When we think of fitness, we mainly think of exercising and eating well. But sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle and having good quality sleep is paramount to being a happy, healthy individual. We look at the ways you can improve the quality of your sleep and potentially improve your work life and sports performance.
Eliminate noises and distractions
When we sleep, our body produces what is called the Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The secretion of this hormone is vital for many important bodily functions such as building muscle, burning fat, and increasing energy levels. If you have completed a particularly tough workout, it is when you are sleeping and producing this hormone that your body is recovering and getting stronger. However, it is only when we achieve good quality sleep that this hormone is released. If you are constantly being woken up by a snoring partner, crying baby, or other external noises, your body won’t have the chance to secrete this hormone and you will therefore wake up feeling achy, groggy, and moody. Sleep is hugely important for recovery and a broken night’s sleep could ruin your chances of improving in your sports performance and could even affect your work life.
Eliminate noises and distractions by turning off any televisions and music and by sleeping in a silent room. If you have noisy neighbours, make sure you close the windows and doors. If your partner snores, seek out ways to remedy this or, if it is really affecting you, you could ask them to sleep in a different room.
Exercise in the evening
While it may seem logical that exercising in the evening would leave you feeling more awake and make it take longer for you to fall asleep, this is actually a myth. Exercise is proven to improve the quality of sleep as it reduces levels of stress and anxiety, and so by exercising in the evening, you could improve the quality of your sleep. Conversely, if you had an off-day in your training, it could be because you had a bad night’s sleep. One will help the other, and finding a good time to train does come down to personal preference. There is no scientific proof to say that it is better to exercise in the morning or the evening, but if you are not sleeping well, it could be worth a try.
Quit the coffee
Coffee has a half-life of 6 hours, which means that 6 hours after drinking a cup of coffee, you will still have 50% of the effects of the caffeine in your system. So, if you regularly drink tea or coffee in the afternoon at work, you will still be feeling the effects well into the evening and when you are trying to fall asleep. Try cutting out any coffee whatsoever in the afternoon and cut back to just one cup of a coffee a day in the morning.