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5 top tips for a good night’s sleep

By Darren O'Toole | In Health | on July 20, 2014

The impact that any personal trainer or conditioning coach can have on improving performance is predominantly focused on three key areas: exercise, nutrition and hydration. However an oft overlooked area is that of sleep.

I came to write this blog after a couple of days of poor sleep. This time of year often results in impaired slumber as the temperature overnight rises creating an unfamiliar sleeping environment. From my perspective, I’m sure that stress and thinking over some recent concerns has undoubtedly contributed to my limited shut-eye.

Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. To establish how much sleep you need, it’s important to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.

Studies in sport have revealed the impact on injury of reduced sleep. By sleeping eight or nine hours, the risk is substantially reduced compared to six or seven hours per night.

Given that most people – athletes and everyday folk – struggle to get eight hours of sleep each evening, are we putting ourselves at added risk of injury when we train? Plus what effect does this have on the quality of our training and even the quality of our everyday output?
It’s therefore important that we strive to get as near to eight hours a night as possible. Below are five top tips to help you along with your quest…

5 top tips

1. Wind down the technology
As the evening nears its close and you begin the process of winding down, the easiest way will be to shut down your technology – TV, phones, iPads, laptops. Take out a book and begin your quiet time

2. Think about your day earlier on
Arriving in bed can often be the time where one gets the space to dwell on the day’s activities, discoveries and revelations. Go through your evaluation process before you hit the hay. If it helps, make a couple of notes about your thoughts during the day so that you feel that you’ve comprehending what has occurred without it needing to disrupt your sleep.

3. Prepare for the next day
Ok, how many people have done this? Everyone I bet. You get to bed and then your mind wanders with everything you need to remember and prepare for the morning. Instead, pack your bags, get your clothes ready and ensure that your morning will be as hassle-free as possible. This will give you a little inner peace for the night ahead.

4. Ditch the caffeine and up the hydration
This doesn’t mean that you should be going to bed with a full bladder that’ll no doubt force you to wake within an hour of nodding off. However by feeling hydrated, you’ll guarantee that you will get a solid sleep and will wake up fresh for the endeavours of the day to follow. Decrease your caffeine intake so that no consumption is taken in after 6pm (or 4 hours before bed as the very latest).

5. Avoid an argument
One of the key things to keep people from having their desired quota can often be an argument which festers into the evening. Most are trivial and are better resolved before you go to bed, so always do your level best to never substitute pillow talk for pillow fights!

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