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Many of us go day to day expressing our appreciation for good sleep and wishing we had "more hours in the day". Fortunately for us the earths rotation has made matters easy and given us 24.
24 hours to optimise and squeeze the most out of each and every day. It is apparent that many people are getting their priorities mixed up and not giving themselves the ability to make the most of those 24 hours by reducing their duration of sleep or not setting themselves up for the best possible sleep they can have.
Optimising sleep is unparalleled one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and wellness. Low quality or lack of sleep is a stepping stone to compounding roadblocks to achieving your health, fitness or life goals.
Sleeping more is going to allow us to....
Below we are going to run through 4 simple steps to improving your sleep that you can implement immediately.
1. More Daylight In The Day & Less Blue Light At Night
Your body has a natural clock known as your circadian rhythm it effects your brain and body telling you when it is time to be awake and when it is time to rest.
Consuming adequate sunlight exposure in the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy and in check.
At the same time over exposure to blue light in close proximity to bed 1-2 hours can trick your brain into thinking it is daylight by inducing a stimulating effect to a ganglion located behind the eye.
Simple adjustments such as utilising blue light blocking glasses, screen filters or cutting out TV, Smart Phone & Computer usage 2 hours before bed and read a book instead.
2. Reducing Large Doses Of Caffeine Late In The Afternoon
Now this is a basic one although many people under estimate the effect consuming caffeine late in the afternoon can have on their sleep.
Caffeine slows down melatonin production to allow us to feel less tired and focused although melatonin is an important hormone in allowing us to actually get to sleep.
Caffeine is a staple in many performance based pre workouts or nootropic products so obviously is used by many to improve training capacity or work capacity. Although consuming caffeine within a 6 hour period of bed can drastically reduce sleep quality for some
Simple changes such as utilising a non stimulant based pre workout like GHOST PUMP or Redcon 1 Big Noise can provide the benefit of muscular endurance, power and blood flow without the stimulatory effect that caffeine has therefore you can make the most out of your workout without limiting your sleep quality.
For some coffee is there drink of choice and generally it is a taste or routine based craving so drinking decaffeinated coffee is an easy adjustment to make.
3. Mind Dumping or Using A Journal
It is very common that people find it hard to "switch off" when they get in to bed with many ideas, concepts and troubles floating around in there head after a long day.
Each night before bed, take out that pad and jot down all your thoughts and to-do’s for the next day. At this point of your day, while you’re lying in bed, there is literally nothing you can do about any of that shit – whether it’s an idea or something for the next day, you’re in bed…. So for now, forget about it.
Articulating these thoughts can be a powerful tool for also now providing you a plan of attack on your next day while also allowing you to set your mind at ease for the night.
Do not under estimate the power of the diary.
4. Keep A Consistent Sleep Schedule Over The Week
Try to get into a regular sleep/wake cycle — especially on the weekends. If possible, try to wake up naturally at a similar time every day.
Your body's circadian rhythm functions on a set loop, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset, so when you consciously make an effort to maintain this pattern you can notice an increase in your ability to get to sleep and stay asleep. This is a reason why "shift workers" may often suffer lower quality sleep then individuals with a consistent routine.
Altering your pattern consistently has shown that your body can increase melatonin production at inconsistent times and also make you feel tired when you should be focused and ready.