In Part 3 we discussed the effects of sleep on athletic performance. Here, in Part 4, we will discuss some tips for getting more (and better) sleep!
Getting enough sleep is a lifestyle choice.
It’s the decision to live in balance.
It’s deciding who and what is in control of your time.
Yes, it can be challenging.
If you’re not currently getting enough sleep, it could mean making some different choices and setting some different boundaries.
Deciding that you will no longer continue to mindlessly surf the interwebs and play games on your phone into the wee hours of the morning, several hours after you have quit being productive.
Deciding that you will not continue to answer emails and text messages in the middle of the night. Not even if they’re from your boss. Not even if they’re from your clients.
Coming to the realization that sleep is more than just a luxury of the lazy. It is the behind-the-scenes organization that makes your daytime show possible.
Creating an environment for sleep
Throughout the course of human evolution, we have developed certain triggers that tell us when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time to sleep. In our modern society we have become increasingly bad at keeping these things separate.
Light. Motion. Sound.
LIGHT tells the brain to wake up. Darkness tells the brain to go to sleep.
MOTION tells the brain to wake up. Stillness tells the brain to go to sleep.
SOUND tells the brain to wake up. Silence tells the brain to go to sleep.
Therefore, when you’re ready to sleep, your bedroom should look like this:
As opposed to this:
That means making the room dark and quiet. Turn off the TV, close the blinds, turn off your phone, maybe even turn the digital clock towards the wall. Ask your cat to kindly refrain from climbing the bookshelves at 3am.
Do Relaxing Things Before Going To Bed
It helps to take some time to unwind and set the mood.
Take a bath.
Read a book.
Drink a cup of herbal tea.
The first, and most obvious, is caffeine. Try not to have it after lunch.
Quit smoking. Aside from all the other reason to quit smoking, nicotine is a stimulant that can interfere with sleep patterns.
Quit drinking alcohol. Many people think that drinking alcohol at night helps them sleep but this is actually not true. Alcohol is a sedative, yes, that is true but sedated sleep is not the same as natural sleep. Alcohol interferes with the sleep cycles. This is (part of) why you feel so tired the next day after a night out of drinking. Another compelling reason to quit drinking is that alcohol has a negative impact on the metabolism and contributes to weight gain.
I hope you enjoyed this series on SLEEP, The Wonder Drug! To receive more great posts like this one and my FREE workout video, be sure to fill out the form below!
Are you looking for a different kind of personal trainer? I offer one-on-one training in Albuquerque, NM as well as long distance training and consulting via personalized video and Skype. Fill out the form below and I’ll get you started with a FREE workout video!