We all know quality sleep is crucial for our health. It’s needed for muscle recovery, hormone regulation, learning and memory retention plus much, much more.
But most of aren’t getting enough sleep or we aren’t getting enough quality sleep.
We’ve written previous articles about the importance of sleep and the negative side effects that a lack of sleep can have on us. So if you want more information on that, search our website
Today’s article is one thing you can do every day to improve our sleep quality.
In the morning, we realise it’s extremely hard to go from 0-100 straight away. Not many people wake up to an alarm and are immediately jumping out of bed and functioning at their best. Usually it takes time. Maybe a shower gets you going. Maybe a coffee and some breakfast will do the trick.
Sometimes you might not be fully awake until your cortisol has had time to rise by mid-morning.
So if we can’t go from 0-100 in the morning, why would we expect to be able to go from 100-0 at night-time before bed.
If this is you than you’ve probably noticed having regular restless nights of sleep or a struggle to get to sleep in the first place.
So what can we do before bed that is going to set us up for the most chance at a successful, restorative night of quality sleep?
The first thing we should do is try and cut out all technology one hour before bed. Ideally, you’d be doing this upwards of two hours before bed. But let’s be realistic, one hour is manageable on a daily basis for most people. Reducing technology and most importantly ‘screen time’ is huge, as getting too much of it tricks your body into thinking it’s still day-time. The light from the screen produces a similar response from our brain as the sun does. Our hormones, specifically melatonin, is released at a later time which pushes back our natural internal clock (a.k.a. circadian rhythm).
So if we can’t use our phones or our TV for the hour leading up to bed, what on earth are we going to do?!
Foam rolling, stretching and breath work:
Regardless of if you’re an athlete or not, a light foam rolling session, coupled with some stretching and breath work can be a game-changer. Spending 5-10 minutes rolling out large muscle groups before stretching out relaxes your body in preparation for a deep, restorative sleep. If you have a breathing or meditation practice, now would be a great time to incorporate it. If not, just focus on holding each stretch for 6 deep belly breaths. You’ll notice your heart rate state to drop, you’ll get tired and you’ll fall asleep much easier.
Easy household chores:
Matthew Walker argues in his book – ‘Why We Sleep’ – that the hour or two before bed is a great time to do household chores that take very little energy level. Activities such as doing the dishes, preparing tomorrow’s lunch, or doing the washing can all be performed in this time as it’s work that doesn’t take much thought or effort.
For the readers out there – reading under the light of a small lamp or candle can be a great way to prepare for sleep. This ticks off the ‘no tech’ rule, it’s relaxing and seems to have some sort of sleep-inducing effect close to bed-time. Instead of focusing on a set time or page count, read until your eyes start to become drowsy. When they do, flick the light off and put the book away. You’ll be amazed at much better your sleep quality is when compared to falling asleep with the TV on.
I hope this helps push you in the right direction for improving your sleep. If you want more advice on sleep, don’t hesitate to send our page a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Remember that we don’t expect ourselves to go from 0-100 in the morning, so why would we expect to go from 100-0 before bed. #one22