If you ask any coach what they would check out if an athlete isn’t progressing, it’s sleep. I heard Allie Keefer talk about her pillars of training the other day and I really loved it. It was character, sleep, nutrition, training, racing. It’s from the book: Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron.
Although training is possibly the more exciting part of that equation, the low hanging fruit for most people is sleep. Here are five ways to supercharge your sleep.
Get as much sunlight as you can in the morning, without sunglasses on. This is going to help your body to know it’s morning time and keep your body clocks ticking along.
Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time every day. This is a hard one! But often, even a Saturday sleep in can act like jet lag because your body likes routine.
If you are going to nap, keep it short. If you need a nap stick to 20 minutes in between about 2 and 4pm.
Have predictable bedtime routines, so your body knows when you are going to sleep. This can be really simple, but just giving your body cues for what is happening.
Sleep in the foetal position. Sleeping on your back or on your stomach isn’t ideal for quality sleep.
Put down the screens in the evening. Especially phone screens.
Have a small carby snack before bed. Turns out the fact that people often crave carbs before bed is actually backed up by science. A small serve of carbs (fruit or some toast or a bowl of cereal) will help you get a good night sleep.
When you feel sleepy don’t do one more thing – go to bed! It’s tempting to just finish that one thing you were doing, but you could miss your sleep cycle window. It’s nothing that can’t wait until morning.
And finally, never stay up late for something you wouldn’t get up early for. Sleep is important!