Getting a good night’s rest is so important when it comes to your health and fitness journey. Your body only repairs itself when you are asleep, which makes it such an important factor to perform at your absolute best. A good night’s sleep isn’t also about how long you sleep but also the quality of your sleep. If you are sleeping for 9 hours a night but not reaching your deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, then you will still probably be waking up feeling groggy and tired in the morning. So if you are someone who struggles to get out of bed here are my tips for getting a good night’s rest.
Creating a regular pattern
Getting into a regular sleep pattern will mean that your body knows how to sleep properly and when it’s time to sleep. If you are someone who has irregular sleeping patterns your body will be confused as to when it should be resting and when it should be awake. A regular sleep pattern regulates your body clock making it easy to drift off to sleep and into a deeper sleep quicker. This leaves you feeling far more refreshed in the morning. It can be helpful to create a before bed ritual that will prepare your body to relax and allow you to drift off easily. Do something like take a hot bath, read a book or light up some candles.
Create a relaxing sleeping environment
Make sure that your sleeping environment is one that will allow you to rest and relax and that your bedroom is designed to allow your body to sleep. Have dark curtains, a comfy bed, good pillows and not too much clutter or mess.
Get away from the computer and phone at least a couple of hours before sleep
Did you know that the backlight on your electronics can be preventing you from getting a good night’s rest? Studies have shown that the bluelight restricts melatonin production, which is the chemical your body produces to give you a good night’s sleep. Try to switch off your electronics and move away from the computer screen at least a few hours before bed. It can be hard I know but your body will thank you for it.
Pay attention to what you eat and drink before bed
You don’t want to go to bed hungry or full and still digesting food. If you eat just before bed then you’re digestion system will still be working, making for an uneasy night. Also avoid alcoholic drinks before bed. Whilst alcohol may help you fall asleep quicker, it majorly impacts on the quality of sleep you get making you will feel groggier in the morning.
Exercise regularly but not just before bed
Getting into a regular exercise routine can be hugely beneficial to your sleeping pattern, but be careful though as a lot of people can’t sleep well if they exercise just before bed. This is because you still have adrenalin pumping through your body. Prime time to exercise is first thing in the morning so it’s done for the day and other things don’t come up that could prevent you getting to your gym session. However find something that works and feels best for you.
If you find it hard to unwind and drift off to sleep then doing some evening gentle stretches can help you begin to relax and unwind from the day. I know for me sometimes when I have a super stressful day and my mind is racing, I can’t get to sleep at all. Gentle stretching before bed allows the body to start to relax and release any tension you may be holding onto. One of my absolute favourites to unwind is putting my feet up the wall. Putting feet up the wall is a yoga tradition that has so many great healthy benefits including calming your nerves, releasing stress and improving sleep. So next time you are feeling restless before bed, give this one a go.
Cut down on the caffeine
If you don’t sleep very well or find it hard to drift off to sleep but drink quite a bit of coffee during the day then it might be time to rethink your caffeine intake. Whilst caffeine in small doses can be okay for the body excessive amounts can definitely make it hard to drift off to sleep, as well as effect the quality of sleep you get throughout the night. Most experts say don’t drink anything with caffeine in it after 2pm however I go for the midday rule. If you are a coffee person, then just stick to drinking it in the morning before lunch.
Remember getting a good night’s rest is super important, not only to help your body recover when you are doing extensive exercise but also to help with stress levels, brain function and overall well being. I hope you found these tips useful and please feel free to share this with anyone you know who get’s a poor night’s sleep.