You may have heard that ‘sleep is the best meditation’, and for most people, a good night’s sleep can do a world of good.
Some may need more or less, but the average person needs at least 8 hours sleep per night and an absolute minimum of 6 hours. On occasion, a short nap of around 20 minutes can also help the body but this is entirely dependent on the person.
Help your muscles recover
The body has many functions, and when we’re awake, it has to focus on keeping us alert, moving, digesting food and more. While we sleep however, the body can fully focus on muscular recovery, not necessarily from exercising, but also from injury. This is why it’s so important to get enough sleep, as our body can put all of its efforts into repairing muscle.
Learn in your slumber
Did you know that our brains do the most learning while we sleep? If you’ve had a long day at work, school or uni, getting enough sleep can help absorb and retain information. It’s also been shown that short naps can help retain information longer and better. So, if you’ve taken on a large amount in the day, plan a strategic nap afterwards to help you absorb everything more optimally.
Improve your sleep hygiene
Let’s take a look at the best ways you can improve your sleep quality for the best night’s sleep:
- Avoid blue light at least an hour before bed (steer clear from your iPhone, tablet, laptop or tv screens).
- Blacked out bedroom with blackout blind, ensuring there is no natural light creeping through and it is the darkest you can make it.
- Make sure your bedroom temperature is cool, not warm.
- Get lots of magnesium in your diet/supplement it.
- Epsom salt baths to help unwind and relax before bed.
- Set a consistent bedtime and wake up time, plus keep meal frequency and timings consistent to help routine.
- Avoid caffeine after 1pm and stay hydrated.
Fall asleep in 1, 2, 3
Some people can sleep the minute their head touches the pillow, however, that’s not the case for everyone. If you suffer with being able to fall asleep easily, take some of these steps:
- Try 5 minutes of deep breathing before bed.
- Add complex carbs to your last meal before bed to stimulate the release of serotonin, making you more sleepy.
- Eat casein or dairy an hour before you sleep.
- Have trouble breathing? Try nasal strips.
- Supplement melatonin, but only to induce routine. This should only be taken for around a week until you’re in a routine.
Rest and recovery
Whether you’ve been training hard or have an injury, recovery is just as important as sleep. Once you’ve nailed your sleep routine and are getting a decent amount of quality sleep, look to improve your rest and recovery:
- Take epsom salt baths once per week. The salts contain magnesium for improved relaxation.
- Try yoga, pilates or a stretching class once per week to help keen yin yang balance.
- Add meditation into your morning or evening routine.
- Boost your ‘happy hormones’ by doing something for at least one hour per day that you find fun. For example, see your friends, watch your favourite tv show, go shopping or play a game on the playstation.
- At work, eat outside of the office and not at your desk.
- Supplements that help with recovery include vitamin c and ashwagandha.
Early bird catches the worm
Getting up early may seem hard, but there are certain tweaks you can make to help you:
- Set 2 alarms, one on your phone and the other on the other side of the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Invest in a sunrise alarm that lights up gradually 30 minutes before your alarm kicks in. This will trick your brain into thinking the sun is rising and upregulates your morning hormones.
- Once your alarm rings, get out of bed straight away and avoid snoozing it.
- If you can, get outside into the fresh air as soon as possible after waking up.
- If you feel groggy when you wake, try supplementing glycine.