If you've ever worked with me, it's likely you've heard me ramble on about the importance of proper rest and the difference it can make to our progress. If you haven't then lucky you, you get to read the abridged version here.
For my athletes looking for the competitive edge, we talk about out eating and out sleeping our competition. Why? Because it's more than likely they're also in the gym working on getting in shape or they're doing the same skills-based training as you...but most of us suck at recovery- so if we get this right we're giving ourselves an advantage.
Despite being a habitually terrible sleeper, I am getting better at applying many of the protocols you're about to see. I can honestly say, this is just one of those things that despite knowing the benefits, somehow I'm always suprised when I wake up feeling refreshed after taking this advice. Don't be like me, just do it this way always.
So here are some considerations for you to reflect on and compare to your current routine.
1). Keep a regular schedule (our bodies like regularity).
Try to go to bed and wake up at the same times. With a regular schedule, your body will know when to release calming hormones before bed, and stimulating hormones to wake up.
2). Keep alcohol and caffeine moderate.
Know that both will interfere with your sleep. Try to avoid caffeine especially within 8-9 hours of your bedtime. So when will your last cup of coffee be?
3). Eat and drink appropriately.
A medium to smallish-sized meal about 2-3 hours before bed, one that is balanced in nutrients, can help facilitate sleep. Try not to drink too much liquid in the hours before bed, which will help you avoid waking up for bathroom breaks.
4). Do a brain dump.
Take a few minutes to write out a Iist of whatever is bugging you. Whatever is in your brain, get it out and on to paper.
5). Turn off electronics.
This is a big one. Digital devices stimulate our brain. In short, screens release a blue light that prevents our brain from preparing for sleep. Unplugging from all screens at least 30 minutes before bed can make a significant difference to your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. This includes television, computers, and smartphones.
Thank you for reading, this was part 1 of a 3 part series on sleep hygiene. Please feel to reach out if you have any questions or comments. As always, please share with those you feel will benefit and you can find us on Facebook and Instagram.