“I’ll sleep when I’m dead”
If you’ve ever heard an outlandish motivational speaker preach their ‘hustle’ to you or any overly stressed but naive work colleague broadcast ‘how hard they work’, then you have probably heard the above line once or twice.
Whilst I’m a huge advocate of high capacity work, I am also an advocate of self-care and sustaining output over a prolonged period of time.
One big reason why you may be struggling to improve training performance, stick to your diet or concentrate at work in the long term is due to lack of sleep.
“But more time awake means more productivity, right?”
Let‘s see some facts on what happens on six hours or less sleep:
So whilst “sleeping when you’re dead” seems productive, it’s actually counterintuitive if you want to live longer (the irony I know).
Below are a few ways you can improve your sleep:
1. GO TO BED EARLY AND WAKE UP AT THE SAME TIME TO GET YOUR 8 HOURS
If you’re waking up early, you need go to bed early. The more that you set a routine, the better quality of sleep.
2. HAVE A HOT BATH BEFORE BED; RAISING BODY TEMP THEN COOLING DOWN CAN HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
It’s the body’s natural instinct to sleep when it gets cooler. If the room is too hot, it could potentially block that signal and cause it to take longer for you to fall asleep. People sleep better in colder temperatures. From my experience, 24 degrees Celsius is perfect for a good night’s sleep.
3. TURN ALL SCREENS OFF AN HOUR BEFORE YOU SLEEP
The greatest enemy of a deep sleep is light. Couple that with Whatsapp messaging, liking pictures on Instagram and answering emails, you’re likely to not get to sleep until the early hours of the morning.
Sleep in a dark room and leave your phone charging on the bedside table. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.
4. LIMIT CAFFEINE TO BEFORE 2PM
Caffeine is a powerful drug that helps keep you alert – I recommend a cup of coffee in the morning – not in the evening.
5. DON’T EAT ANYTHING 2 HOURS BEFORE BED
Don’t go to bed too full or too hungry.
Going to bed too full can give you digestion problems and interrupt your sleep. Going to bed too hungry can cause you to wake up in the night will your body craving food.
Aim to have your last meal around 2 hours before you go to bed.
Also try to avoid sugar (high sugar and lack of fibre can cause a fragmented sleep).
People who exercise regularly sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Exercising also helps regulate the hormones of your body – strength training is best for this.
Aim to lift weights 3-5x per week if you can and get a couple of HIIT/cardio sessions in too.
You’ll sleep like a baby.
Get the above 6 steps in place and you’ll see your sleep, gym performance and work productivity absolutely sky rocket!