If you have one rule, it should be this: make sleep a priority.
A minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended by the NHS and other worldwide health bodies. This is the expert advice but personal needs to differ from the norm and you may find you need more or less to be at your best. Some people require more sleep in the winter and less in the summer, as their bodies adjust to British Summer Time.
A well-rested body enjoys a much fuller life. Here are our tips to get your optimal level of sleep:
1. Stop Exercising before Bed
Daily exercise is something we’ll always preach. The benefits of exercise are something we discuss day after day but for good sleep it is best exercise is avoided too late in the evening. Hormones that increase as you exercise, particularly cortisol, are known to disrupt sleep. Give your body time to unwind and reduce these hormones before lying down to sleep. If you do want to exercise after 6pm then yoga or walking or other low impact exercises are recommended.
2. Avoid Alcohol
Chances are, if you’re maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, that alcohol doesn’t play a huge role in your life. However, if you want a good night’s sleep then it shouldn’t play any role at all. Alcohol will help you drift off quickly but it won’t be a restful sleep.
3. Create a Routine
Routines aren’t just for babies. The human body thrives on them. Create a bedtime routine and be strict with it and make sure you carry it through to mornings too. Go to bed at the same time each night, including weekends, and follow the same routine prior to bed. This could be turning off all electronics an hour before sleep, brushing your teeth and spending a little time reading or enjoying a refreshing bedtime drink.
In the morning you should try and ensure you always get up within 30 minutes of the same time, it helps keep your body in check and refreshed the same each day of the week.
A healthy sleep regime is key to living a healthy life and your body will thank you for it. Get enough sleep and your motivation levels will soar - you will have the energy to go to the gym and exercise!
That's interesting Roger - I had a large curry at 10pm last night, watched a film on a flickering tv screen, promptly conked out and had the best night's sleep I've had for ages..!!
cheese? I didn't know that. Anyone know why?
caffeine and cheese are a disaster before bed as well. You'll never drop off!
definitely. I'd also add that large meals just before bed are not ideal - for me, anyway. A full stomach is not conducive to a good night's rest!
another important one - no screens close to bedtime! The blue tones in laptop and phone screens disturb sleep cycles. Screens should be OFF 30 minutes before bed and phones out of the bedroom.