A sound snooze results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you just feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you’re not getting it. So how do we get that all-important 8 hours of sleep that we all desire? Well don’t despair, here at ithlete we have put together some really useful sleep better tips for you to try and if you follow these tips you’ll be in the land of nod before you know it!
Research has shown that there seems to be an ideal temperature for sleep. In general, the optimal temperature for sleep is quite cool, around 16 to 18 degrees (60-68 Fahrenheit). When this temperature is very high, it takes longer to fall asleep, and once sleep is achieved, it is broken up or fragmented and there is less dreaming. Temperatures that fall too far below or above this range can lead to restlessness. So try turning your thermostat down before you go to bed and let the restful sleep begin!
Take a Hot Bath
Carrying on with the temperature theme, body temperature naturally dips at night, starting two hours before sleep and bottoming out at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., according to a 1997 study conducted by New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. When you soak in a hot tub, your temperature rises—and the rapid cool-down period immediately afterward relaxes you.Two hours before bed, soak in the tub for 20 or 30 minutes, recommends Joyce Walsleben, PhD, associate professor at New York University School of Medicine. “If you raise your temperature a degree or two with a bath, the steeper drop at bedtime is more likely to put you in a deep sleep,” she says. A shower is less effective but can work, as well.
Stay away from computers, smartphones or tablets in the two hours before you head to bed. The blue light stimulates your brain and prevents you from feeling sleepy. Science backs this up, research has demonstrated that nighttime light exposure suppresses the production of melatonin, the major hormone secreted by the pineal gland that controls sleep and wake cycles. Therefore, a reduction in melatonin at night is associated with subjective levels of sleeplessness.
A recent study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that although a raid in the booze cupboard before bed might initially help you fall asleep, the sleep you have will be less restful. Obviously alcohol has a negative effect on HRV, and as looked at in our recent post heart rate variability (HRV) is directly linked to sleep quality . Clearly this can impact recovery and performance and therefore you might like to avoid it or limit to time periods away from competition and/or rigorous training schedules.
Make your Room Dark
It’s a more obvious one but a dark room is essential to get a good night’s sleep, but that does means more than simply turning off your bedside lamp. As we’ve already discussed, lights from technologies such as clock radios, televisions, computers and phones all have glowing lights that negatively affect your sleep. Get rid of these light sources or cover them up. You would be surprised at how disruptive a small amount of light can be to your sleep.
Enjoy your sleep!
It’s widely accepted that 8 hours is the optimal amount of sleep so that you can fulfil your daily tasks or perform in your chosen sport. Nevertheless, if you’ve been keeping an eye on our previous blog posts you will be aware that it’s important to pay attention to your own individual needs by assessing how you feel on different amounts of sleep. These tips however should help you to get the correct amount of sleep you require to perform to your best.