As a trainer of many people over the years, I’m constantly surprised at how prevalent clients poor sleep is!
I think it’s partly a combination of clients working longer hours, trying to fit more in, having heightened stress and anxiety levels, having irregular routines and having different eating patterns that inhibit it.
Having efficient and effective sleep makes you perform better both mentality and physically. It has huge ramifications to your overall wellness.
I was lucky enough to go on a conference where they discussed athletes and how they maximised their sleep and recovery. Obviously this is critical for peak performance, but us mere mortals can also take heed!
I’ve added my suggestions to some of the key factors.
So what key things can help get you improved sleep?
Complete darkness – aim to get your room pitch black, even turning off any stand by lights. For home, blackout curtains are recommended. When away, block any seeping light.
Sleep Routine – the body tends to function better by getting up and going to bed at similar times.
Lowering lighting – try lowering lights down towards bedtime it can signal to the body it’s nearly bedtime and time to wind down.
Limiting blue light towards bedtime – this of course includes phone, tv and computer screens are off at least an hour prior to bed.
Breathing – mindfulness breathing to bring heart rate and mind ‘business’ down. There are some excellent progressive muscle relaxation videos and dialogues around to follow or use gentle music.
Temperature – I personally prefer a cool room to sleep in. If you are in a hotel they do offer fans. A slightly damp t shirt helps to cool too!
Getting to bed early – it goes without saying that not staying up late can help you to get adequate hours sleep. I was always told an hour before midnight is worth two after.
Shakti mat – a pressure point mat that people use prior to sleep to induce good endorphins and recovery hormones.
Bed – obviously one of the most critical!! There are so many. It’s worth a good investment and playing around with sheet and pillow combinations.
Supplements- my travelling clients swear by melatonin supplements for decreasing the jet lag effects and improved sleep. I have read good reports about it too. Magnesium is another good one, either as bat
Stimulants- watch caffeine in tea and coffee and coke, energy drinks, remedies etc anything to jack up the system.
Food- we each have foods that affect us but I would say whichever they are try not to eat too late towards bedtime.
Stress reduction – try to find your own personal ways of de-stressing. Bathing, massage, candles, reading, stretching, whatever works for you.
Power napping- very much a personal thing to get right but I find 20 minutes optimal. A siesta can definitely recharge but watch it doesn’t impact on evening sleep. It’s getting the right balance.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but i Hope it gives you some ideas to improve this critical aspect of your life.
Until next week