Sleep is an investment in yourself. For your health, mood and state of mind. It is the best medicine we have available to us as humans. And best of all - it's free! We will discuss the importance of getting a great night's sleep and share some tips on how you can improve the quality of your sleep.
For humans, sleep is an essential component of our overall health and performance. For athletes, it becomes even more crucial. Sleep plays a critical role in physical recovery, mental well-being, and cognitive function. Poor sleep quality can lead to fatigue, decreased concentration, and increased risk of injury. The average person gets 8 hours of sleep per night, that's 1/3 of their day. Say, if this person lived to 80, they would spend almost 27 years of their life asleep! So we want to get this right. To improve the quality of your sleep, consider the following strategies:
1. Create a happy sleep environment. Make sure your bedroom is cool (18-19 degrees), as dark as possible, and quiet. Use comfortable bedding and invest in a supportive mattress and pillow.
2. Establish a regular sleep schedule. Our body loves routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
3. Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption. Caffeine and alcohol can disrupt sleep and lead to poor sleep quality. The general rule is to stop ingesting caffeine at least 10 hours before bedtime.
4. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by electronic devices can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep.
5. Relax before bed. Practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises, or read a book to help you unwind and prepare for sleep.
6. Avoid large meals before bedtime. Eating a heavy meal before bed can disrupt sleep and lead to indigestion. Try and give yourself 2-3 hours between your last large meal and bedtime.
If you can do these 6 things consistently, you will be setting yourself up beautifully to train and perform at your best. Remember, we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, so we want to maximise its quality. And one last thing - don't go cheap on your mattress, pillow and sheets - you will be spending many years of your life on them!