Sleep, something we all crave at the end of the workday and often don’t think about. Sleep is something we say we desire, but it’s an afterthought for many with a go-go-go schedule. I’ve always told people you don’t grow when you train, you grow during recovery, and sleeping is one of the best ways to ensure that you make positive health and fitness gains. You produce growth hormone when you sleep, your insulin and other hormone production faculties remain healthy, and when you don’t get enough sleep, your blood pressure goes up and your body works much harder to keep awake. Another benefit of getting a good night’s rest are a stronger immune system (why do you think you’re told to get rest when sick?).
It’s one thing to know about why it’s ideal to get a good night’s sleep, but knowing how to get one can be another battle. We’re a wired society glued to our electronics and bad habits which affect our sleep quality. So here is five tips on how to get a good night’s rest.
1) Charge your phone outside your bedroom
Most people are glued to their phones these days, you can do just about anything with them it seems and it can house entertainment options like no other device. When people wake up one of their first reactions is to grab their phones and this causes the blue light emitted by the device to fire up our brains and keep us awake. Keeping your phone outside of your bedroom can help eliminate or reduce the desire to grab your phone so instead, you can focus on getting good night’s sleep first.
2) Slowly reduce the amount of light you receive through the day
Your circadian rhythm is tied to the amount of light you receive and the natural cycle is to receive gradually increasing amount of light throughout the day until the evening where the amount of light reduces and your left with the darkness of the night. This helps prepare your brain for sleep. It’s also worth asking yourself, do you seriously need every light on inside your house in the evening? More often than not, no, plus it saves you money on your electricity bill to use more natural light.
3) Reduce your portion sizes towards the evening
There is an old saying, ‘’Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper’’, the meaning is fairly obvious and aside from weight control benefits can have a great impact on your nights rest. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are the meals we eat the most food at and take time to digest, eating a heavy meal in the evening before you go to bed can cause discomfort and make your quality of sleep go down. This is especially true if you eat a high protein and/or high fiber meal as they take a lot of effort for the body to digest compared to fats or carbs.
4) Turn off your electronics 45-60 minutes before your bedtime.
Relating back to the first point, blue light emitted by electronics can blunt melatonin production which messes with your ability to fall and stay asleep. Giving yourself a break from your electronics can help get your brain to calm down and relax. Do you really need to be surfing social media or taking selfies before bed as well? Practically speaking, no, no you don’t. So put the phone down and go to bed.
5) Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible
Without question your environment is linked to your health and your bedroom is linked to your sleep quality. You are not going to fall asleep as quickly or get a great sleep quality if you aren’t sleeping in a place you’re fully immersed in. So if you need a new pillow or a new mattress it’s worth the long term investment for your health.
Give these tips a try and see how they work for you. It may not seem like much, but it’s worth a try and these can be applied to other life situations such as being a student or when you’re working on a full time career. They seem like straightforward tips, buts sometimes the most straightforward tips don’t come to us right away.
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