Take a moment to think about your sleeping habits. Do you toss and turn throughout the night? Do you struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Do you find yourself dozing off during your daily meetings at work? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to know that there are better methods to combat fatigue than guzzling sugar infused energy drinks or another coffee break.
This is certainly not a dig on coffee. We like our caffeine as much as the next guy. However, the trick to being more alert and focussed during the day is not to supplement countless uppers. The key is to take more pride in your nightly sleep regime. So before we take that first step to reach whatever fitness goals we might have, let's begin by laying a solid foundation with proper recovery habits.
Did you know that the average human spends about a third of their lives sleeping? While it might seem counterproductive, sleeping is the absolute most important recovery method that we have. When we sleep, our central nervous system recharges and restores our energy reserves for the next day. Without habitually investing in a proper sleep routine, you will never reach your full potential while you are awake. Below you will find our favorite methods for structuring the ultimate sleep environment. Keep in mind that these are not recommendations to try once or twice per week. These are applicable methods that you should work to incorporate into your daily routine, just like your morning cup of joe. You will find that these habits will begin to compound over time if they are given a moderate level of practice.
- Avoid all screens for two hours before going to bed. This does not just mean turning off the boob tube. You should do your best to stay away from that phone of yours, which might be the most addictive substance in your house. We recommend leaving your phone in another room while you sleep and investing in an old fashioned alarm clock. Then your phone will not be the first thing you look at the second you open your eyes in the morning. This simple change goes a long way.
- Align your sleep patterns as close as possible to the cycle of the sun. Of course this is easier said than done, but your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) was developed over millions of years to sleep when the sun sets and wake up at sunrise. Avoid straying from these time slots. We also recommend making your bedroom as dark as possible at night.
- Crank up that AC unit at night! Studies show that your core body temperature begins to fall several hours before your head hits the pillow, and continues to drop until early morning. Your body naturally cools itself through a process called vasodilation, where your body increases blood flow away from its core. Lowering the temperature at night encourages this process.
- Stretch every night before bed. While the physical advantages of stretching are well known, night stretches are often overlooked as a sleep remedy. Night stretches allow you to get in tune with your mind and breath before going to sleep instead of being consumed by the previous days’ stressors.
- Make sure you are moving your body during the day. The majority of sleep problems arise when we are not active during our waking hours. If you are getting the proper amount of exercise, insomnia should not be an issue for you. This is the single most important method to obtain a proper sleep routine.
- Finally, if you have tried all of these methods and you are still having trouble shutting your eyes, there are some all natural supplements that are known to promote better rest. Chamomile is a gentile herb that promotes relaxation. Valerian root has long been used to help insomnia. Ginseng has been shown to increase Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Glycine is our personal favorite, and is proven to enhance sleep quality and improve cognition during the day.
Warning: Implementing these habits into your nightly routine can cause severe improvements to your body’s recovery process, and may lead to increased efficiency throughout your day. Invest in your rest, and your productivity will thank you.
Are you ready to take the next step to improve your life?