Eight hours of sleep, that’s what most experts recommend. But by the time you add in work, commuting, a limited – albeit present social life, chores, family and training, eight hours can seem impossible. That said, if you want to set yourself up for success in your work, racing, and just your general mood, you need sleep. Here are five tips to help you sleep better at night:
Related: Seven foods for a better sleep
1) Control your exposure to light: Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone is affected by light exposure and has an effect on your circadian rhythm. When it’s dark, your brain secretes more melatonin – making you sleepy. When it’s light, melatonin secretion is suppressed – making you more alert. So, in order to get a good nights sleep, reduce screen time at night and make sure your room is dark.
2) Train during the day: Exercise does improve the quality of sleep. However, it can have a detrimental effect if done too close to your bedtime. Moderate to intense physical activity elevates your metabolism, body temperature and cortisol (stress hormone), affecting your ability to wind down before bed. Some may find yoga, stretching, meditation or relaxation breathing to help them wind down before bed.
3) Sleep environment: Try to keep your room cool. Most people sleep best when the room temperature is between 17 and 20 C. Reduce the noise surrounding your room; earplugs may be an option. Lastly, make sure your bed is comfortable – bed sheets, clean, space, mattress, etc.
4) Your diet: The lasting effects of caffeine may be surprising, and it could vary person-to-person. It’s best practice to reduce coffee consumption in the afternoon. Avoid a large dinner right before bed. Instead, try to eat dinner two hours before bed.
5) Manage worries and stress before you lie down for bed: Resolve pressing issues before bed. A good practice is to jot notes down of things to do for the week or the next day. Some easy strategies to better manage stress are planning the week/day, relaxation breathing techniques and setting priorities.