Training, nutrition and rest all hold equal weight in importance when it comes to your wellbeing. When do we recover best? Yes, you guessed it, when we are asleep! Some tips on getting a good night sleep:
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
- Know when to nap and how long for.
- Be aware of the atmosphere and adjust accordingly. (E.g. fan, air conditioning, open windows, use a heater/fireplace, use more or fewer blankets).
Melatonin (hormone) naturally occurs in our bodies. Melatonin helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Your brain secretes more melatonin when it’s dark, which, in turn, makes you sleepy. So in saying this:
During the Day:
- Try to spend some time outside.
- In the morning expose yourself. No, not like that… Expose yourself to sunlight.
- Let as much natural light/air into your workspace/home as possible.
Practice winding down before bed:
- Do a simple plan for the next day.
- Avoid electronic devices/bright screens 1 hour before your bedtime.
- Substitute electronic devices for meditation, reading, stretching.
- When it is time to “Zzz”, make sure the room is dark.
- Take a warm shower/bath.
- Try listening to white noise or soft/classical music.
- Dim the lights leading up to bedtime.
- Meal prep for the week or cook tomorrow’s dinner/lunch.
- Play an instrument.
- Meditate – I have a blog about this on my website. It’s about a new form of meditation that I use.
If you work at night, then obviously adjust accordingly.
An optimal sleeping position is an imperative aspect of good health. Below is a video showing you how to sleep on your side, back and front. I usually recommend people to sleep on their back as a first preference, their side as a second and if they really have to, their front as a last option.
Along with an optimal sleeping position is having a mattress that is suitable for your type of body. I personally sleep on an Ecosa mattress as it can be altered in an instant to suit my preference. So if one night I need a softer or firmer mattress, it can be changed quite simply. This mattress also has a built-in air circulation system. Air freely flows through the pin-core holes across all layers of the mattress. Being in the hot city of Sydney, Australia, this is a must have feature for me!
Best of all, you have a 100-night trail, so if you don’t like it they’ll pick it up for free and give you a full refund. If you’re interested in getting an Ecosa mattress, click the link or Google them.
What you put in your body during the day is a contributing factor to how you sleep at night.
- BE COGNIZANT OF CAFFEINE – It could keep you awake, sometimes even 12+ hours after consuming it.
- AVOID MODERATE TO HIGH ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION BEFORE BED. Yes, it can help you get to sleep quicker and sleep deeper for a while, however it reduces REM sleep. Alcohol can become a dependency; it is also high in calories and can cause depression.
- AVOID DRINKING TOO MANY LIQUIDS IN THE EVENING. Waking up and making frequent toilet trips will really disrupt your sleep. Drink fluids about 5 hours before sleeping.
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We all know how hard it is to try to sleep when we are stressed. If you can’t stop worrying, especially about things outside of your control, maybe it’s time for some stress management tips.
- Learn to evaluate your worries – replace fears with productive thoughts.
- Sometimes counting
backwardsis more productive than worrying
- If the stress of managing work, family or school is keeping you awake, you may need help with stress management. Learn how to manage time effectively, handle stress in a productive way, maintain a calm and positive outlook.
- When you are in bed, writing your thoughts on a
note pador using mnemonics to remember thoughts, are both great tools.
A FEW MORE HINTS
Try making a checklist or a journal to track your nights of good rest and your nights of disturbed sleep. Compare what works and what doesn’t work for you.
Sleep Apps: These app analyses your sleep patterns and picks the moment when you’re sleeping the lightest to awaken you, within a specified period.
A deep breath in through the nose and a slow breath out through the mouth can work wonders. Do so while focusing on the sounds and smells around you. If there are no sounds and smells, great. Embrace it. Not many people have access to silence.
Start at the top or bottom of your body, focus on that body part and relax it. Once it is relaxed move onto the next part. e.g. Head to Neck to Shoulders etc. Alternatively, tense a muscle for a count of 5-10 seconds and then relax it. Try to let that feeling of relaxation flow through your body.
Close your eyes and imagine a place or activity that is calming and peaceful for you. Concentrate on how relaxed you feel in this place or when doing this activity. If you lose focus or notice negative thoughts coming in, that is fine, just remember that eventually you’ll become more proficient and it will become easier.
I feel it’s important for you to hear my story because if yours is similar I may be able to help you.
Roughly between September – October 2014 I experienced elbow pain with a flicking sensation around the elbow joint. The following four years I tried to fix this problem. I saw every type of practitioner under the sun (chiros, doctors, acupuncturists, physio’s, sports specialists, elbow specialists) take mark of the plurals. All practitioners had different opinions on what was wrong and what I should do. I had multiple tests done (MRI, ultrasounds, x-rays). I tried all the suggestions
I put the reason for bingeing down to a few things. The first and probably the biggest factor was not eating ENOUGH. That’s right, not enough. Dieting too intensely and undereating. Since I was in such a depleted state I would unconsciously find the most caloric dense foods to consume. Some refer to this as going into the “animal mind” or going into a survival state. Our mind/body does this so we can survive.