Getting enough sleep can be the difference between a great day and a not so good day. It is during your evening sleep that all your hard work at the gym pays off. When you are sleeping, your body gets to work on rebuilding and repairing any damage you may have caused during your workout.
Yet we all go through phases. Some weeks you might find sleep comes as easily as resting your head on your pillow, whilst other weeks you find yourself tossing and turning until that dreaded hour that your alarm beeps at you to ‘wake up’.
If you are finding that sleep is evading you all too often, then it is important to try and work out what is causing you to lose sleep and figure out some ways to help resolve the issue.
Here are the top 5 reasons people are losing sleep:
Stress - Worrying about a project that is due, or an upcoming interview or exam can keep anyone tossing and turning late into the night. Any stress, whether it be emotional, or pressure based, often has thoughts racing through our mind at a million miles an hour as soon as the lights go out and our head reaches the pillow.
Tip: If you feel that stress is part of what keeps you up into the late hours, then there are several techniques you can use to help you relax and unwind. Meditation is a great way of calming the thoughts and encouraging both mental and physical relaxation. Try soaking in a warm bath with essential oils, candle and some relaxing music, or make yourself a soothing cup of chamomile tea.
Stimulants - Drinking coffee, tea, eating chocolate (or other treats high in refined sugars) as well as alcohol, are all going to interfere with not only your ability to get to sleep but also the quality and amount of sleep you have.
Tip: Try to avoid stimulants for at least 2 hours before you plan on going to bed. If you know you struggle with sleeping the whole night through, then avoid alcohol altogether as it will disrupt your ability to sleep restfully.
Technology - The light emitted from screens, such as your television, smartphone, tablet, or laptop, interferes with your body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is essential in the ‘winding down’ process that helps you go to sleep and stay asleep.
Tip: Avoid using these types of technology for an hour before bed so that your body can start the sleeping process with the production of melatonin. Though it is often best to avoid any type of over-stimulation before sleep, reading a book can be an excellent way to help occupy your brain whilst avoiding staring at a screen.
Sleeping In - If you have the luxury of sleeping in on a regular basis, you may find that you are interfering with your ability to fall asleep at the appropriate time in the evening. We only need between 7-9 hours sleep each night, so if you sleep in until 9 am, you possibly won’t want to be falling asleep until midnight that evening.
Tip: If you struggle with sleep, it is a good idea to set yourself a sleep routine. Set your alarm for a suitable time each morning and get up (you can use any extra time for a quick workout!). Your body will adjust after a few days and you will find it easier to go to sleep each evening.
Environment - If you know you struggle to nod off at night, then it is even more important for you to have an environment that is conducive to relaxation and sleep. This means darkness, quiet, fresh air and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
Tip: Try to keep your room as tidy as possible, reduce any light stimulation by removing or switching off any devices that emit a soft light. Try to keep your room well ventilated and aim to have the appropriate amount of coverings on your bed, too many or too little will make it harder for you to get a good night's sleep.