for the next day.
4. Be consistent
Exercise. Nutrition. Sleep. What do they all have in common? They all improve through consistency; daily practice. And a simple way to improve your sleep at night is to build a routine. Go to bed at the same time every night (whether it’s Monday or Friday.) Get up at the same time every morning. Do the same things before bed each night. Create a consistent schedule around your sleep cycle and you will find that your quality of sleep improves as well.
5. Limit caffeine intake
Caffeine is great for a lot of things; but not for sleeping. We all like caffeine because it gives you energy, improves your mood, and helps you think better. Which is great when it’s 2pm and you’re trying to get through the work day. But it’s not so great when it’s 2am and you’re trying to get to sleep. And part of the reason is because caffeine too late in the day could be messing up your sleep schedule
Start by limiting your caffeine after work. Avoid anything with caffeine (soda, energy drinks, tea, coffee, preworkout etc.) after you leave the office. That should give your body enough time to metabolism the caffeine so that it’s not affecting your sleep. If that doesn’t work, start earlier. Limit yourself after 2pm. And if that’s still not enough, aim for 12pm or think about eliminating caffeine altogether.
Besides exercise and nutrition, sleep is one of the most important aspects of your fitness. It’s vital not just for overall health, but a lack of sleep could be holding you back from reaching your fitness goals. And if you’re spending time and energy on exercise and nutrition but you’re neglecting your sleep then you could be leaving a lot of results on the table. Schedule a free No Sweat Intro learn how to build an exercise and sleep routine that gets the most results possible.