A good night’s sleep is the secret to success. Without it, your body can’t be its best. Sleep improves brain function, regulates appetite, and repairs cells – just to name a few.1 No wonder athletes use tricks to get good sleep. After all, athletic performance depends on a lifestyle that includes training, nutrition, and sleep. But does that mean non-athletes should brush it off? Definitely not. We can learn a lot about sleep hygiene from athletes.
The most successful athletes know a thing or two about sleeping well. Remember, intense exercise heightens the need for recovery. Getting enough shut-eye is an absolute must. Even if you’re not an athlete, don’t ignore the need for sleep. You need it to be the awesome person that you are.
Try These Seven Tricks For Better Sleep
1. Pick The Same Time For Bed Every Day
Hit the hay at the same time every night. (Yes, it’s basically a bedtime!) By doing so, your body will develop routine, while circadian rhythm develops a regular flow.2 As an internal “body clock”, circadian rhythm also affects your appetite. Sufficient sleep will actually control hunger hormones.3
2. To Sleep Better Wake Up At The Same Time
With consistent bedtimes, this tip won’t take much effort. It’ll get you geared up for the day. Come nighttime, the cycle will continue and sleep will come easy.
3. To Sleep Better Avoid Napping At Irregular Times
Fight the temptation to take a cat nap. It’ll stop you from snoozing later on. Instead, if you’re exhausted, take a short and sweet nap that’s no longer than an hour.4 The National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to 30 minutes.5
4. To Sleep Better Drink Caffeine Early
If you drink caffeinated beverages, do it in the morning. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests using caffeine six hours or more before sleeping.6 So if your bedtime is 9:00 PM, have your last drink by 3:00 PM or earlier.
5. To Sleep Better Avoid Alcohol Before Bed
Some people use alcohol as a “nightcap”, but athletes know better. The sleep that follows is light and choppy.7 Booze also messes with your circadian rhythm, resulting in poor quality rest.8 To top it off, there’s nothing worse than a hangover. It can seriously hinder the day’s productivity!
6. To Sleep Better Cool Down Your Body
Make sure your room is cool, not warm. Heat will make you feel uncomfortable and disrupt sleep. Even worse, it’ll increase the risk for dehydration. To cool down your room, open up the windows or turn on a fan. Keep a glass of water on your nightstand in case you get thirsty.9
7. To Sleep Better Avoid Electronics At All Costs
Electronics release blue light. When the eyes absorb it, our circadian clock is delayed. Melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep, is suppressed. Cognitive function also declines the next morning.10 Plus, using electronics overstimulates the mind, making it hard to sleep. According to Indiana University, it’s best to turn off devices at least an hour before bedtime.11
Adopting these habits will take time. Be patient with yourself and pay attention to how you feel. Eventually, you’ll be sure to notice a difference.
|↑1||Why Is Sleep Important? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑2, ↑4, ↑9, ↑11||Sleep Hygiene. Indiana University Health.|
|↑3||Scheer, Frank AJL, Christopher J. Morris, and Steven A. Shea. “The internal circadian clock increases hunger and appetite in the evening independent of food intake and other behaviors.” Obesity 21, no. 3 (2013): 421-423.|
|↑5||Sleep Hygiene. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑6||Drake, Christopher, Timothy Roehrs, John Shambroom, and Thomas Roth. “Caffeine effects on sleep taken 0, 3, or 6 hours before going to bed.” Journal of clinical sleep medicine: JCSM: official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine 9, no. 11 (2013): 1195.|
|↑7||Improve Your Sleep Hygiene. University of California San Francisco.|
|↑8||Alcohol, Antidepressants, and Circadian Rhythms. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.|
|↑10||Hatori, Megumi, Claude Gronfier, Russell N. Van Gelder, Paul S. Bernstein, Josep Carreras, Satchidananda Panda, Frederick Marks et al. “Global rise of potential health hazards caused by blue light-induced circadian disruption in modern aging societies.” npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease 3 (2017).|