All your efforts to improve your health by exercising and proper diet wouldn’t work if you don’t sleep very well. Why? Without proper sleep, your body wouldn’t be able to repair itself. If you want to boost your athletic performance, try these top tips on how to start sleeping better.
Tip #1: Keep a regular schedule
Sleeping better is sometimes as simple as merely keeping a regular schedule, meaning you go to sleep and wake up on a regular schedule—even on weekends. And even if you’re short by an hour, you’d still feel rested, as long as you stick to your timetable. In fact, you won’t even need an alarm once you’re getting enough sleep (although you should still keep one to wake up on time).
Tip #2: Consider napping
If you’re short by an hour or two or plan on staying up late for something important, you can take a nap during the day to make up for it. This allows you to pay back any sleep deficit you may accumulate. However, if you have insomnia, you may have to skip the naps altogether.
Tip #3: Cut back on e-media before bedtime
Ever heard of melatonin? It’s a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle (among other things) by making you drowsy. What does this have to do with e-media? Looking at backlit screens stimulates your brain and suppresses the production of melatonin. If you want to sleep better, reduce your e-media time before bedtime. Try listening to music instead to relax.
Tip #4: Exercise to improve sleep
Look, you don’t have to turn pro-athlete when it comes to exercising. All you need is to get going for 30 minutes every day, although you should do this in the morning or afternoon, not during evenings. The exertion would increase your temperature and actually fire you up, which is the opposite of what we’re going for. You don’t even have to exercise continuously—as long as it all accumulates to a half hour.
Tip #5: Eat better
You already know that fatty foods are bad for you because they clog your arteries and cause gallstones. But did you know that they affect your sleep as well? Fatty food is hard to digest, and all this effort made by your stomach could keep you awake. Better stay away from heavy meals during evening as well. If you do, give it a couple of hours before you lie down and sleep, or it could lead to heartburn.
Tip #6: Stop smoking
Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes, is a stimulant (otherwise known as "uppers") so obviously it affects sleep. On the other hand, if you’re suffering from the effects of withdrawal, the symptoms would make it more difficult to sleep at night. The answer: don’t smoke in the first place.
Tip #7: Reduce the caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant as well, so you’ve probably heard that having too much of it, like drinking several cups of coffee, would keep people awake. Because of this, you should curb your caffeine. You can still enjoy your tea, coffee or chocolate, but pay attention to when you consume it; caffeine can make it difficult to sleep even 12 hours after taking it.
Tip #8: Do a relaxing ritual
Add a relaxing ritual to your regular schedule to make it easier to sleep and rest better. Some suggestions: You can take a nice, warm shower; read a book (but stay away from backlit displays – see tip #3) or do some light stretches. It would do wonders.