Now that the days are getting longer we really don’t have excuses anymore to not exercise at night! But the vast majority of people are complaining about being exhausted at the end of the day and being low on energy. Fatigue and stress are the top 2 reasons (excuses?) used to bail out of the gym. Seems lack of sleep is the culprit. And that’s not surprising as in the past decades we have lost 2 hours of sleep per night and even more for some of us.
According to a study published by Harvard Health lack of sleep leads to a litany of problems like: Poor mental and physical health, chronic fatigue, lack of energy, and the inability to handle oxidative stress efficiently. To get out of this vicious circle you need to reprogram yourself into sleeping more and/or better.
Here are my tips on how to improve the quality of your rest thereby increase your ability to handle stress.
10 tips to sleep better and have more energy
Go to bed earlier than midnight. Ideally? Go to bed at 10.30pm with a book.
Turn off cell phones, tablets, computers and TVs after 9pm and go for a book instead of watching a movie in bed. Studies have shown that magnetic fields wreck havoc with our sleep. Furthermore LED screens emit a blue light. This blue light sends the wrong signal to our brain that it is daytime when it is not anymore. This wrong signal inhibits the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin. This leads to a highly perturbed sleep leading to a lower focus ability, slower reflexes, and mood swings.
Dim ambiant lights (computer screens, table lamps, ceiling lights, …). This is indispensable to optimise melatonin production. Start dimming 2 hours before going to bed.
Eat light at least 2 hours before going to bed. But don’t hit the sack on an empty stomach, as this would also impact the quality of your sleep. Large quantities of fats and sugary foods slow down our digestive process and increase our body temperature. However to increase deep sleep our body temperature needs to be lower than what it is during the day.
Nap! Just 5 minutes and you will produce more melatonin, help your muscles recover after an intense session at the gym, and increase your ability to focus. You will feel more apt at taking the right decisions and at critical thinking.
No violent movies at night
Settle your gruges before going to bed. Then you can avoid obsessing over them in bed and tossing and turning instead of sleeping.
List all the positive things that happened to you during the day
If you have too many ideas swirling through your mind jot them down on a small notebook you keep on your side table. Every item that’s written is not on your mind any longer.
Close your eyes and practice breathing yoga for 5 minutes.
Start with one tip a day and after two weeks you will have nailed down your plan to sleep better and have more energy!