Sleep is one of our basic needs. When we sleep our whole organism gets to restart. We already talked about how important sleep is in a post not too long ago. Today I will share a few tips on what to avoid, if you have trouble sleeping and how to get the best out of it.
1. Limit you caffein intake
If you have trouble falling asleep try to watch your caffein intake. A couple of early morning and morning coffees won’t affect your sleep, however afternoon or even evening coffee is a different story. Watch out for after-wod drinks too, some contain up to 200mg of coffee which is 2-3 shots of espresso.
2. Try to train earlier
Moving and tiring your body out is good for your sleep. However, if there are only 2 to 3 hours in-between the end of the work out and your bed time, the physical activity can do more damage than good. Especially after short intense workout, our bodies are over-energised and you find your self starring at the ceiling instead of sleeping.
3. Don’t over-booze it
It may seem that alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, but the quality is limited, especially if you over do it. Your body is busy getting rid of all the alcohol and the usual regeneration of your organism can’t happen. One or two glasses of wine won’t affect your sleep, but if you are planning to drink more, you should plan your night out on a day when there is no hard WOD and your body doesn’t have to work hard to relieve your muscles when you sleep.
4. Don’t eat a huge meal right before you go to bed
It’s totally possible that because of work and all our daily errands we don’t eat right or on the regular. Most of us try to compensate for it in the evening. If you know you are going to eat a big meal for dinner, plan it so that you are done eating at least 2 hours before you head to bed. You won’t be going to sleep with a full belly and fall asleep easier.
5. Make your own pre-sleep ritual
A daily pre-sleep ritual can help you fall asleep faster. Some of you may take a hot bath or shower, some may meditate or read. You can study a language or a field you are interested it. The important thing is that while you are doing this activity your brain is not occupied by the stress of the day or what needs to be done tomorrow and gets to restart.
6. Limit your pre-bed screen time
Starring at a screen also has an affect on how you sleep. If you can’t avoid looking at your phone or laptop before you go to bed because of work, try using an app that dims down the blue light. Your eyes will get to rest a bit and your body will easily wash out melatonin, a sleep hormone which is washed out the dark.
7. Sleep in a dark cold room
Sleeping in a completely dark room is a problem we face when we live in the city. Street lamps, other buildings all light up the dark and no curtain can totally block them. Try using a sleeping mask. At the begging it can be a bit uncomfortable, but after you get used to it, your sleep will improve. The mask helps even when you involuntarily wake up with the sunrise or want to take a quick nap. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 16 and 20 C. Read more about it here.
8. Try to go to bed at the same time
If your schedule allows it, try to go to bed at the same time every day. Your body will adjust to this rhythm fast and you will see that you wake up well rested.
9. Try supplements
If none of the above tips or their combo work, maybe you can try some supplements that help with your sleep like melatonin or magnesium. Melatonin is a hormone that is natural to our bodies and regulates our daily rhythms. As I said before it gets washed out on the dark. If you sleep in a dark room and don’t look at your phone or laptop screen and still have trouble falling asleep I recommend you try taking this supplement.
Magnesium is a mineral that helps relax our nervous system and overall relaxes you before bed. It also regulates melatonin and has many great affects on regeneration. If you don’t take magnesium regularly I suggest you start taking it before you go to sleep.
I hope these tips help you fall asleep and sleep better. If you still find yourselves rolling from side to side you can always try to count sheep, put your pillow on the other side of the bed. And if your work allows it, try to nap for 15-30 minutes during the day, you will be less tired and help your regeneration.