If you understand sleep, the power of it and how to get as much high-quality sleep as possible is one of the healthiest things you can do. This guide has 3 top areas for improvement for you to get well rested!
The Importance of Sleep (the boring bit)
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, and the inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. Your sleep timing is controlled by the circadian clock and to some extent by willed behaviour.
Sleep is restorative for you, and without it we are not able to work, learn, create and communicate at our highest level. With time, lack of sleep can lead to your mental and physical breakdown. A lack of sleep has also been shown to be linked to an impaired immune system. This is something that you can control!
When you sleep, our metabolic rates reduce and free radical production is decreased, allowing restorative processes to take over. Sleep also supports your higher-level cognition functions such as decision-making, reasoning and memory!
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
Everyone experiences trouble sleeping from time to time but problems may occur when regular disturbances happen frequently and these can begin to affect your daily life.
How Much Sleep do you Need?
There is no protocol to how many hours of sleep we should get, the best way to evaluate it is to monitor how we feel throughout the day. If energy is low, memory is poor and we don’t feel alert, then chances are we need more sleep.
How to Sleep Better
Improve your sleeping habits with these sleep promoting techniques and considerations that can be easily integrated into your evening routine.
1. Improve Your Nutrition and Exercise Habits
Good nutrition habits can drastically improve your sleep quality, particularly in the last hours before bed. Consider the following:
If you plan your meals in advance, you can ensure that you eat large meals in plenty of time before bed. Drinking a lot of liquids at the end of the day will increase the chance you need to wake up during the night. Adding to that, caffeine and alcohol will inhibit your ability to sleep. Try to avoid when you can.
You can download my 7 Golden Tips for Healthy Eating to help you!
2. Reduce Stress and Relax
Managing you stressors and using pre-bed relaxation techniques can be effective in aiding a better nights sleep. Try these techniques:
When you have a million thoughts in your head at bedtime, take out a piece of paper and jot them down. Tell yourself that you can't do anything about them tonight, so you will make them a priority. Try some deep breathing techniques or meditation using an app like Headspace. Have a hot shower, to relax you. I wold personally recommend using natural products like The Oxford Soap Company (lavender all the way). Ensure that your room is your sanctuary! For reading, try and read some relaxing fiction, rather than those books that get you fired up (business in my case).
3. Keep the Bedroom for Sleep
Ensuring that your bedroom is optimized for relaxing, unwinding and sleeping is essential.
Get your bedroom ready to improve your sleep:
In my house we use the Headspace app for white noise sounds, which blocks out other noises. You could also throw in these earplugs if you want total silence. I personally use this sleep mask to ensure that no light gets in. I keep my phone in my room, but it is always on silent and I put it face down to minimise any disturbance from notifications.
Sleep is fantastic for your health and immune function. Now it is time to put some of these things into action. Improving your sleep is one of the best ways to improve your health.
If you need any more ideas on how to improve your sleep, get in contact!
Personal Trainer and Nutritionist
Tribe Oxford is a personal training service based at Buzz Gym Oxford committed to support people to lose body fat, become stronger and boost their confidence.