Sleep Hygiene: Level Up Your Health and Performance With These Tips

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Sleep is one of our most powerful health and performance enhancing behaviors. It impacts every domain of our health. Specifically looking at sport performance, sleep affects our muscular recovery, reaction time, and concentration. Unfortunately, many of us are not maximizing our sleep quality because we have poor sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the environment and behaviors surrounding our sleep. Below are 6 tips to help us improve our sleep hygiene so we can be our best selves, in and out of the gym.

Sleep Hygiene Tips

  • Tip #1: Keep the room dark
    • Our bodies are very sensitive to light. Make sure when you head to bed to keep your room as dark as possible. Even the light that emits from your alarm clock can be a sleep disruptor. Blackout curtains and sleep masks are great options for keeping light out.
  • Tip #2: Keep it cool
    • Our bodies like a cooler temperature when we sleep. Try to keep your sleeping space around 65-68 degrees, which has been found to be an optimal temperature for sleep.
  • Tip #3: Avoid big meals before bedtime
    • When we consume a large meal close to bedtime, our bodies go into digesting mode. This means when we head to bed, our digestion is very active, causing us to wake up more throughout the night. Opt for your last meal a few hours before bedtime and stick to simple snacks before you hit the hay if you are hungry (e.g. cheese stick, nuts, greek yogurt).
  • Tip #4: Take a hot shower or bath 
    • When our bodies are getting ready for sleep, our core body temperature drops, signaling the transition from wake to sleep. Taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime can help speed up this process. When you exit from a hot bath, your core temperature will drop, mimicking the natural process that occurs in our body. This can help to make you sleepy and relaxed as you head into your bedtime routine. 
  • Tip #5: Establish a bedtime routine
    • Just like you warmup for your workouts, think of your bedtime routine as a warmup for your night of sleep. Having a consistent bedtime routine can help us unwind and decompress from the day and also ensure we are getting to bed on time. Pick relaxing, low-intensity activities preferably away from phone and tv screens (blue light is a major sleep disruptor!). Some examples may include stretching, journaling, reading, meditating, or laying out your clothes for the next day. This will take some trial and error. It is important to experiment and find what works best for you!
  • Tip #6: Keep consistent bedtimes and wake times
    • Our bodies love routine. Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday (even on weekends!) helps set our circadian rhythm, allowing us to fall asleep quicker and wake up easier. 

Win the Day With Good Sleep

There’s no question that sleep is important. From muscle recovery to brain function to mental health, having consistent and quality sleep is foundational to a life of health and vitality. Not to mention the extensive benefits to athletic performance. Want an edge over your competition? Fix your sleep hygiene to feel more rested and ready to tackle your day!

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