We all need sleep, but all sleep isn’t created equal. In fact, it’s as much about quality as quantity.
Think about it. When do you feel best? After 9 hours of tossing and turning, or after 6 hours of snoring like a baby?
The sad truth is that most people are deprived of good sleep on an almost nightly basis, and it’s almost entirely their own doing.
You’ve seen it, I’m sure. The couple drinking Coke at 11pm, watching TV, eating ice cream. Or scrolling through twitter at midnight. These are surefire ways to steal the quality right out of your sleep.
That would be fine, except bad sleep bleeds over into your day, particularly if you’re trying to improve your health and fitness. When you’re yawning at 2pm, or sprinting around in the morning because you hit snooze 5 times, how can you be expected to get in a good workout? Or prepare a balanced lunch that fuels you through the day?
With that in mind, I’ve got a few tips up my sleeve that help me sleep like a baby, and can you help you be out as soon as your head hits the pillow.
- An hour before you plan on falling asleep, power down your phone, and don’t look at it again until the morning. That goes for TV and laptop screens too. They emit light at a level that can really disrupt your natural sleep rhythms.
- After you’ve put your electronics to bed for the night, boil the kettle, and make a caffeine-free herbal tea (chamomile or lavender are great). Let it steep as you move to step 3.
- Take a hot shower. After you’re clean, close your eyes for a minute or two, and start thinking about that restful sleep you’re about to get. I like to think about words, like ‘cosy’, ‘sleepy’, and ‘toasty’. I can’t explain why, but they seem to help me get in the right mindset.
- Drink your tea, and either read a book, or just sit and think. Try not to worry about tomorrow. Just enjoy the feeling as your body starts to power down.
- Jump into bed, and enjoy the z’s.
This whole thing will get easier with habit. I know, I know, it’s tough to not look at your phone at first, but the sooner you can make your bedroom a place that’s electronic free, the sooner you’ll build a habit that makes your entire day better, not just your nights.
Another quick tip: earn your sleep. Go run, walk, or train hard. It’ll be far easier to power down if you’ve been powered up all day, instead of sitting on the couch watching soap operas.
Try it for a few days, and let us know how you get on!