Sometimes, getting enough sleep can seem impossible. Squeezing in that early morning training session before work can be a killer to sleep patterns. Is the trade-off between sleep and fitting in training worth it in the long run?
Research shows that not getting enough sleep can have a series of detrimental effects on the body; decrease in reaction time, poor mood, poor appetite, loss of strength, poor immune function. There are also effects on weight and productivity.
Not getting enough sleep is not good for an athlete, weekend warrior, regular trainer or anyone.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, getting enough sleep has the exact opposite effect of not sleeping, get good quality hours and all the above will be improved and you will be working at maximum effort.
But how do you improve your sleep quality and how do you make sleeping well a habit? Much like your approach to training, you will need a plan. Here are some tips to include in your sleep routine.
This is the suggested recommended amount of sleep you should be aiming for. This number will help counter potential health risks from under-sleeping and will see you at your most productive. Squeezing an extra hour on top of that will also have a positive effect.
Movement during the day can help you sleep at night. Your training routine is likely helping you to sleep at night, so don’t give it up, just make sure you get yourself to bed at a reasonable hour so you can hit that magic 7hrs.
Listen to Your Body
If you’re constantly knackered throughout the day, can’t shake the morning grogginess or tend to oversleep at weekends, then you will have to look at your sleep routine and get to bed earlier or wake up a bit later. If your body isn’t functioning well, it’s literally telling you that you need more zzz’s
Consistency is Key
Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can make a huge difference to your sleep pattern. Consistency will help you stick to a new sleep plan and will help you get to sleep sooner over the long term. Constantly changing your bedtime and wake up time won’t help you settle into a routine.
Bedtime means Bedtime
Keep the TV out of the bedroom, put the phone away from you and on silent, only have what you need to sleep in your bedroom. Perhaps invest in a blackout blind, don’t have any lights on after you close your eyes and make sure the room is quiet and not too hot. Perfect sleeping conditions.
If you use the bedroom for sleep and NOT TV/social media, you will be priming yourself to get some good quality zzz’s in.
Bin the Nightcap
Caffeine and alcohol have a negative impact on your sleep. Put down the Espresso Martini and you’ll be a step closer to sleeping well. Try and limit caffeine intake and aim to stop drinking it way before 2pm.
Track Progress Over Time
You can do this any number of ways and one option is to keep a sleep journal. Fill it with details of when you go to bed and when you wake up, how rested you feel, how energised you feel throughout the day, how you feel after your workouts.
Do this for a few months and you will have a pretty good idea of how you are getting on with your new sleep patterns.
You could also use any number of the fitness trackers that are out there. The technology is improving all the time and the data is getting more accurate. You don’t have to spend a fortune.
With a journal you can build a bigger overall picture and find out what triggers a bad night or see the benefits of consistently sleeping well. You can also start joining up the dots between sleep, performance, mood and energy levels.
With these tips you are on your way to better sleep, a more positive outlook, more productive days and better sessions in the gym or on the track. We know the importance of training, so if early mornings are your only time to train, make sure you get to bed earlier to compensate.
Goodnight and sleep well