Optimising sleep is paramount for your recovery, not only from exercise, but from everyday life as well. Accumulating evidence from epidemiological studies and well-controlled lab studies indicate lack of sleep may increase weight gain and the risk of obesity. Lack of sleep also results in metabolic and endocrine alterations, such as:
– Decreased insulin sensitivity
– Raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol during the evening
– Increased levels of ghrelin, a hunger hormone
– Decreased levels of leptin, a satiety hormone
– Lowered release of human growth hormone (GH)
Regardless of your goals, 8-9 hours of sleep a night is important, so try these practical tips to get a better nights sleep.
Optimise Your Sleeping Environment
Turn your bedroom into a batcave. Keep it cool, dark and turn off all electronic distractions such as phones, TV’s and radios etc.
Have A Curfew
A good nights sleep is essentially a good habit. Having a specified time to be in bed by every night will reinforce this. Discipline yourself.
Avoiod Stimulants In The evenings
Nothing upsets your natural sleep cycle like a big dose of caffeine in the evening. Eliminate all tea’s, coffees and other stimulant/high caffeinated drinks after 3pm.
Empty The Tank Before Bed
Another sure-fire way to upset your natural sleep cycle is to be waking up countless times during the night to have a pee. Whilst drinking more water is highly encouraged, be sensible by tapering off your intake as the day wears on, and go to the toilet before going to bed.
Take a moment before you switch off to have a quick think about everyone and everything you have in your life that you’re thankful for. It is much easier to fall asleep being at peace.
Wake Up Naturally
If you’re getting enough sleep you should wake up naturally. If you find yourself getting woken up from a deep slumber by an alarm ringing in your ear, try getting to bed 30-60 minutes earlier. Try to avoid sleeping for 9 hours one night, 4 hours the next, followed by 14 hours the next. Like with all things fitness related, consistency is key.