Top 5 ways to improve your sleep
Sleep is an often underrated factor when it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing. To maximise recovery from workouts, manage stress and generally ensure your body functions effectively, it’s essential to get good quality sleep and the right amount of it. Here’s 5 easy ways to do both:
- Aim for between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. Less than 5 and more than 9 is associated with a host of health complications including heart disease, diabetes and obesity
- Don’t look at screens for 1-2 hours before bed. The artificial light not only interferes with production of melatonin (the hormone that initiates and maintains sleep), the stimulation we get from checking social media and watching television increases cortisol secretion which will keep you awake. So no TV, phone or laptop use before bed!
- Avoid tea, coffee and energy drinks for at least 2-3 hours before bed. Caffeine has a stimulatory effect on the body
- Go to bed at the same time every night when possible. This enables your body to settle into a regular routine. What time is best? Around 10pm, but certainly before 11pm as the optimal time for the adrenal glands to recover is between 11pm and 1am
- Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Melatonin is released as light starts to fade in the evening but is maximised in complete darkness. Use blackout curtains and/or wear an eye mask, and don’t turn the light on if you go to the bathroom in the night