One thing that many of us can use help with is getting better sleep. We’re hardly the experts here at Warrior Soul. Hell, either of us hardly get any sleep. So we contacted our friend, sleep expert Kieran Glennon of SleepyHabits.com to give you the low down on how to get better sleep. Enjoy!
Having a great workout, eating the right foods and pushing beyond our
limits, each and every day. It is definitely worth striving for. The sense of
euphoria, pride and achievement we feel when we live a better, healthier
and more fulfilling life is amazing.
However, it is during the deep, restorative stages of sleep where we
regain the energy we need to go about our daily activities, in tackling
and achieving our goals – to be the best we can possibly be.
Sleep is also something we cannot avoid and shouldn’t be taken light-
heartedly. It’s a natural state our body requires to boost our hormone
function, allowing for the repair and growth of muscle tissue as well as
ensuring our mind works at it’s optimal level.
Could your current sleep patterns be inhibiting your ability to hit your
Whether you feel that your sleep is good or bad, I want to share with you
some tips and habits you may want to consider to ensure you are getting
the best quality sleep possible to enable you to live the live you want to
1 Get a regular schedule (sleep and wake time)
All of us come built with a natural sleep-wake cycle (also know as a
circadian rhythm) where our body knows when to wake up and go to
bed, via the processes of sunrise and sunset.
We do, however, constantly mess with this natural cycle by staying up
later in the evening than needed, using pick-me-ups such as caffeine
and stimulating our mind with social media, answering work e-mails and
watching TV. A regular sleep-wake cycle will make you feel much more
refreshed and energized and most importantly, effectively repair and
grow muscle tissue.
Everybody’s cycle is different. To figure out yours, try experimenting with
going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day, without an
alarm clock, to see how your cycle is. This may take a few weeks, but if
you persist, you will feel like you have a lot more energy when you’re
awake and will rest better when you sleep.
2 Don’t exercise too close to bedtime
Throughout the day, our body temperature naturally goes up and
naturally decreases at night. Decreasing body temperature is the trigger
to the body that it is time to sleep. The cooling down process naturally
secretes a hormone called melatonin, which is a sleep inducing
hormone. It is also secreted naturally when it is dark outside.
Exercise (and particularly intense exercise) can temporarily raise our
body temperatures whilst also stimulating our muscles, brain and heart.
This is the exact opposite of the state we want to be in as we unwind
prior to sleep.
So when is the best time to exercise?
With my daily commitments, I prefer the morning. It also helps me in
relieving stress and puts me in a good mood. To get additional benefits
linked to sleep, I also try to get some outdoor natural light exposure early
in the day in tandem with my exercise, as it further enhances my body’s
sleep-wake cycle and sends my body into a better sleep state come the
time I go to sleep later in the day.
However, with all factors considered from a sleep perspective, afternoon
appears to be best. That is because after the temporary raise in body
temperature, there is still enough time to allow it to natural start to
decrease a few hours before bed. The afternoon, for most people, is
also when the body temperature is at their warmest, which means a
decreased risk of injury and better muscle performance when working
If you aren’t getting the best quality sleep (or want to get even better
sleep) and are working out in the evening, consider shifting to another
time of the day. Alternatively, switch to more relaxing workout choices in
the evening such as stretching and yoga, as both bring great benefits in
getting a good nights sleep.
3 Cut-out (or limit) alcohol intake in the evening
I’ve had many evenings where after having a few drinks, I can get to
sleep really quickly. However, as the alcohol starts to wear off, I start to
feel restless and often wake up. This is because the body can come out
of deep sleep and back into REM sleep, which a shallower stage of
sleep that is much easier to wake from. That’s why you often wake up
after just a few hours sleep when you’ve been drinking. Remember,
deep sleep is the area you want to be heading into to get the natural
growth hormone to repair and grow your muscle.
Alcohol also decreases the muscle tone in the upper airway, meaning
that breathing-related sleep issues are increased after you have had a
couple of drinks. People who regularly snore will typically stop breathing
more frequently and for longer periods of time, after having a few drinks
prior to sleep.
To help nullify the effects of the alcohol faster, more water will need to
be consumed to help flush out the metabolic waste products left behind.
As a tip, when you are drinking, consider having a glass of water after
each alcoholic beverage. You need to be careful here. Too much liquid
close to bedtime will mean you’ll be spending a lot of time in the
bathroom during the night.
4 Be ‘cool’ in the bedroom
As much as the thought of getting into a warm, cozy bed is very
appealing, a ‘cool’ room mimics the natural drop in body temperature
that happens when you sleep. When it’s time for your body to rest, there
is an automatic drop in your core body temperature to help initiate sleep.
If the temperature in the bedroom environment is too high, then it can be
a challenge for your body to get itself in a state for good quality sleep.
Try setting the temperature in your room between 60-72F (16C – 22C) to
avoid sweating at night, which can wake you up. Anything colder will
most likely cause you to get the chills, which is certainly not pleasant,
and won’t get you feeling sleepy!
If you are not able to use air conditioning or heating in your room,
consider experimenting with lighter bedsheets, wearing lighter sleep
clothes (or underwear) or to really cool off – go naked!
5 Turn electronic devices off in the bedroom
Whether it’s responding to e-mail, watching TV, web or playing a video
game, looking at electronic devices close to bedtime tricks your brain to
misread the light generated as ‘daylight’ and stops you from getting into
a sleep state.
There are other physiological reactions, such as creating stress in our
body, via the tension caused in watching a traumatic event on the
television or responding to a stressful e-mail.
To over come this, start by implementing a ‘technology curfew’, 15-30
minutes before you go to bed. No television, no Internet, no
smartphones, no video games.
If you can stretch this period out beyond 30 minutes, even better.
Replace that time with less-stimulating activities, for both the body and
mind, such as doing some light stretching, writing a gratitude journal or
reading a light-fiction book. You will drift off and remain asleep much
There are many more things you can implement into your sleep
routine to get the best quality sleep possible. I hope you have taken
some inspiration from this and would love it if you were to leave a
comment below as to what worked for you.
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