Okay, we've all done it.
It's become a badge of pride in our society to sleep four hours a night and live on coffee and energy drinks, because we're all just sooooo busy. And we are, that's real.
But if you're looking to train like some kind of athlete, not get sick (pretty important right now!!) and feel less like crap all the time, you need to get those Z's.
Quality and quantity matter, and at least 7 hours a night should be the minimum. Here's the top tips for better sleep - you don't have to try to do all ten at once, but pick the one or two that are going to be easiest for you, and go from there!
· Have a consistent routine, especially in terms of timeline. If one day you curl up at 9pm, and the next night you pass out on the couch at 1am with a pizza box, your body doesn’t know what’s coming, and it has a hard time finding a rhythm.
· Keep the bedroom cool. Your body responds better to lower temperatures, and while mileage may vary, a few degrees difference signals your brain that it’s time to shut down for the night.
· Remove distractions from the bedroom – it’s long been said that your bedroom should only be for two things, and I’ll let you figure out the second one.
(sex. it was sex.)
· Find the most comfortable position and stick with it. This might take some trial and error, but if you’re tossing and turning, or you wake up feeling like the tin man, that’s probably not your best bet.
· Find a way to filter out noise that’s going to keep you up. For some people, that’s just closing the door, for others it’s taking the TV out of the bedroom. You might invest in a white noise machine, which I personally can recommend as it definitely covers up all the neighborhood background sound.
· Get some activity in your day. You knew this one was coming. Not every day has to be a body-crushing max workout, but moving your body every day will help fatigue you at least a bit and make sleep easier without that extra energy.
· Limit caffeine intake in general and especially in the six hours before bedtime - you have a bedtime now, right? This means if you’re an evening workout person like myself, slamming that triple shot of pre-workout powder might not be the best move. This applies to stimulants in general, including nicotine. If you smoke, well – you should just quit altogether. If that bothers you, you’re probably on the wrong website. Sorry, not sorry.
· Keep your sleeping place dark. I bought blackout shades recently and it was an amazing change. Not everyone will need this, but a light shining in you window, a night light (just no, unless you’re at risk of falling in the night), or a bunch of blinky-light devices and chargers is going to mess with your sleep.
· Do things that calm you before bed. Take a bath, read a book, write in your journal, do that second thing the bedroom is for…something that helps you relax. Right before bed is not the time to read your work emails, follow that politically active aunt on facebook (you know the one), or watch documentaries about local serial killers.
Remember, this is an overview of the low-hanging fruit. Pick one or two of these and make sure you can do them consistently before you start adding more. They will each have different value for a given person, so find some way of tracking your sleep - I recommend a WHOOP strap or Fitbit but there are lots of things out there.
Get some quality rest so you can crush your day!