Following on from the previous post, I wanted to cover some strategies to improve the quality and quantity of the sleep you are getting.
To start with, the average person needs approximately 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night. That’s not to say you can’t function on less sleep from time to time but chronically sleeping less than this can lead to a number of issues as described above.
In no particular order here is a list to get you started:
Exercise during the day / afternoon / early evening but not last thing at night. Working out can naturally leave you feeling tired a bit later on in the day which is why is can help with sleep. However, a high energy or intense workout late at night can still leave you buzzing a bit which can interfere with getting to sleep.
Turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before going to sleep. Staring at the TV and / or computer can keep you buzzing along which makes it difficult to get to sleep. Turning off the TV and computer will allow you to unwind and switch off.
Consider a relaxing activity before bed. This could be reading or some stretching, maybe even yoga. If you decide to read, make sure your device isn’t backlit as this will basically be the same as having a laptop on. It would be better to go old school and read an actual book with a bedside lamp on.
Avoid caffeine or energy drinks several hours before going to sleep. This one is a bit of a no-brainer – anything that is a stimulant will most likely keep you awake when you’re trying to sleep so avoid them before bedtime.
Where possible, try to keep consistent times for going to bed and waking up. This helps to regulate your body’s internal clock a lot better than random sleep times. So you’ll be more likely to get to sleep on time.
When it comes to actually sleeping itself, you want a good quality sleep as well. Interruptions will disrupt your sleep pattern so even if you’re trying to get 7 – 8 hours sleep you can still wake up feeling shitty. With that in mind:
Try to get your room as dark as possible. The more light you have in your room, from both outside and in your room, the more likely it is to interrupt your sleep patterns. This includes light from the TV, alarm clock radios, etc. If your room is too bright from light out in the sleep, consider a blackout blind or heavy black curtains.
Ear Plugs. If you live on a noisy street or your have a partner that snores like a drunken gorilla, consider ear plugs to help drown out any noises.
Supplements. If you really do struggle with falling asleep there are some supplements that can help. Although I would advise against over-reliance on supplements as you should try to get to sleep naturally. But here are some worth investigating - 5-HTP; Melatonin and Magnesium. As with any supplements, I would always tell you to speak to your doctor or pharmacist first to make sure they are right for you.
To sum these posts up – enough sleep = good; not enough sleep = increased chances of obesity; diabetes and munching on those office snacks you can usually ignore.... whilst likely having a cold.
Improve the quality and quantity of your sleep and you'll feel like the proverbial million bucks.
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!