Sleep is an essential part of healing and recovery from injury and equally essential to your performance throughout the waking hours! It is very easy to make changes to maximise the rest and recvoery you get whilst sleeping. Whether you think you sleep well or not, implementing these top tips will ensure that you get a good nights sleep every night for the rest of your life.
It is recommended that you sleep between 7-9 hours per night. I aim for 8 hours. Try to be in bed by 10pm for lights out at 1030pm. Your physical recovery takes place between the hours of 10pm-2am and your mental recovery from 2am-6am. If you miss any of this your recovery will be impaired and your performance the next day may be impacted. Recently some experts have said that you can recover sleep debt from the weekdays at the weekend. I would advise getting into a routine during the week as recent research has also found that varying your bedtimes is akin to the effects of travelling through different time zones. If you've travelled to Asia or Australia you'll know what that does to your body! Even a 1 or 2 hour time change frequently can have an unsettling effect on your sleep quality.
2. Electromagnetic interference
Reduce and ideally eliminate exposure to TV, ipad, smartphone, computer 2 hours before bed. The light from these screens stimulates the retinae and set off a hormonal response that it is still daylight. This will not calm you down in preparation for sleep. Take the TV out of your bedroom and any electrical items that are plugged in. Electromagnetic stress will disturb your sleep quality.
3. Dim the lights
If possible spend the last 2 hours of your day in lower lighting. This gradually prepares the body for sleep. When light sources to your eyes are reduced it increases the production of melatonin the sleep hormone and your body then starts its preparation of slowing down to sleep.
4. Black out your room
Black out all sources of light from your room. If you live in a city you'll need to black out your windows. A great product I have come across recently is
- black out blinds that are easy to put up, take down and travel with.
Quiet your sleep chamber. Our body and brain responds to sound even when we are asleep. The quieter your sleep time the better quality you'll enjoy! Use ear plugs if you are in a noisy area of town - just make sure you can still here your alarm in the morning.
6. Night time routine
The best way to prepare for sleep is do just that - prepare. I recommend a bath in low light. Scents like lavender and rose are calming and soothing. You can replace watching TV or surfing online for reading. Read something that will calm you - that means no work documents or scary stories. Choose something escapist and fantastical. You could also do some light stretching - if you have been given a daily corrective exercise programme by Precision Movement we encourage clients to do 10-20 minutes of this as a wind down before going to sleep.
This can be a controversial one but the act of focussing on one thing helps quiet the mind and prepare the body and brain for sleep. I use a meditation CD as I like to be guided. My favourite CDs are by Deepak Chopra but there are many prodcuts out there that work. If you struggle to drift off after all this preparation then I would recommend a sleep CD. There are some amazing products out there which I have used myself. My favourite one that always send me sweetly off is Pzizz from
. As well as a guided meditation style speaker they have music and tones that activate theta brain waves - theta is the frequency our brain waves vibrate at when we sleep.
8. Gratitude x 10 + 3Qs
Sounds like an equation? Well let's call it the sleep equation! This is my favourite one and I love getting ready for bed just to complete this task. List 10 things you are grateful for that day. Then answer the following 3 questions -who did you help today? Who helped you? What did you learn?
9. Anyone for tea?
Limit and ideally eliminate caffeine after 12pm. Your body has a natural hormone rhythm that gets you up and puts you to bed. Caffeine really interferes with this and in turn interrupts your sleep quality. Use herbal teas before bed. Look out for special sleep blends and ingredients such as camomile, valerian root and fennel. My favourite sleepy tea is
10. Don't you worry don't worry child!
If your head is flooded with worries and things you forgot to do today, then keep a journal by your bed. Write everything down that is bothering you. This act of transferring it out and into your 'to do' book will calm your mind so you can prepare to rest.
The key to making this work for you is to get into a routine. That is why I have designed a sleep chart for you to fill in. Download it here and track your progress over 30 days. Let me know how you do on Facebook or Twitter. And with that said I feel a yawn coming on. Wishing you a super sleep every night of your life.