11 Steps to Improving Your Sleep
When it comes to getting a better nights sleep most people would jump at the chance to improve this if they could as many of us struggle getting a good nights rest. Well the good news is you can.
Getting a proper nights sleep is hugely important for muscle recovery, stress alleviation and reducing adrenal fatigue. Weight increase can also be associated with lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation can impact how our body’s store carbohydrates and mess with our hormones thus affecting our appetite. People who are overweight or stressed more often than not need to look at improving their sleep.
Our mood can also be negatively impacted from sleep loss. You may become short tempered, struggle concentrating, and experience mood cycles.
If you struggle with memory and learning then hacking your sleep better can also benefit you too. Sleep can help the brain put new information to long term memory and studies show that people who slept well after learning a certain task did better on tests later on.
If any of the above resonates with you then follow these 11 easy tips to improving your sleep:
#1 Remove Caffeine From Your Diet
Yes, it’s really that easy. Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before you go to sleep. For some that might mean skipping a caffeine-backed pre workout before training on an evening and instead opting for a caffeine-free bcaa powder instead. The latter can still be used pre workout to boost performance and reduce fatigue.
#2 Fix Your Bedroom
Having a dark pitch black bedroom helps us relax more into a deeper sleep. So choosing thicker curtains or opting for an eye mask to block out street lighting will really help.
#3 Limit electronic goods
Your bedroom should be there for sleeping and for sex. Try limit your bedroom to just these two things only as this will help you associate your bedroom with sleep. If you lie in bed and watch TV, or play on your iPhone before bed it can prevent your brain from switching off and therefore negatively impact your sleep.
#4 Try relax an hour before bed
A hot bath warms your body temperature up and then comes back down again when you get out. This fluctuation in body temperature helps the body relax and feel drowsy. Reading a fiction book can help take your mind off somewhere else allowing you to relax and switch off from the day’s tasks.
If you lie in bed thinking about tomorrow’s work load try this tip: Take a piece of A4 paper, fold it in half, then half again, then half again so it’s the size of your palm and write down your top 3 or 5 to-do’s for the next day on it. Then put them to a side and tackle them tomorrow.
#5 Nap before 5pm if you must
Many people nap which is totally normal. But if you must try take a nap before 5pm. Any later can negatively impact the quality of sleep you have later on.
#6 Try taking ZMA
Research and anecdotal evidence suggests that ZMA helps users have a better, deeper nights sleep, with many people reporting some very cool lucid dreams after supplementing with ZMA. A lucid dream is one of those dreams where in your dream you realize you are dreaming and therefore take control of your dream. Get ready to fly people! The beauty of ZMA is that it’s very affordable and easy to take. To benefit from ZMA as a sleep aid take 2-3 capsules 20-30 minutes before bed.
#7 Keep hydrated
Staying hydrated right up until bedtime is important. But be careful not to overdo it so you need to wake up and visit the bathroom. Everyone should be able to sleep all night without waking up to take a leak. For those that do wake up to go to the toilet it tends to become a habit that they need to work on stopping.
#8 Exercise helps when done at the right time
Exercise helps us secrete the stress hormone cortisol which can keep us awake if done too late on in the day. Ever noticed how alert you are once you finish exercising? This is due to cortisol. If you do struggle sleeping try exercising but doing it earlier, maybe 3-4 hours before bed.
#9 Avoid alcohol
Alcohol may help you fall to sleep right away but as the body absorbs it you can fall into a lighter sleep and wake up. Alcohol also dehydrates us so you may wake up feeling very thirsty. It’s best to avoid alcohol completely before bed.
#10 Sleep Cycle App may help
Using an iPhone app such as Sleep Cycle helps people track how much deep quality sleep they’re getting. The app uses sensors that detect when we roll over in the night, a sign that we’re not in a deep REM sleep. By running the app and putting your phone under your pillow the app tracks how long you’re awake, asleep, and how much of that sleep is deep sleep. It also gives you a % reading of your sleep quality. Today mine was 83%, not bad considering I was up at 5am from going to bed at 10:30pm.
#11 Look at your mattress
We spend a third of our life in bed so having a good mattress is a pretty big deal. If you’ve tried many of the tips above and you’re still struggling then perhaps it’s time to find a better more comfortable mattress. Most mattresses only last 10 years and then they wear out.
I hope some of these tips help you improve your sleep. If you have some other tips that have worked for you in the past that are not on the list please let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.