We all love a good sleep… but unless you live in Italy or Spain where naps are part of life, chances are, you aren’t getting enough.
Our fast paced lifestyles have come at a cost… lack of sleep and / or lack of quality sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation of Australia we should be looking at around 7 hours plus of sleep per night depending on age (check out the link at the bottom for your age dependent sleep needs). Although the amount of sleep isn’t necessarily as important as the sleep quality itself.
According to Mathew Walker who is a professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California and the founder of of the Centre for Human Sleep Science insufficient sleep has causal links to diseases and sickness such as obesity, stroke, diabetes & alzheimers.
Below is a list of practices that you can use to help improve the quality of your sleep:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule – By sticking to a regular sleep schedule your body will know when to release calming hormones before bed and stimulating hormones to wake up.
- Exercise regularly – Physical movement can promote a restful sleep at night as the body is looking to recover.
- Have a balanced diet – A healthy balanced diet will help the body function properly which will in turn help you sleep.
- Keep alcohol and caffeine moderate – Try to avoid caffeine 8-9 hours before your bedtime.
- Turn off electronics – Our digital devices stimulate the brain, try to avoid tv’s, computers, tablets and smartphones 30 minutes before bed. The screens release a blue light that prevents our brains from preparing for sleep.
- Stretch or destress – Try doing some yoga, reading or meditation to help calm the mind.
- Sleep for at least 7 hours – Set yourself a regular bedtime and work towards sticking to it as much as possible.
- Take a bath or shower – A warm bath with epsom salts can promote restful sleep.
- Keep the room dark – Install dark curtains or shades on the windows or use a sleep mask.
- Keep the room cool – Anywhere around 15 – 20 degrees.
- Do an information dump – Write down anything that is bothering you or any ideas that you have to help avoid thinking about them when trying to get to sleep.
- Use white noise – Turn on a fan or humidifier.
- Get some sunlight and fresh air during the day.
If you are interested in hearing more about the benefits / risks associated with sleep, we suggest listening to the Joe Rogan podcast (1109) with Mathew Walker. http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/matthew-walker
If you have any questions or would like help with your own diet or training, contact us at
- The Essentials of Sport & Exercise Nutrition, third edition – Precision Nutrition